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I happened to catch an e-mail the other day from the new Alderman’s office.
It stated that the proposed project at Chesnut & Clark, a 370 foot, 28 story, 49 unit condo building with 83 parking spots, has been scaled back to a two story building.
There is currently a two or three story building on the S/E corner, but it can’t possibly have the amount of land to accomodate that size building.
So it must be refering to the former site of the Chestnut Station Theaters. Which has remained empty since it was demolished.
P.S. I do remember the Miami Vice color scheme inside the theater lobby. It actually knid of fit with the building’s low profile.
Is there any information on when the Spanish styled iron work above the marquee was removed? Neither website list the year of the much older renovations.
Oddly the Liberty’s own website opens with an animated version/shape similar to what was above the maruee originally.
Also does anyone know what year the street out front was converted into a more mall looking configuration?
Ah, what a relief, thanks. I thought from the angle that it was a Lake & Wabash. The site of Harold Washington College. I think I have it’s location in my mind now. Thanks again.
I just noticed that the original marquee in the 1958 photo at this link’s top, had Balaban & Katz in the center. So ABC actually rebuilt the front of the marquee to add their logo.
I see from some of the pictures attached to various posts, that the entire building that houses the Chicago Theatre once had lights on it’s perimeter. Over the arch, down the sides, etc. Not just the sign & marquee.
I wonder if those light fixtures are still in place and operational. Or were they removed during any renovation work over the years.
Also it’s a shame that we lost the giant building behind it with the four corner turrets, and the huge center spire.
I recall that Mayor Richard J. Daley, George Dunne and/or the Democratic Party held several convention style events in the Bismark Hotel/Palace Auditorium.
I believe even past Presidents may have spoken at some as well. So to answer the lady from 2005, yes they did various conventions there.
Somewhere I have a set of mauve coffee mugs with “Bismark Hotel” on them.
In all my years in Chicago, I did not know the Bismark/Palace ever showed films until linking over from the Chicago Theatre page.
I did see the stage version of “The Producers” there, when it first premiered with Nathan Lane & Matthew Broderick. We had gotten or tickets very early on. And it was quite interesting to be suddenly targeted by people dressed to the nines looking to score tickets, when our cab pulled up.
Literally older folks in silk scarves & furs looking to pay $500+ for seats. It was like walking out of the Addison “L” before a Cub game.
I see no mention of it, but the Bismark Hotel was renovated into the Allegro Hotel around 1998.
The Allegro was also the name of the Division Steet tavern that would ultimately become The Lodge.
Now in their 51st year.
I just wanted to add that the Salvation Army had a massive headquarters building kitty corner from Chestnut Station and across from the Newberry Theatre.
It literally took up the entire block as does the condo building that replaced it. Bordering Dearborn, Chestnut, Clark & Delaware Streets. (Tooker Place was an actual street name for the alley that runs Eastbound from Dearborn between Chestnut & Delaware. Next to the Hazelton Rehab. Facility)
A small parking lot was on the Clark Street side. My father attempted projecting giant still photos on the Dearborn side marble like walls from our living room picture window at 863 N. Dearborn. He had a unique overhead projector from his days at a short lived creative agency called Image Makers. On Wabash across from Medinah Temple.
The condo building that replaced the Salvation Army was being built around 1994/95. There was a huge debate about it's prosposed new height. Experts were tapped to discuss the potential loss of sunlight on the park. Washington Square/Bughouse is also obviously famous for the soap box oratories in the20’s. And again for the dog leash
flare-ups where Ald. Natarus got in a disagreement with a cop and supposedly he was transferred.
95. There was a huge debate about it's prosposed new height. Experts were tapped to discuss the potential loss of sunlight on the park. Washington Square/Bughouse is also obviously famous for the soap box oratories in the
Thanks KenC. I stand corrected.
I stand corrected. Thanks Bryan.
That would put the actual Newberry Theatre across from the park. Which really didn’t need any more night life action than it had in the late 60's &70’s.
The city ultimately removed the run down covered structure in the center of the park, where the fountain is now.
Even with the CPD 18th District only a block away, Bughouse was a hotbed of vagrants, drugs & illicit activity back then. All across from my grade school.
As I posted on the Chestnut Station Theatre’s page, I beleive the Newberry to also have been he Image. And South of Chicago Ave., not North. I cannot find a listing for the Image Theatre on CT. But a guy we knew leased it. And I was in it during it failed build out as a nightclub in 1979.
Even though I lived only 2 blocks away in the `90’s, I only saw a few things at Chestnut Station. “Dangerous Minds” was the last.
We did use it as our Post Office though prior to that. As we lived at 863 N. Dearborn in 1969 & `70. Fittingly that is now Hazelton.
