Chicago Landmarks

Biograph Theater

Exterior, photo by Terry Tatum     Address: 2433-43 N. Lincoln Ave.
Year Built: 1914
Architect: Samuel N. Crowen
Date Designated a Chicago Landmark: March 28, 2001

Crowd gathered outside the Biograph Theater after Dillinger's death Perhaps best known for its historical connection to the infamous gangster John Dillinger, the Biograph Theater is also one of Chicago's oldest remaining neighborhood movie houses. Designed in 1914 by Samuel N. Crowen, an architect known for his classically detailed designs, the Biograph Theater possesses many of the distinguishing characteristics of the earliest movie houses, including a simple storefront-width lobby, recessed entrance, free-standing ticket booth, and canopy marquee. The building is finished with red pressed brick and white-glazed terra cotta, and its construction typifies the first-generation movie houses whose architectural style gave legitimacy and respectability to the fledgling motion picture industry. Dillinger's death here in 1934, after being named "Public Enemy No. 1" by the FBI, guarantees the Biograph's place in Chicago crime history.