The Davis Theater opened in 1918 as the Pershing Theater. At one time, there were multiple theaters in the Lincoln Square Neighborhood. The Davis is the last of these. The architect was Walter Ahlschlager. His other projects included Uptown Broadway Building in Chicago and the Roxy Theater in New York.
For the first several years, it operated a a silent film venue. In 1930’s, it was converted to a talkie movie venue and its named was changed to the Davis.
Starting in 1950’s, the Davis began showing American and German films. Later, it converted a German only venue. In the 1970’s, the Davis provided a venue for a variety of entertainment forms–puppet show, second run films, and revivals. A proposal to renovate the Davis was floated in the late 1970’s. Unfortunately, this did not materialize.
In the late 1990’s, the Davis was put up for sale. It was sold to Jim Jeager. He was a real estate developer. It was his plan to demolish the theater and use the site for housing. A Save the Davis Movement was successful in stopping the demolition. In 1999, the theater was acquired by a non for profit named Davis Theater Preservation Corp. The theater was sold in 2000 to Special Real Estate Service. The Davis began showing first run films. It has 4 screens.
The current operator is Value Theater Corporation.
Text posted 6/1/2018