The address of Chestnut Station is correct. However that of the Newberry Theatre on it’s link I believe is off by one block.
The Newberry was later called the Image Theatre and was still a gay porno house when it closed. It was South of Chicago Avenue, not North. Next to Stop & Drink.
I can find no listing for The Image Theatre on Cinema Treasures. So I assume they are one in the same. Just a block off.
In the block North of Chestnut Station on Clark across from Washington (Bughouse) Square, was a rather large auto dealer, Jocke Buick. Which took up most of the block. It had a rotating colored, pointy spire. Next to that was a small manufacturing building which only came down a few years back.
And then the massive Henrotin Hospital on the corner of Clark & Oak. That was there until 1985 or so, torn down and replaced by townhomes. This is why I think the Newberry was actually further South of Chicago Ave. There wasn’t really room for it in the 800+ block North on Clark St. There definately was an Image Theatre on Clark between Superior & Chicago. A guy we knew leased it to build a second Lamere Vipere. Famous punk bar on Halsted.
Since punk bar O'Banion’s was still at Erie & clark, this seemed a natural spot. However Natarus got alienated quick, and that was the end of Lamere 2.
I drove by the old 3 Penny Cinema this afternoon. The entire first floor has been boarded over with a white painted plywood box enclosure. A developer’s sign & logo is mounted in the center.
Next time I’m down there, I’ll try and see if there’s any indication yet of what type of build-out is occuring.
For all the time I spent haunting Chicago area theatres, strangely this beautiful flagship, namesake gem was the least of them. “The Blues Brothers” was the only film presentation I could come up with off the top of my head.
A perfect example though, since it is such a recognizable one from Chicago’s own past.
Mayor Jane Byrne reopened the door to films being made in Chicago. The first Mayor Daley was cool to anything that might/could have presented a bad image of the city.
So NO was implied to a number of film & TV projects over the years. It’s why we remember `70’s New York streetscapes better, without having been there.
My late father told me Warren Beatty’s early black & white film “Mickey One”, was even shot partly on the sly in some areas of the city. Sometimes using bartenders he knew as extras.
On the other hand, I’ve been to a few concerts & plays at the Chicago Theatre since the 1980 “Blue’s Brothers”. Laurie Anderson, Chita Rivera, both of which I wondered why I was at. Either placating friends and/or, a hope to be girlfriend I couldn’t say no to. She certainly could say no though.
I also saw the live musical “Beauty & the Beast” there in `97. That one with my mother. Geek check.
Most recently though, I had the honor of seeing my mom appear on the Chicago Theatre’s grand stage, as one of the performers in the “Serendipity” show.
A yearly musical showcase of multi-talented Chicago seniors, produced by the Chicago Dept. of Senior Services.
To that I took my 90 year old great aunt. Who once inside, said she had not been in the Chicago Theatre since the 1930’s. Nor downtown for that matter.
It was a thrilling day. My mother had been a chorus girl just blocks away (Wabash & Kinzie), at the Silver Frolics in the early `50’s. Some of her surviving showgirl friends came too. A full circle if there ever was one.
The timeless splendor of the Chicago Theatre was incredible. And a perfect setting for the performers, most of whom were 70 and over. It was taped by Chicago Works/Cable23, and re-airs frequently.
The only downside was that due to two matinees the day we were there, the 2nd show ticket holders, mainly elderly & bused in, were forced to huddle in the cold vestibule until the previous crowd could be ushered out, from a show that hadn’t ended yet. Some shown out through the same doors we were in front of. Doors of which other than the center sets, were locked due to limited security staff. Locked theatre doors??? Really? I just reminded myself to call about that one.
The Chicago’s interior was a beautiful as ever. Elevators helped some of the less agile to the upper balcony floors. But guidance once up there was also limited. Seat numbers being strictly adhered to, even when 90 percent of the balcony was empty anyway.
Other than some frustrating, common sense inadequacies, like my spelling, the Chicago Theatre is/was a stunning example of how occasionally we get saving historic structures right in this city. I recommend seeing anything you can there. Which as of late has been very versatile. Ray Davies to Donnie Hathaway to Robin Williams to Glamorama.
Thanks JRS40 for the clarification.
I’ll also try and find out some history of that film screening facility on Lake Street.
From what I saw of it about 10 years ago, it had been built out in the `70’s. It had it’s own projection booth, theatre seating & restrooms.
An office some then colleagues of mine had rented, shared the restrooms.
This thread reminded me that there is/was some type of professional screening room, in the old Loop Junior College building at 70 E. Lake St. between Wabash & Michigan Ave. Across from the Old Timers restaurant.
