Nortown Theater

6320 N. Western Avenue,
Chicago, IL 60659

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Showing 101 - 125 of 233 comments

CHICTH74 on August 4, 2007 at 7:34 pm

Just saw on the news that NORTOWN is being torn down an in it place will go what else CONDOS . And from what i have herd romm for 2 smaller theatres .

It is a sad day when great places like this are replaced with CONDOS and all that is left is a foot note to history.

SO SAD :( Thank you for your time .

Broan on August 3, 2007 at 2:51 pm

The facade is currently about half down.

missmelbatoast on July 16, 2007 at 1:19 pm

Thank you, BWC! How careless of me, of course it was the NORSHORE I was refering to.

Broan on July 16, 2007 at 12:58 pm

Perhaps you mean the Norshore, /theaters/964/

Broan on July 16, 2007 at 12:57 pm

JEO Pridmore was the architect for the Nortown. What is your source?

missmelbatoast on July 16, 2007 at 12:54 pm

Rapp & Rapp designed the (1931) Nortown Theatre mezzanine floor with the same milti color “basket weave” marble design as they had put inside the (1922) Akdar Theatre lobby in Tulsa, OK.

Broan on July 7, 2007 at 3:43 pm

Yeah. Maybe something like preserving the lobby section and building a new, compatible structure on the auditorium section – something like the proposal for the Hyde Park theater – would have worked.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on July 7, 2007 at 2:38 pm

I hear what you are saying B. I’m not saying that I have a carefully conceived plan. But the mark of a good architect is an ability to look at project constraints and come up with an attractive solution.

Broan on July 6, 2007 at 10:25 am

Well, the facade was pretty blank and severe, probably because of the depression. Especially after the parapet wall at the top of the entrance was removed. You’d need to punch a lot of windows in it, and it probably just wouldn’t end up looking too great. I’d like to see the scrapped proposal from VOA Architects.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on July 6, 2007 at 9:18 am

It sounds like they have the right idea at the Ramova. I have heard of proposals that sit at different points along the reuse spectrum. But everything I have read says that they at least want to save the exterior along Halsted Street. I think they could have taken the same approach with the Nortown. Americans by and large don’t seem to understand possession of history and how it could be marketed far more successfully than another modern mall or condo complex.

At least some sections of the building have been salvaged by Urban Remains for new life elswhere. While I have heard mixed reviews about them over the years, I think they are basically a positive force within the fabric of preservation.

supercharger96 on July 5, 2007 at 6:13 am

I wouldn’t be concerned for the Patio at this point, as it is still a money generating property with the apartments and storefronts. The owner, AFAIK, is still waiting for a long term lease before proceeding any further with renovations on the theater. I just cruised around there and it’s locked up tight and has had any graffiti removed on a regular basis.

Bing00 on July 4, 2007 at 10:50 pm

There is now a gaping hole at the Nortown procenium. I’m very concerned for the Patio and the Ramova. Any word on movement with these places?

Batwoman on July 2, 2007 at 8:59 pm

Thanks for the link. Great pictures (quality and eye), just wish they were of a living, breathing, thriving Nortown as it was back in the day.

Cam on July 1, 2007 at 12:17 pm

It’s very sad to see the Nortown being demolished, but I’m happy that a few things are being salvaged by the people from Urban Remains Chicago. I have an old pamphlet from the Theatre Historical Society that says the during the demolition of another old Chicago palace – the Norshore – “Local newspapers ran photos of the wrecker’s ball swinging at the columned lobby with chandeliers, furniture, and statuary still in place.”

I’ve put up a few photos from the Nortown at


Batwoman on June 30, 2007 at 11:26 am

I’ve seen your LJ suercharger (I’m also on LJ, iwerewolf).

Some helpful free photo hosts are,… ther eare a few out there. They’re easy to set up and post. You don’t want to see my photobucket account. lol so many pictures for hot linking….

supercharger96 on June 29, 2007 at 6:18 pm

Nortown –
The add image feature is not currently working on this site. In order to show your photos you have to host them on your own site and set up a page for viewing to link to.
You can see that I link to my LJ pages and host on my own server.
I’m glad that urbanremains was able to help you out!

