Roosevelt Theater

110 N. State Street,
Chicago, IL 60602

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Showing 51 - 66 of 66 comments

Paul Fortini
Paul Fortini on February 13, 2006 at 7:56 am

BK, thanks for mentioning that book. I had never heard of it, but it sounds like a fascinating read. The Chicago Sun-Times had a recent series on the re-development of the Downtown Area. It examined the successes and pitfalls of this development.

BW, that could explain the row of single-story stores. They may have been trying to re-develop the block piecemeal, or the structures could have indeed been temporary in order to get a few tax dollars out of the site. I remember that the original plan was to obliterate practically the whole North Loop. Imagine the area with no Oriental/Ford Center, no Goodman, no Cadillac Palace! I’m glad that these places were retained, or in the case of the Goodman, the facades restored. Broadway and live theatre in Chicago is alive and well because of these places.

Broan
Broan on February 13, 2006 at 3:55 am

Actually, it closed September 1, 1979 and was not demolished until 1980. At one time, the intention had been to completely demolish six blocks of the North Loop, including all the movie palaces. I think at that time the plan for that particular block had been to develop it piecemeal.

Paul Fortini
Paul Fortini on February 13, 2006 at 3:09 am

The structures in Bryan’s photo above look like they are all closed and awaiting demolition. Around the corner and across the street from the Oriental was a huge pinball and video game arcade. I just remember that block of Randolph being rather seedy. Demolishing all of it was actually an improvement!

If you compare and contrast Bryan’s 1978 and 1990 photos, you will see that State Street had been re-configured into a “Mall” (a glorified busway, actually). You can easily see that the State Street Mall was a colossal failure. It was ugly and it did nothing to stem the exodus of businesses from the Loop. Circa 1996, the City of Chicago removed the “Mall”, re-opening the street to traffic. Since then, business on State Street has gone up with stores and restaurants (like Borders Books and Nordstrom Rack) re-appearing. At one point, they proposed a Target store for block 37. On one hand, it would have made sense as Target and Marshall Fields were once owned by Target Corporation. On the other hand, there would have been no parking available for the Target.

I wonder why those single-level non-descript stores were built on the site of the Roosevelt. Certainly they knew that the entire block was going to be demolished.

Paul Fortini
Paul Fortini on February 11, 2006 at 5:12 pm

Now that I remember it, between the demolition of the Roosevelt in 1979 and sometime in the early 90, there actually was a block of buildings built on “Block 37”. These were rather non-descript, single-story retail stores such as the GAP, The Limited, etc.

Paul Fortini
Paul Fortini on February 11, 2006 at 5:09 pm

There definitely is work going on at Block 37. The underground “Pedway” underneath, which links Marshall Fields with the CTA Blue Line and the Daley Center is now closed (the “Pedway” east of that point to Randolph Street Station has been closed for many years) The ground has been broken up and there is construction work going on.

CHICTH74
CHICTH74 on February 11, 2006 at 4:55 pm

The Roosevelt as well as the UA were on a block of land that is knowen in Chicago as “BLOCK 37”. What happened is that the deal to buld on this spot fell out after the block was leveled except 4 the one bulding,it sat empty and vancant untill i want 2 say the 1990`s when the city started to use the sopt for art fairs and summer programs.But now their are plans to buld on the sopt i just hope that some one some how rembers the theatres that once stood on this spot,the UA and the Roosevelt and it would be nice if they put up a plack or something to mark “on this spot once stood”! kind of thing but you can hope and you can dream.

KenC
KenC on November 30, 2005 at 4:23 pm

In “IMAGES of AMERICA: CHRISTMAS ON STATE STREET 1940s and BEYOND” by Robert P. Ledermann, there is a great shot of the Roosevelt theatre on page 79. On the marquee: “FIST OF FURY PART TWO” plus “YOUNG DRAGON”.

JohnSanchez
JohnSanchez on May 11, 2005 at 1:23 pm

The Roosevelt closed after its Sunday evening performances on August 26, 1979. The final booking was a less then memorable double feature of “The Master Killer” and “The Chinatown Kid.”

jkloska
jkloska on November 13, 2004 at 7:42 am

Thanks for the memories. I ushered at the Roosevelt in the middle sixties as my first job. She’ll always hold a place in my heart, lots of great times.

The big draw during my employment was GOLDFINGER, Bond films were hot back then and Goldfinger drew lines waiting to get in, (out in the freezing winter cold yet) all the way around the block, sometimes even reaching the United Artists. I remember some moviegoers being quite confused as to which theatre the line was for. We ushers sometimes worked 11 hour days to handle the Goldfinger crowds, and we had to actually seat people to fill the theatre to capacity. Those were the days…

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on October 30, 2004 at 1:59 pm

The architects of the Roosevelt Theatre were C. Howard Crane and Kenneth Franzheim

PhilH
PhilH on June 12, 2004 at 7:56 pm

I had a lot of great times downtown at these long gone theatres.

RobertR
RobertR on May 14, 2004 at 8:57 am

What a great marquee and even that late in the game all the lights lit and it looks well kept. The exterior looks like a poor mans version of The Rivoli.

JohnSanchez
JohnSanchez on January 8, 2004 at 2:39 pm

The Roosevelt began to cater to the African American audience in the early 1970’s and, unfortunately, a stigma became attached to the theater. “Shaft” opened in 1971 and played a staggering 24 weeks, a feat not repeated in the rest of its lifetime. Still the Roosevelt drew crowds up to the very end. In the year that it closed (1978) they had a very successful run of “Richard Pryor Live in Concert”.

Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois
Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois on October 26, 2001 at 8:22 am

Was on State Street across from Marshal Fields flagship store. Was torn down a number of years ago along with the United Artists Theater, around the corner, at the corner of Randolph & Dearborn. In fact everything within the block bordered by State, Randolph, Dearborn & Washington was torn down including a very historic building at the Corner of Dearborn & Washington, with the exception of one small electric company building. The whole block is now used in the summer for art types of things and as an ice skating rink in winter. But after all these years it is still waiting for a developer.