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Inter Ocean Building III (Monroe Theater)
Life Span: 1900-Present
Location: 57 W. Monroe street
Architect: W. Carbys Zimmerman
INTER-OCEAN building, at 57 W. Monroe street, built in 1900 on the former site of the Columbia Theater, is four stories high, with one basement, on spread foundations. W. Carbys Zimmerman was the architect.
In 1919, the Inter-Ocean Building was converted into a theater, which was originally operated by showman William S. Barbee and called Barbee’s Loop Theater, also known as just Barbee’s Theater. Barbee tried to have a stage built in the theater which the city prevented due to the lack of enough emergency exits. On September 1, 1923, the theater was reopened under new management as the Monroe Theater. By the 1950’s, it was showing B-grade sci-fi and horror films. In the early-1960’s, the theater started to add adult films to its mix of programming. The Monroe Theater closed by the late-1970’s and was demolished not long after.
It is illustrated in OBD for 1901, p. 91. It was remodeled into the present Monroe Theater by John B. Fischer, architect. A photograph is in CIM, p. 572, and in CHC (frontispiece).
Inter Ocean Building
57 W. Monroe
Chicago Tribune, August 16, 1919
The second and third floors of the Inter Ocean building on Monroe street near Dearborn are to be the new home of the Chicago Estate board after April, as the board at its special meeting yesterday adopted the report of the new quarters committee, which has secured an option on the space in question. The lease, which is for ten years, provides for an annual rental of $3,000, which is at the rate of about $1.18 a square foot for the 3,400 square feet of space on each floor. The lessor is the Barbee Loop Theater company. The floors will be extensively remodeled, for the purpose being to make them of the most attractive character.
The Inter-Ocean building entrance as depicted by D. Dalziel
Barbee’s Loop Theatre
The Inter Ocean has been located in the following buildings:
1872-3—Wabash avenue, between Harrison and Congress streets
1873-1889—117 and 119 Lake Street
1890 to 1900—85 West Madison
1900-1912—57 W. Monroe