After the city renamed Loop Junior College the Harold Washington College, the new college was built across the street on the N/E corner of Wabash & Lake.
The old Loop College building was then presumably sold, but the 10th or 12th floor screening room remained.
I thought too that this facility had something to do with Gene Siskel. Even named after it at one time. Maybe it was the interim site until the State Street site could be built out. Is the Siskel Center in the ABC7/old State Lake Theatre building?
What an interesting conversion of a space.
How long was the Roxy vacant before the conversion?
Is there any visual evidence still intact from it’s Roxy days?
Was the front or rear of the theatre reconfigured to accomodate fire trucks?
I guess yelling fire in a theatre is a common thing there.
Post, post…Drove by the Varsity today. I saw no type of fire escape on the North elevation of the old Varsity building. There could have been one that was removed, but I couldn’t stop to look closely.
Maybe interior exit/stairwells from the balcony level, fed down to the first floor exits out to the alley back in the day.
was there ever any news stories on what was the ultimate cause of the 1978 fire?
I’m assuming the Loew’s Grand never reopened after the fire.
How soon after the fire and in what year was it finally torn down?
The irony of a catastrophic fire burning in Atlanta, taking out such a classic building that premiered GWTW not twice but 3 times, is a little spooky.
FYI. I saw on a memoribila website today that the original Severance Theatre premiered the film “Woodstock” on April 20th, 1970.
The date was on an original ticket stub being sold among other Cleveland oriented rock & roll items.
Charles1954, sorry it took so long to post back. I must not have checked the “Notify Me” box. Yes Arnolds is on the N/E corner of Irving & Broadway.
I think you are right also about the name Barritz, but it might have also been Biaritz. Which was later an option/name of the fancier model of the Cadillac Eldorado.
It is truly amazing that you mentioned that old juke box at Arnolds.
Those were actually 8mm film juke boxes, and sadly short lived.
Here’s why I know.
My father Chuck Zornig worked at the Seeburg Juke Box Company here in Chicago in the early `60’s. It was located near North Ave. & Clybourn. Where John M. Smyth/Homemakers Furniture was years later.
Across and down the street from the tavern Weeds. The owner of Weeds should still remember Seeburg.
My father was one of three men instrumental in the design of the juke boxes that played an 8mm sound film of the artist singing their song. Done in specially shot, musical vignettes. Sometimes not by the original artist. This was the start up phase, so they needed films. The plan was to go nation wide with those models.
According to my father, Seeburg was constantly analyzing the possible success of it all. If not enough original artists would go along and film their own songs. Plus the potential legal stuff if other artists did them instead.
Which would have been necessary to fill up a juke box in order to sell the idea to a place with a regular juke box.
Supposedly one model was going to have both 45’s & sound films to fill the gap.
Then the powers that be at Seeburg abruptly scrapped the whole thing. Citing that no one was going to stand in front of a juke box to watch a performer sing, in a bar.
In hindsight, it’s possible Seeburg may have also been leery of a certain “organizational involvement” that already had it’s influence in Chicago’s coin-op/juke box distribution at the time.
The juke box itself was clearly ahead of it’s time to say the least. MTV anyone?
As my brother & I played around my father’s office, we’d sometimes screen those small reels on a Bell & Howell projector because they were just like watching cartoons. “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini”, stands firmly out in my mind. I wish he/we had saved all of those films.
Actual video juke boxes did make a brief appearance in the late `80’s under another name, but didn’t catch on. Coincidentally a place called Arnie’s Outdoor (now Dublin’s) at State & Maple behind the Carnegie Theatre, had one. I stopped by once and watched “Walk That Dinasour” by the band Was Not Was, on that evening.
The box was gone before I could get my father into Arnie’s to see it.
Sorry if this was all off topic. But whose lookin' up the Sheridan Theatre that often.
Thanks for wakin' up the memories.
P.S. In comparing Ed’s recent OHR NATAN photo with that of the Cinema Treasures 2002 one, it appears as if a parking meter was removed, and some type of “Loading Zone” restriction via signs was put in place. Tough to say because the CT one at the page’s top is cropped tighter than Ed’s.
Chicago has that problem big time, with restaurants “buying” up and removing metered spaces for loading zones. And the valets whisking patron’s cars around to other meters down the block that they didn’t pay for.
Chicago does not allow parking in front of any theatres, for fire evacuation purposes.
But even that loading zone action requires city involvement. So the ball really appears to have been dropped by the Trylon’s council person or reps.
Also since most of the discussions on CT about active construction, are dated 2006. So the building’s tenants surely think their work is done by now.
