Nortown Theater

6320 N. Western Avenue,
Chicago, IL 60659

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Showing 51 - 75 of 232 comments

Lostnyc
Lostnyc on October 13, 2007 at 3:58 pm

Now that I finished the first model, I started the second one today of the “tragedy” mask

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As I re-read this thread a bit it reminded me to add some comments about preservation, the destruction of the theater, and thousands of similarly historic buildings around the country is in part due to the fact that these buildings have not been landmarked or added to the historic structures list thereby enabling preservation as well as grants, low interest loans and tax credits to their owners, the difference there could mean the difference between destruction and renovation. Any time it is CHEAPER to demolish and build new, they will do it, the idea is to make it LESS expensive to preverve, restore, and adapt these old buildings to new uses.
In my little town the old Carnegie library built 1910 was replaced with a new library around the corner, the attractive little brick building was too small, lacked handicapped access etc. It was offered to a local artist for $1 with the provision he spend $5,000 of his renovation expendature at LOCAL businesses.

He renovated it into a fine dining restaurant, he restored the damaged brickwork perfectly, replaced the florescent lights with period style ceiling lamps and the interior looks like it belongs. As he wanted a small entrance level spot for two outdoor tables, the iron railing he installed was authentic to the 1910 style.
It was a win-win for the city, the new owner and local businesses in every way, and the building was restored and repaired.

Consider joining the National Trust for Historic Preservation and getting their excellent magazine;

http://www.nationaltrust.org/advocacy

Across the nation a teardown epidemic is wiping out historic neighborhoods one house at a time. As older homes are demolished and replaced with dramatically larger, out-of-scale new structures, the historic character of the existing neighborhood is changed forever. Neighborhood livability is diminished as trees are removed, backyards are eliminated, and sunlight is blocked by towering new structures built up to the property lines. Community economic and social diversity is reduced as new mansions replace affordable homes. House by house, neighborhoods are losing a part of their historic fabric and much of their character.
To help arm neighborhood residents, preservationists and local government leaders, the National Trust has published Protecting America’s Historic Neighborhoods: Taming the Teardown Trend to address the origins and impact of teardowns.

Historic neighborhoods can be protected from teardowns, through a variety of tools and approaches that manage this type of growth. Because there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution or “magic bullet” that will stop teardowns, communities should expect to use a combination of tools. To help with this process, the National Trust is working to show models and profile communities that have developed innovative strategies through the online Teardowns Resource Guide.

Lostnyc
Lostnyc on October 10, 2007 at 10:32 am

I have completed the first of three panels, it went along a lot quicker than I expected- about 5 hours of modelling time;

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I anticipate while this clay model dries, I’ll start the second panel and come back to this one to “clean up” a bit when the clay firms up more.

Batwoman
Batwoman on October 5, 2007 at 10:30 pm

nope, actual plywood. we bought a new construction home 10 years ago and I came into the house when it was framed. I don’t know about the homes built in more recent years, but ours has actual plywood studs.

Lostnyc
Lostnyc on October 5, 2007 at 10:11 pm

This is true Batwoman, because buildings in this country don’t last long, and it wasn’t because of the materials- many study buildings that could have lasted 500 years were torn down in 30 because the new owner wanted to modernize or it would cost more to renovate than build new.
The way they built houses in the old days is a lost art almost, you would be hard pressed to find a contractor who even knows how to build a plaster and lath wall as was standard before around 1950. People dont build like that any more too because MOST people dont buy or build a house and live there 30 years, they may stay 5 before having to move.

Wood frames, you mean that pressed glue-board that passes these days as “plywood”? the stuff is garbage, cheap!

Batwoman
Batwoman on October 5, 2007 at 8:29 pm

very cool. It’s funny you should post this. I drive down to Sycamore on a regular basis for work and the first time I went there I saw the old, original hospital. I walked in and it was great. I wanted to learn more about it. You don’t see workmanship like that anymore. Now you have houses that are slapped together with wood frames and sealed off with vinal siding. Doesn’t feel very sturdy on very windy days.

I keep thinking if I ever have the money, I’m going to build a house like they used to. Good quality materials, solid wood. None of this hollow core door crap.

I was even thinking of doing a basement into a theater. A brief idea popped into my head right after that (I should add, I spend way to much time in my car alone with my thoughts) I was thinking of doing it in an artdeco theme or maybe a little touch of Nortown.

Lostnyc
Lostnyc on October 5, 2007 at 6:38 pm

For those who might be interested in learning about or seeing how those salvaged terra-cotta facade ornaments and panels were originally made, I began my reduced scale model of the first of the set of three frieze panel designs that were located on the ground floor facade.

I begin with my wood form built to the size I wanted, in this case roughly 22x14, and this photo shows 75# of clay packed into the form;

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Once that is filled, the clay is then screeded flush and flat with the form;

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And finally, about an hour later the design and it’s guide-lines are roughly drawn on the surface of the clay;

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As I work on this model in the coming week, the design gets developed, deepened refined and detailed, but this is how all of these were done in the old days, and this is how I do them as well.

Randall,
Randall’s Lost New York City.
Sculpture studio and web gallery of historic lost NYC buildings and ornaments.

Lostnyc
Lostnyc on September 28, 2007 at 6:29 am

Thanks BW, but all of the salvagable stuff has been long removed right? All that would remain now is part of a hulk the machines will remove in a matter of days as rubble/site clearance.

