When the Calo Theater opened in 1915, there were still some empty lots along Clark Street, which was paved with brick, and trolley car rails were installed in the center of the street. A large marquee projected above the entrance and a canopy hung over it. All along the street were storefronts that backed up to a hallway for their back entrances and the theater was built behind the hallway with the auditorium running parallel to Clark Street. This design was the work of Architect George H. Borst.
The building was built of brick and decorated with terra cotta accents along the parapet and around the windows. The National Register of Historic Places has this description of the building. “There are still terra cotta frames around the existing main door and transom. There is a large two-story arch with a pediment, which says ‘The Calo Theater.’ Paired brackets are located at the corners beneath the terra cotta cornice. A cartouch above the window above the entrance is flanked by figures in bas relief, seashells and musical instruments. Floriate designs are incorporated in the cornice and coping at the roof line.”
Today the same structure is there. You can see what remains of the theater interior by walking into the Brown Elephant. There are shadows of the paintings that decorated the walls. The theater only held about 400 people, so as times changed the building was put to different uses. As late as 1954 the theater was open and showing films. The main space later held the Calo Bowl and then the Reflections Theater and the Griffin Theater. The larger storefront just south of the theater entrance once held the Calo Restaurant. There were also businesses like Calo Candy, the Calo School of Dancing and Calo Dental. Other business like the Ann Helen Frock Shop and Gustafson’s Jewelry filled in the shops from 5402 to 5418 N. Clark St.