Senate Theatre

The Senate Theatre opened at 3128 West Madison Street in 1921, with 3097 seats. There were larger and grander movie palaces on the other side of Garfield Park, but the Senate managed to outlast them. During the 1960s it presented mostly Spanish language films.

Senate Theater-a (1976)

The Senate closed around 1970. I used to pass the shuttered building whenever business took me into the neighborhood. One day in 1976 I decided to take a picture of it.

Less than a week later, when I again drove down Madison Street, the wreckers were at work on the Senate. We didn’t have cell-phone cameras then, but I still had my trusty 35-mm Mamiya with me, and took another photo.

Senate Theater-b (1976)

I never attended a show at the Senate. I did hear a story that in the early ’60s, the owner tried to increase business by presenting a live lion act–but the lion went to sleep on stage, and the tickets had to be refunded.

There must be easier ways to earn a living.





2 Responses to “Senate Theatre”

  1. 1 Andrew September 5, 2014 at 11:52 am

    Just curious: Was the Senate Theatre in some way related to the Congress Theatre on Milwaukee Avenue? Same owners or architectural styles/architects, perhaps?

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