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Just had the pleasure to tour the theater today and I must say that it is in very good shape. While the interior has been painted by the first church to occupy the space the current owners are very careful that they only do things that can be easily undone. While it would take a lot of work to put the place back into original condition it is mostly paint and removal of some of the churches remodeling. With a little luck, this would make a very nice movie house again some day.
I don’t know anything about Chicago but I can say that Parking in Seattle is no problem. There is street parking and there are garages all within walking distance of the Seattle Paramount. Maybe some deal will have to be reached with neighboring business to allow parking.
They may want to try to make the Uptown usable for large conventions like the Paramount in Seattle did. When the Paramount was restored they removed the original auditorium floor and installed a convertable floor that is slopped and has seats for theater use and then can be made flat for convention use. I don’t know how they convert it but have been told that it only takes a few hours to go from slopped floor with seats to a flat empty floor ready for tables or whatever the renter requires. 30 million was spent on the Paramount and it has run in the black every year. They also expanded the stage and do a lot of touring Broadway shows and concerts, as well as films and conventions. They are also a 501 3C. With a lot of imagination the Uptown can be brought back.
I agree that the money has to come from somewhere and that not all theaters can be saved. But I have been in a lot of small towns where they tear down old buildings and put nothing up in their place and the end result is ugly. Most buildings that are solidly built can be gutted and rebuilt into something, ie; retail, office space, city gov’t use, etc. If kenosha is a town where there is NO new businesses opening up or NO buildings being built then tear it down and leave a hole in the city block. Otherwise take the money that would be used to build some new strip mall and invest it in rehabbing the existing building. It’s a win for everyone, the city retains a neighborhood block with some architectural character, and some new business gets a nice solid building that will be around for another 80 years. Some will say that the roof and wiring and plumbing is all bad, and that is probably true but if someone was to build a new building in town they have to build a roof and install wiring and plumbing, using the old building gives someone 4 concrete walls to start with along with a nice brick facade. There is always an alternative to demolition, My home town went from an attractive city to one that is 60% gone due to short cited city planners who could not see the value in rehabbing existing buildings and now I have a town that most blocks have gravel lots in them where buildings once stood. Most of the missing buildings could have been reused if owners were forced to maintain their holdings or have them taken away by the city and then sold to developers cheap with agreements that they were to be reused. The Roosevelt can be siezed by the city and basicly sold to a developer with a covenant in place to preserve the exterior while making the interior useful as something else. The city can make this attractive by giving tax and permit breaks to a potential buyer. It can be done. Kenosha must have stores and restaurants and professional offices etc. that could be put into this building once it has been rebuilt. Adaptive reuse is better than a gravel lot that more often than not will never be built on because the codes on new construction will not allow anything to be built.
I just was told that the work has resumed on the theater and any issues have been resolved. This is good news it will be nice to get the front busineses open. “I” street hasn’t had any activity on that block for a long time. The theater front looks so good that to be able to actually go in and patronize the business is great!
Thanks for the info, I was only commenting on what I read in the above posts. Smaller neighborhood theaters are just as important as the big venues in city centers. I have no idea how big Kenosha is but to remove what appears to be an attractive building and replace it with an empty lot is never a good idea. If the building is concrete and steel then it can be rehabbed into something while retaining the exterior. While restoration is best, if that is imposible then adaptive reuse is better than demolition. I would venture to bet that if someone would do the math it would be less money to reuse this building than to build a new structure with poured concrete steel girders and brick. And you end up with something that is architectually nice to look at, not another bland box or worse a cheap strip mall.
24 million to restore a theater in the downtown but not a penny to save the Roosevelt. City officials should be ashamed. If the Roosevelt could be restored for 1 million then the cost to put the building to sleep until a buyer could be found would be minimal. I bet their are public funds that are being used for the downtown theater restoration.
I agree, Restoring the original colors is going to make this already spectacular theater shine.
The 7th st has had it’s marquee restored and reinstalled. It looks very nice.
I havn’t heard anything in a long time, work seems to be at a stand still. What they have done is beautiful but nothing is finished. They were to be opened by now, (at least the front portion) but now the time table is anybody’s guess. The latest newspaper story sounds like trouble in paradise with John and Tom locked in legal battles.
This seems to be the trend in movie theaters today. While there are some great people out there doing exceptional jobs the bulk of the corporate theaters are using the front of house staff to run the booth. This gives us a less than professional show. I have been a projectionist for many years (over 20)and while I was never a union member I was trained by a Union projectionist who stressed that there was more to running a movie than just starting the machine. Sadly there is not much showmanship left in the “show”.
With all the theaters going digital in the near future cheaper equipment should be coming on the market as there will be a surplus.
While driving by I saw that the plywood had been removed from the front and the theater looks great. Hopefully the shops will open soon.
Another beautiful example of Art Modern by Mr. Lee that is sadly no longer with us to enjoy! Most of S. Charles Lee’s theaters that were designed during this period are now gone.
There e-mail is
Yep, that’s the box from the Aberdeen (Warner) Theatre. My understanding is that the church has kept the original lighting fixtures and they can be re-installed once the front is restored.
What a wonderful theater. It is to bad that the interior is all painted white. This seems to be quite common as a lot of old movie palaces that have become venues for other things have had their interiors white washed in some misguided attempt at good taste. The original architects not only oversaw the design of the building but also the interior including the colors used in the decorations, the fabrics used and the interior furnishings. Thereby giving a complete visual package. While the furnishings are usually long gone their is no reason why the colors of the paint can not be replicated. Paint is paint so why use all white?
I was in the Roxy for a concert given by Olympic College showcasing their Jazz ensemble and band. The place is amazing, It would be an easy restore and should be bought by someone who will turn it back into a cinema. While competition with the multi screen venues is not possible a specialty movie house might work along with live events. This is an “art modern” dream. The building is in very good condition thanks to the church,(although a little seedy). At least it has not been destroyed like so many others.
Just had the pleasure to tour the theatre, and I must say it looks incredible! Aberdeen is going to have a fist class entertainment venue when this place re-opens in mid-year. Although I have had the good fortune to tour the place several times since the renovations started I am always amazed at the beauty of the D&R. Another treasure has been saved from oblivion.
Yes it can, and in any town. There is always going to be a market for smart intelligent film entertainment.
This is what a multi screen cinema should look like. If more owners were to spend the money and the attention to detail it would bring back the magic and escape of going to the movies. This place embodies all of the qualities of the old picture palaces and none of the cookie cutter attributes of the modern multi screen cinema.
The Lynwood now has an Organ of it’s own. We purchased a Conn 652 and used it in January with a screening of “The Gold Rush” staring Chaplin. It sounded great and now makes it easier for us to do a wider variety of programing.
John Yonich is doing a magnificent job with the D&R, one can only hope that he can come to an agreement with the church to purchase and save the Aberdeen (Warner) theatre. A restored Aberdeen theatre along with the D&R and the Morck Hotel will jewels in the crown for Aberdeen’s rebirth.
Great photo’s from everyone, This new sign is amazing!!!
WOW! That’s great. Tom I would like to know what’s going on with the rest of the work. Drop me a note at