Nortown on June 29, 2007 at 3:12 pm

I visited the Nortown yesterday through the courtesy of Urban Remains Chicago. Most of the auditorium has been demolished. Part of the balcony remained. The lobby is essentially unrecognizable. It was interesting to note that what had been the manager’s office had been converted to men’s and women’s bathrooms. To say the least, it was very disheartening to see the destruction of this beautiful building. I took some pictures that I can post here. I also found my photographs from 1984 while the theater was still open (and before it was tripled). Can anyone tell me how to post images on this web site?

supercharger96 on June 24, 2007 at 7:53 pm

Thank you eric.
I will be in touch. Lighting is much better for photos during the day and it is much nicer to walk in with a tripod and actual real camera gear to shoot. :)

urbanremainschicago on June 24, 2007 at 7:43 pm

thank you supercharger96… just contact us and we can let you in during the day when our staff is present. there are several smaller fragments that you can take along w/ you. best, eric

urbanremainschicago on June 24, 2007 at 7:41 pm

we certainly respect your appreciation for the nortown; however, it would be much appreciated if you simply contact us via email or phone for permission to gain access. we will be more than happy to offer you w/ plaster fragments, bricks, etc. (free of charge) as mementos…simply pay your last respects legally. on a more important subject, we have discovered several items the plasterers left behind in walls, etc. if anyone is interested, email us (too much to write here). thanks again.

supercharger96 on June 24, 2007 at 7:37 pm

From what I have heard the urbanremains people are very gracious when it comes to their salvages and are very conscious of the fact that they are handling pieces of peoples memories as they salvage pieces of buildings that otherwise would be unceremoniously pissed away with the wrecking ball.
Perhaps if you contact them directly they may be able to help you out?
They have a website
I was actually watching them through the fence while they were setting up the lighting and the camera/tripod for the photo that currently graces their front page.
While it is entirely heartbreaking to watch a theater that actually had rehab potential be knocked down to be replaced with condos (and oh the irony! a three screen bollywood theater), it would be even more heartbreaking to watch the proscenium come down in pieces and be ground into dust underneath the wrecking crews treads.

Nortown on June 24, 2007 at 5:20 pm

I agree with supercharger96. Having worked at the Nortown as both an usher and a manager for Plitt Theaters, I have quite a bit of life’s memories tied to that building. As an usher, I removed the old paint from the front doors and polished the underlying metal. I also spent a summer painting the first floor lobby. I would like to be able to retain something tangible from the building. I don’t have $1250.00 to spend on a column from the lobby but if a few bricks or pieces of the wool carpet (if it remains) could be saved for a reasonable price, then I would be interested.

supercharger96 on June 24, 2007 at 4:22 pm

I would like to point out that the building is taking a lot of heavy damage from taggers and vandals, with more and more graffiti appearing every day. I think it likely that those who are destroying the plaster pieces are people who have no respect for the theater.
I highly doubt that anyone on the cinematreasures board would do anything other than treat the building with the utmost of respect and reverence. We are simply paying our last respects to a building that few have glimpsed the interior of in many a year.

urbanremainschicago on June 24, 2007 at 2:37 pm

please do not be offended, but only authorized individuals (i.e., dmd wrecking co. and urban remains architectural salvage co.) are allowed in the structure. granted, the security is not as tight as it should be, but regardless, you do not belong in there. as for the plaster, along w/ any and all fragments, we have shelled out a lot of money to earn the salvage rights. several areas containing plaster have already been badly damaged by ill-equipped people. regardless of what people think of us, we remove these artifacts as a way of honoring the workmanship of the past, along w/ making items avail. to the public as mementos, design elements, etc. in fact, several pieces will be going into our chicago building artifact museum. so please, if you unauthorized to be in there, stay out. thank you!

mbrewer on June 24, 2007 at 11:19 am

I was in the theater this morning with 2 others, all reachable ornament has been stripped. It’s easy to access the interior, a door at the front is open as well as the fence at the alley. It’s actually pretty dangerous with some open, deep holes in the floor.

I’m a little concerned about kids getting in there and getting hurt, but shoddy construction / demolition practices are par for the course in the 50th ward. Take a look at the open pit in the 2300 block of Devon where we had a fire last Thanksgiving – it’s another accident waitng to happen.