Nortown Theater

6320 N. Western Avenue,
Chicago, IL 60659

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Showing 126 - 150 of 233 comments

Bing00 on June 23, 2007 at 9:38 pm

I stopped by on Friday since the wall is open to take a few photos of the interior from out on the street. Only a part of the house left structure and a bit of the procenium remain. I will try to post them. Someone angrily asked me to leave.

Batwoman on June 22, 2007 at 1:23 pm

Those pictures are truely heartbreaking.

Batwoman on June 22, 2007 at 1:20 pm

I was going to stop by yesterday but I didn’t get a chance to. :(

Broan on June 20, 2007 at 9:50 pm

Photos, including historical and ones from earlier today, are at

Paul Fortini
Paul Fortini on June 20, 2007 at 7:59 pm


I checked out your website and found it fascinating. All of that Chicago history is in those photos. I know that many people might think that this company is a bunch of vultures. But think about it. Because of companies like this, portions of the Nortown can live on. The Lake Theatre in Oak Park, IL has a lot of pieces from other, now demolished theatres. And I’ll bet that at least some of those pieces were bought from a salvage company!

No if I only had $100,000.00 or so……..

urbanremainschicago on June 20, 2007 at 8:56 am

we have taken over 200 photographs as we continue to carefully remove decorative plaster, lighting, ironwork, etc. please email us at for photos of the interior.

dyban on June 19, 2007 at 11:00 pm

Would someone in Chicago please take some photographs?

Bing00 on June 19, 2007 at 8:37 pm

I saw the bulldozers inside this past week. It’s going, going, gone.
Just sad.

Nortown on June 17, 2007 at 8:40 pm

I drove by the Nortown last night and the theater is still standing. Of course the exterior looks terrible with the missing marquee and boarded up front. I did drive through the alley behind the theater and there is a fence along the back of the building with a tarp attached to the fence so that nobody can peer through the fence. I do have to say that it depresses me to go by the Nortown and the neighborhood in general. The other retail establishments in the area are stunningly decrepit. I can remeber a time when the retail owners took pride in their storefronts and kept the sidewalks around Devon and Western clean.

Batwoman on June 13, 2007 at 6:40 pm

that just sucks!

I’m going to have to drive by there next Thursday when I go to my brother’s house.

mbrewer on June 13, 2007 at 4:38 pm

After years of neglect and decay, a permit for demolition of the Nortown Theater was issued on June 7. Driving by this morning, it appeared that work has already begun.

The developer’s plans call for construction of a five story condo and commercial building in its place. Unlike the high quality brick masonry construction going up throughout the city, this project will be primarily painted cast-in-place concrete. Although the development will include parking for the condos (just under one space per unit), it will not provide any parking for the commercial space due to a generous manipulation of the zoning requirements by Alderman Stone.

Another sad day in the 50th Ward of Chicago.

Bartonius84 on April 27, 2007 at 6:51 pm

I was born and raised in the 6700 block of Artesian, just blocks from the Nortown. As a young boy, I began going to the Saturday or Sunday Matinee many weeks of the year beginning about 1952 or so.

There was the House of Wax in 3D, Charge at Feather River, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, High and the Mighty with John Wayne, and dozens more. The Matinee would start with two cartoons, followed by two feature films lasting almost to suppertime.

Ma gave me 50 cents: 25 cents for admission, 10 cents for popcorn, 5 cents for candy, and ten cents “emergency” money for a phone call or busfare. I remember using that “emergency” money often on a Holloway bar or Chuckles.

Does anyone remember “George’s”, the candy store one door south of the Nortown. George was a short happy man, I believe of Greek descent, always smiling. On nice weather days, he would roll the popcorn machine out front of the store. His popcorn was always better than the candy counter. It was hot and fresh, 10 cents, 2 cents more for extra butter.

