Uptown Chicago Resources

Historic Theatres & Movie Palaces of Balaban and Katz

Historic Theatres of Balaban and Katz: Gateway Theatre

The Gateway Theatre, circa 1973. Image courtesy HAARGIS.

The Gateway Theatre — A Brief History

The Gateway, located in Jefferson Park at Lawrence and Laramie, was, like the Uptown, Oriental and Chicago theatres, designed by architects Rapp & Rapp. It opened in 1930 and, like the famous Music Box in Wrigleyville, was an atmospheric theatre, complete with a dark-blue sky with twinkling lights. It is one of only two atmospheric theatres that Rapp & Rapp designed.

In 1985, Plitt Theatres, then the owners, sold the Gateway to the Copernicus Foundation, a Polish-American organization serving the Chicago-area Polish community. They restored the interior, altering the facade to resemble the clock tower on Warsaw’s Royal Castle. It has become the center of many Polish-American festivals.

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