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The future of the Portage is to be determined this Friday June 15th at a final zoning board meeting at 9AM. It will decide whether or not to allow the Chicago Tabernacle Church to purchase the theater for their new worship space. The church has not entertained suggestions for alternate locations in the area, including the former Belpark Theater. The Portage Park Neighborhood Association is busing 50 residents to the Loop meeting to protest the church’s purchase. Ald. John Arena and many local business owners contend that the church taking over the theater will make drawing new businesses to the Six Corners neighborhood very difficult, especially bars and restaurants, which could not serve liquor near a church. Film critic Roger Ebert has also weighed in on the side of the Portage Theater, saying, “Chicago has countless churches, but not enough theaters like the very special Portage. Help save it.”
A small photo of the entrances to the movie theater and the next-door Dock restaurant can be seen here.
A photo I took of the Michigan Theater this past weekend can be seen here.
A photo I took a couple days ago of the Knickerbocker can be seen here.
The Belpark has been named as an alternative venue for the Chicago Tabernacle Church to consider acquiring as its new home instead of the Portage Theater, which the Six Corners community is strongly against.
Here is a recent view of the former Star Theater.
Reopening as the Beer Bistro North
Here is a photo I took yesterday of the McHenry Theater. We saw a late-night showing of “Grease” here. My partner, who used to live in the area, noticed that there was the same mildewy smell in the auditorium that there was when he last was here close to a decade ago. Also, we noticed that there is an unusually large space between the screen and where the seats begin. It looks like there could easily fit another 4 or 5 rows, and still have a decent amount of space between the seats and the screen.
Here is a photo of the Raue Center that I took yesterday.
A close up view of the Chicago Theater’s facade can be seen here. I’ve never noticed the faces on the left and right of the window arch before. Drama and comedy maybe?
The Congress Theater in the news again, from today’s Chicago Tribune
I’m curious as to why the marquee in the photo on this page of the Princess reads “FIRST LOOP SHOWING”. Was the downtown Peoria area known as the Loop? Or are they referring the Chicago’s Loop (though that wouldn’t make much sense to me).
Here is a 1909 dated postcard showing the Colonial Theatre with the Masonic Temple Building visible in the background. Every building in the photo except for the Delaware Building (to the left of the Colonial) is long gone.
A photo of the Brooklyn Academy of Music taken a few days ago can be seen here.
Photos taken of the Palace on my trip to New York this past week during the day and night
This article in TimeOut Chicago talks about the rally last night at the Portage to save the theater.
From the Encyclopedia of Chicago:
“In the 1930s the community area became known as Belmont Cragin. Builders inundated the area to fill the housing needs of area workers. Bungalows, Cape Cods, and two-flats offered a range of housing type choices. Especially popular was the subdivided residential neighborhood on the eastern border named Belmont Park.”
The Portage Theater is one of only a couple places (along with the Sears store) still left from my childhood growing up around Six Corners in the 70s. It would be such a shame to lose this as well, after such a wonderful comeback.
Here are a couple of photos of what the former Arcada theater looked at as of 2010.
The Logan is set for a “soft” grand opening tomorrow March 17th per this article in today’s Chicagoist.
The pastor of the church that wants to move into the Portage speaks out in the Chicagoist
An article from today’s Chicago Tribune.
The Bijou can be seen in this 1973-dated photo.
Here is a closeup view of the Clark’s marquee from circa-1953.
A view of the former Gem Theater in its present use as a post office can be seen here.