The Congress Theater in Chicago was built by Fridstein and Company in 1926 for the movie theater chain of Lubliner and Trinz, and designed to seat some 2,500 moviegoers. It is located at 2117-2139 N. Milwaukee Avenue and was designated a Chicago Landmark on July 10, 2002. According to Wikipedia, the theatre features ornate exterior and interior design work, in a combination of Classical Revival and Italian Renaissance styles. The lobby of the famous theater has been featured in the introduction of Oprah Winfrey’s television show and in 2009, VH1 Storytellers recorded a segment on blues band ZZ Top at the Congress Theater. The venue has even been used for pro wrestling shows.
I was just at the Congress Theater this past weekend for the all-day event, “Wicked Springfest” a showcase featuring up and coming new local bands. I went specifically to see a friend’s band. They don’t exactly fit the style of music that we play at WCRX, but it was really cool to see this unique theater.
I’ve been to almost every venue in Chicago to see a show, but this theater has got to be one of my favorites. Despite the renovations that are going on, the Congress Theater will never lose its eerie, spooky and ghost infested feel. Why? Because the theater is notorious for being haunted. In fact the television show “Ghost Hunters” sent a paranormal research team to the theater to investigate the tales of ghosts floating around. After all this is the place where the mob supposedly met in the basement and Harry Houdini performed his magic on stage.
Just knowing that the Congress might be haunted make’s it so much more fun and appealing to visit. The theater has a lot more work to do before it’s up to par with other theaters around the city. But one thing’s for sure, the Congress Theater has been attracting a lot of bands performing a wide range of music, from rock to hip-hop to even country.
If you have never been to the Congress Theater, I highly suggest you plan your visit to see one of the city’s most famous landmarks, and if you’re really lucky perhaps you will have a paranormal experience. Boo!