The Nortown and Devon Avenue of the 1950’s and early 60’s bring back memories of good times.

ctd on April 16, 2007 at 4:05 am

My fondest memory of the Nortown is from when I saw the premiere of “Superman” in ‘78 – sitting in that beautiful theater, holding a glow-in-the-dark Kryptonite rock that my father bought at the ticket counter.

I’m new to the site, and I really enjoyed reading the comments and checking out the many links to pics of the Nortown.

CatherineDiMartino on April 3, 2007 at 5:42 am

Cinemaven—You may be thinking of the United Artists Theatre. That had the ABC logo on it and before that the Balaban & Katz logo.

Nortown on March 4, 2007 at 8:19 pm

I just had a recollection (one of many) from my days (and nights) working at the Nortown, both as an usher and a relief manager. When you first passed the ticket taker and turned into the first auditorium entrance on the right, you were at a single row of seats on the right side. The next row of seats was somewhat far forward of this first row. The theatre was built at a time when seating for wheelchairs was not taken into consideration. However, when the occasional theatre patron (as we called the people who bought a ticket) in a wheelchair came in, we would direct him or her to this row of seats. There was plenty of room so that the person did not even have to get out of the wheelchair to watch the movie. Also, I started calling this row of seats the “executives' row”. We would take our breaks there and sometimes sit and eat food from the McDonalds or Pepe’s Tacos that were on Devon Avenue just east of Western. Those were the days!

mp775 on January 5, 2007 at 3:54 am

The building isn’t for sale; the owner has already submitted plans to the City for demolition. The new six-story development will have 70 condominium units, 67 parking spaces and (drum roll, please) a two-screen movie theater for Bollywood films. There is no evidence of demolition work yet.

According to the Nortown Theater ‘blog, there actually was a fire in the building on August 9.

Paul Fortini
Paul Fortini on December 31, 2006 at 4:52 am

Any news on this theatre? Has it been sold? Will it be demolished?

DimitriusStrong on December 17, 2006 at 11:34 pm

I’m sorry, I believe the theater I’m recalling was downtown Chicago and it was across the street from the theater that had the “ABC” logo on the outside of it. The interior looks alot like the Nortown. I was very young back then so I think the memory of the theater I’m thinking of resembled the Nortown alot since it had the upper balcony section and huge lobby area. Can anyone tell me which theater I’m trying to recall?

DimitriusStrong on December 17, 2006 at 11:28 pm

Waitaminute, I must be thinking of the wrong theater here…

DimitriusStrong on December 16, 2006 at 2:04 pm

Alot of my memories of early childhood date back to this beautiful theater. In fact, this is the very theater that got me interested in the art that is theater architecture and movie houses in general. On weekends my mother and I would take the ‘EL’ from Evanston all the way to downtown Chicago, pick up some Garrett’s popcorn and hit the movie theater strip. At the Nortown I can remember seeing the films Creepshow, Cujo, Beverly Hills Cop and a few others back in the day. I now live in Texas and thanks to this website and Mr. Russell Phillip’s masterful photography that re-awakened my interest in the subject of these theaters and their history.

mp775 on November 22, 2006 at 8:15 am

Or the owner told the reporter there was a fire.

Batwoman on November 20, 2006 at 4:40 pm

Sounds like it to me.

Broan on November 20, 2006 at 4:39 pm

Part of me thinks the reporter just lazily equated the board-up with a fire.

Batwoman on November 20, 2006 at 4:23 pm

The only fire I can think of that was anywhere near Nortown was across the street in June of 91. I remember it was at 3 AM the morning I graduated from high school. I had been up late on the phone and woke up right before my sister ran into my room. I saw the light from behind the house (coming from the alley) and she then called 911 and woke me up. Our call was the only one that made it to 911 because the fire took out the phone lines. I don’t remember if we ever found out the truth but there was rumors that someone planted a small explosive to set the garage/store behind our building on fire.

That is the only fire I have ever heard of close to the theater.