As stated by others before, it says something about their organization if what is there now is acceptable to them. The council person needs to be physically taken to the site, if anything is to be done to rememdy the injustice. Also a peek into the organization’s tax status, would help in determining it’s Function.
Hi Ed. I’m sure your question isn’t directed to me. Good thing, cause I don’t have an answer. I looked at the Cinema Treasures “Function” link, and barring specific criteria, I guess “Community Center” is what would apply. That’s what’s they put on the marquee anyway. “Cultural Center” is also an option, but either I think implys somehow that it’s open to the general public. Which I’m going to speculate isn’t quite the the case.
I could be wrong.
I’d also like to apologize if I implied the neighborhood around the Trylon was “crime” affected. I did not mean to imply so.
Roll down doors & gates are not as common place in Chicago, and the Trylon is sandwiched by two. There is certainly nothing wrong with business owners protecting their investments. Doing so asthetically would be something for community involvement.
Don’t get me wrong, Chicago still has some, but not in middle class areas. Every city has board-ups. It also has it’s share of unwanted graffiti. “Graffiti Busters” is a city wide program of chemical trucks that constantly cruise the city spraying off the tagging.
You’d think that if the Trylon remodeling had covered all the permit bases etc., that there would have been an end design or drawing on how the finished facade was supposed to look. One submitted & signed off on by the council person.
And one that didn’t include portions of exposed brick, broken face tiles/old adhesives, differing backrounds behind each poster box, and seemingly no attention paid to the underside of the marquee. Basically it looks as if the minimum was done just to get it sealed up.
Not in any way inviting looking, that’s for sure. And possibly something the preservationists could pressure the city about. Where was the oversight on what was ultimately built, etc. That could force them to fix the marquee, where a truck apparently hit it again.
Wow, I was just reading the many posts about the tragic odyssey of the Trylon Theater. It rivals in length that of our own Uptown Theatre here in Chicago. Minus the religious organization and a city council person who actually seemed involved at all. Though we eclipse the Trylon’s saga by 20 years. And have a happier ending in the works.
Since the Trylon’s last date of operation was 12/31/99, it’s clear to see that fate handed it not one positive day in the new millenium since. I guess it’s fitting then that it’s “Function” in the CT heading still reads: Unknown.
After seeing the most recent photo, it’s clear it would have been better off just torn down, and remembered only in pictures. Unless it could be rebuilt elsewhere like the famous STAX recording studios, from the original blueprints. The only reason it likely wasn’t torn down at all, was due to added demolition costs, and of that to build a new structure in between other buildings. Though the one on the left looks integral to it. Maybe an old after theatre snack shop or something.
Based on everything I read from the initial resistance, evasiveness & rudeness of the realtor’s staff, to the preservationist’s dismissal then flip flop from the council person, I’d think I was at home. And that it seems of probably having been a done deal from the get go. Just needed the time to bureaucratically gestate. The preservation effort was probably an unexpected thorn in the owner/developers side. Much like Chicago, landmark status is a limiting kiss of death to developers.
Probably why the municipal flip/flop took so long. Look Like a saviour after it’s too late.
Judging from the most recent photo that was posted, cosmetic considerations for the existing structure other than to make sure it had a roof, was never an issue.
It’s apparently just a usable, presumably tax free space to the tenant, given it is a religious use.
The developers and certain to be tenants would have been hailed as heroes, if their renovation plan would have not been acrimonius from the start. And they gave at least some appearance of caring that it was previously a theatre, and with a New York World’s Fair history. I’m not sure of the 1939 fair’s theme, but I’ll bet it’s now ironic whatever it was.
They could have at least kept all the classic signage, outer lobby details and just etched or blacked out the window glass. Those wooden doors couldn’t look more out of place. Why leave the derelict empty movie poster boxes? To make it look like you cared? Or was that just another end of project expense that didn’t need to be spent.
Again, it appears the Trylon was taken for granted as just a “space” to whomever.
Developers and/or tenants probably think they did the neighborhood a favor by occupying it at all. I don’t know what the hood is like there. The tagged roll up door indicates crime at some level & time.
At least there’s a liquor store for anyone who wants to go there and further lament in person, what happened and could have been. Sad.
Wow, this place is haunting. Great location for a film’s climax of some sort.
Does anyone know if the nearby town of Lemont had any movie theatres of it’s own?
I know the old drug store on the main drag near the I&M Canal is still there. Budds or whatever it is.
Along with a few landmark taverns & restaurants.
The coolest thing about the United Artist’s signage was the timed illumination of the ABC portion.
It lit up sequentially just like the ABC & 7 on TV back in the day.
Like timed, scriptive writing in lights. The whole sign was stunning, but that part sticks out in my mind’s eye.