before air conditioners, there were movie theaters

Air conditioners–I find them hard to live without, especially when the temps approach 95 degrees F, which is where we’ve been the past couple days in Oak Park.

How then did people keep cool a hundred years ago when there was no AC? One answer: Movie theaters.

In the 1910s, 20s, and 30s, scores upon scores of theaters were designed and constructed in the US. In Chicago alone, hundreds were built and have since closed or been demolished.

The theaters that somehow persisted–you can find them in historic downtown areas or on busy streets.

I randomly found the Glen Art Theatre in Glen Ellyn this weekend. Constructed in 1927, this movie house once accommodated 1,000 seats and featured motion pictures and live-stage acts.

Glen Art Theatre in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. Movie theater from the 1920s

This theater is back in business, and admission is just $7 ($5 for showtimes before 5 p.m.).

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