Randall,
Randall’s Lost New York City.
Sculpture studio and web gallery of historic lost NYC buildings and ornaments.

Broan
Broan on September 27, 2007 at 11:40 pm

Last I checked a couple weeks ago the lobby section was still partly left

Lostnyc
Lostnyc on September 27, 2007 at 7:20 pm

“…doing the salvage on the Nortown”

DID I think you meant to say, It’s my understanding the theater was already gone some time back, I saw the last part of it’s demolition photos on flickr.com I believe, it’s “history” now, no more salvaging left to do.

Randall,
Randall’s Lost New York City.
Sculpture studio and web gallery of historic lost NYC buildings and ornaments.

Nortown
Nortown on September 27, 2007 at 7:03 pm

I have pictures and 35 mm slides of the exterior and interior of the Nortown from the late 70’s and early 80’s taken when I worked there. They are currently on loan to the owner of Urban Remains Chicago, the company doing the salvage of the Nortown. I will contact him and see if I can get them back in time for the Historical Society.

By the way, Batwoman, I also lived a block from the Nortown. West Ridge was used by some of the community organizations in the area. Technically, there is not a West Rogers Park and an East Rogers Park. It is West Ridge and Rogers Park. I grew up in both areas.

Lostnyc
Lostnyc on September 27, 2007 at 10:28 am

I decided on the size of my models to replicate the Nortown frieze panels, the two with the comic and tragic faces as well as the plain Art Deco design, so it will be nice that these will live on and be more widely enjoyed.
The orignals on the theater facade were almost 31" wide and 20" high, as well as about 6" thick, and that’s HEAVY.
My clay models will wind up a nominal 21-1/2″ by 14-1/4″ and maybe 2" thick which is a practical size to display on today’s modern walls.
I expect to be starting on the first one in a week or two.
Randall,
Randall’s Lost New York City.
Sculpture studio and web gallery of historic lost NYC buildings and ornaments.

Batwoman
Batwoman on September 26, 2007 at 9:13 pm

huh, I have never heard it called west ridge before. I’ve always and only known it to be West Rogers Park. In fact, there’s a marker by Loyola that says Rogers Park. granted it’s not right there by the theater, but I did grow up across the street from nortown.

sadly, I have no pictures of the place. wish I did! Would love to seen any and all pictures people have of the old place.,

Broan
Broan on September 26, 2007 at 9:04 pm

West Ridge has been a seperate community area since the 1890s. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Ridge%2C_Chicago

Batwoman
Batwoman on September 26, 2007 at 7:42 pm

west ridge? that must be new. it’s always been west rogers park as far as I know.

Batwoman
Batwoman on September 26, 2007 at 7:42 pm

west ridge? that must be new. it’s always been west rogers park as far as I know.

mbrewer
mbrewer on September 26, 2007 at 7:38 pm

For those who live in West Ridge (home of the Nortown), our Historical Society is currently seeking photos and memorabilia of historic interest for a new book called Images of America: West Ridge. The deadline is October 15, 2007. For more information contact: or call 312.545.7792.

Paul Fortini
Paul Fortini on September 18, 2007 at 7:17 pm

I think that C-O put its logos in its new theatres and the ones it renovated such as the McClurg Court and Lakeshore/Broadway. I have a feeling that C-O knew it was getting rid of its older non-renovated properties.

Batwoman
Batwoman on September 18, 2007 at 4:01 pm

not that I remember. I lived across the street from the Nortown until 10 years ago.

CatherineDiMartino
CatherineDiMartino on September 18, 2007 at 5:55 am

The Will Rogers was closed within a year after the Cineplex-Odeon takeover and some people stated that they never saw C-O logos at that theatre (the Plitt/Plitt-Essaness/CO-Plitt name continued for about a year after that, say into 1986). Did Cineplex-Odeon ever place its logos at the Nortown, which lasted about 5 years after CO took over?

Batwoman
Batwoman on September 6, 2007 at 8:50 pm

that picture really doesn’t do it justice.

Lostnyc
Lostnyc on September 2, 2007 at 5:45 pm

Seen some of the interior around in a Google search for the theater name Cubby, though the quality of some were pretty poor- like newspaper photos scanned.

Randall,
Randall’s Lost New York City.
Sculpture studio and web gallery of historic lost NYC buildings and ornaments.

Cubby
Cubby on September 2, 2007 at 2:42 pm

Does anyone have pictures of the Nortown Theatre from the 1960’s and 1970’s? I would love to see them posted.

Lostnyc
Lostnyc on September 1, 2007 at 10:13 pm

Re Salvage

I am glad to see saved what could be be saved, I have one of the plaster deco’s from the interior, nothing special about it and its somewhat crumbly, but I like it.
I like the 30"x20" alternating Art Deco facade panels, as a sculptor who specializes in re-creating Victorian and Art Deco elements, I decided to sculpt at least one model of the 3 different Art Deco panels if not all 3, but in a smaller more apartment/home friendly size, I’ll start on a clay model soon as I decide on the size to make it. These are simple designs but attractive, these designs will continue to live on.

Randall,
Randall’s Lost New York City.
Sculpture studio and web gallery of historic lost NYC buildings and ornaments.