The Hub Theatre – Chicago, Illinois - Atlas Obscura

The Hub Theatre

Once an ornate movie theater remade by Catholic Charities. 


One can get a sense of the vitality of a neighborhood’s once working-class communities through its many ornate churches, such as the landmark Holy Trinity Cathedral, but also through its neglected movie theaters.   One such beautiful theater, or movie palaces as they were called, was the Hub Theatre opened around 1913, and was designed by architect David Saul Klafter in what one could say is a uniquely Midwestern interpretation of Art Nouveau.

Time was not kind to The Hub; archival photographs reveal a pitted, wrecked central arch and marquee by the 1980s, though it hung on as a Spanish-language theater and was briefly re-opened as a second-run house, closing for good in 1994. It’s since been renovated by Catholic Charities, although the marquee and lobby opening were not preserved.  The ornate brick facade of the twin towers and curled arches retains an exhausted dignity, though many passers-by neglect to note the most dramatic remaining feature: twin sets of tragedy & comedy masks, their stone eyes watching the decades march past. This location is now a brewery and restaurant called Forbidden Root. 

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