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In 1929 the Egyptian Theatre replaced an earlier DeKalb Theatre that was located southwest about a block and a half away at First Street and Lincoln Highway. At some point it became a Montgomery Ward until the 70s when that moved out onto Sycamore Road (past the DeVal Drive in, also here on Cinema Treasures). It was remodeled into retail and office space in the 1970s (I recall my dentist having the most psychedelic foil wallpaper throughout his office there).
Hey Paradise….when were you a volunteer there?
I was a volunteer in 79/80. Ran the box office for part of the time.
That photo must date from sometime between July and November 1969, when Midnight Cowboy played at the Woods.
The Daley Center, on the left, was built from 1963-1965.
But what fascinates me is the man in the foreground….what is he carrying? Being closer to the camera, he looks strangely tall, in comparison to the man on the right, who looks strangely short. Together they almost look like an old carnival act. The photographer, Vivian Maier, definitely had a unique eye to create something like that in the days before Photoshop.
Ogden north of North Avenue was removed in 1967 as part of an urban renewal project for Lincoln Park.
A very detailed description of Ogden can be read on the awesome site Forgotten Chicago:
Apparently this theatre was damaged by arson early this morning, but they are still hoping to have it opened Sept 19th.
It is a very daunting task, but one thing that the Uptown has (unlike the DuPage), at least partially, is a city government that is not fighting against it. The alderman is very much in favor of renovating the Uptown, and the City in general is in support. The theatre district downtown showed what happens when a city sits tight and allows the process to happen—-the Loop at night was a dead zone back when the Chicago reopened. Uptown has a more vibrant nighttime scene already. And yes, even if it all happens, compromises will be made, but the ultimate goal is getting that big, old barn back to life.
If it’s going to be restored, it will need public funds. No private company will finance something like this renovation out of completely private funds. (Even Disney, which has dumped millions on its theatres, has tight purse strings).
But at least untangling the ownership/mortgage mess will help get this thing rolling. Perhaps a public/private joint venture will allow the funding to get pulled together. Part of that big restoration cost will be building additional parking for the neighborhood.
Perhaps some new “categories”…….
Changed into a church (or other not-so-performing arts but not gutted) could be, for example, “converted” or something like that.
Something else could be used for when it’s been turned into retail or office, but not torn down—“gutted” might be appropriate. It would differentiate from a theater that is “closed” and just sitting there empty.
Visiting my parents this weekend, I drove by and the 1930s facade has been returned to this theatre. Did not have my camera to take a photo
The current website is :
The second (downward, stylized) is Chicago 13
Actually, the drive in was part of the strip mall. It was behind the strip mall, and the screen was attached to the back of the mall. There was a walkway in the middle of the strip that allowed you to walk back to the drive in portion.
The name was a combination of the town, DeKalb and Valos, the owners. They also owned the Egyptian Theatre.
What is now Harlem Furniture/The Room Place was once a theatre…I assume it was the Golf-Rose.
I’m assuming that $$ was the deciding factor, not paying tribute to its cinema days. Replacing an ugly modern marquee with something more appropriate is outrageously expensive by itself…..redoing the facade entirely is very expensive….and Disney is well known for counting their pennies. What would be nice is, now that the theatre is reopened and an obvious success, that a further restoration be done for the facade. But I wouldn’t be surprised if it would be complicated by landmark law….even though it looks stupid in tandem with the interior, but it does qualify as an “historic” exterior.
One of the big decisions in preservation is what “date” to do a restoration to, and one of the things that complicates it is more recent alterations are part of the history of the building. I’m not familiar with NYC’s landmark laws, but I would not be surprised if there would have been restrictions, or at least complications, on restoring the original facade, since it was landmarked with this one.
At some point in the 1970s this was the Fargo Skating Rink…the rink was in the auditorium and the lobby was, well, the lobby. In the late 70s or early 80s, long after the rink closed, the lobby was home to a clothing store called The Fargo Theatre. When it was a roller rink, a friend of my brother lived in the apartment upstairs…I recall they owned a pipe organ (although I don’t believe it was from the Fargo—-I think they moved it there), and I think somewhere in the apartment was a window that originally opened into what was the auditorium.
The Gateway does not have landmark protection status in Chicago. Even if it did, that only protects the exterior from being demolished, and in the late 80s they actually took one building off the landmark list so it could be demolished for a full-block redevelopment(the site still sits empty). The only movie theatres I see currently landmarked are the New Regal, Congress, Chicago, Biograph (which is being gutted into smaller live venues), Harris & Selwyn (which are only facades now), and the Uptown. The Auditorium and Civic Opera House are only protected as part of the larger buildings they are in, and Medinah Temple never showed movies…and is now a Bloomingdale’s Home Store (thank heavens they didn’t completely gut the interior of that).
Re: Benjamin’s comment of Jan 14 on the balcony support rods—your memory is correct. The Upper Balcony of the New Amsterdam has the support rods running up to the ceiling, but they do not actually support anything. Because no one had seen a cantilevered balcony back then, people were afraid it would collapse….so, the owner put the rods up to reassure people. They are still there, and supposedly cannot be removed because they are covered by the landmark ordinance. Under the main balcony there are some columns, so that would have reassured people back then that it had support.
As far as the upper theatre, the current line is still that they cannot meet code and have performances up there.
The City of Waukegan has started demolishing the building after an insurance adjuster claimed it was structurally unsound. Apparently they plan on keeping some artifacts. I’m sure part of the big hurry was because the Genessee across the street opens in a month.
I think this opened around 1939. It was owned by Kerasotes in the 70s and 80s. It was twinned in the early 1980s, and became a brew & view after Kerasotes closed it.
It was a long, narrow auditorium. I recall it having an unusual shaped cove lighting along each side wall, with a somewhat abstract/deco mural. When the curtain opened, it curved around the corners of the auditorium and partly slid into the wall…very interesting. In later years the curtain was alway open, and I think they painted over the murals. I recall seeing a movie in the late 70s and the balcony was open…the late deco furniture and carpet was still in the balcony lobby. A bit threadbare. When I went back after it was twinned (a wall was raised right about the front edge of the balcony, so the main auditorium was mostly intact), the furniture was gone.
The current website is www.thecatlow.com
Workers removing the old marquee in anticipation of the opening of the Genesee Theatre across the street accidentally started a fire yesterday that burned the Academy Theatre. The roof collapsed, but the walls are still standing.