Lincoln-Belmont Theatre

3162 N. Lincoln Avenue,
Chicago, IL 60657

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Broan on December 28, 2012 at 10:16 pm

DavidZornig on September 6, 2008 at 8:15 pm

I drove by the Lincoln-Belmont Theatre building today. On the Ashland Ave. side there is scaffolding spanning most of the elevation. Must be maintainence or brick work or something. The balconies are unique on the Ashland Ave. elevation, as they are actually recessed into the building. In between columns so they do not hang over the sidewalk. They hang over their own property. Essentially protected from downward elements. This also could have once saved money for developers. As the city’s “air rights” over the sidewalk may have been averted.

The Lincoln Ave. elevation has long had a “Lincoln Theatre Lofts” for sale or rent sign attached to it. There was also a Walgreen’s tucked inside on the Lincoln Ave. side, in late 1989.

For the record, and unrelated to Lincoln Theatre, the City of Chicago has had a “Critical Inspection” mandate since about the year 2000. When terra cotta started falling off of a major building downtown, and they apparently had to chase down the owners.

Essentially this then meant any building over aprox. 80 feet, must undergo a costly, independent critical inspection of/on it’s facade. The cost of this inspection & the firms that do it, are on the backs of any given condo associations for the residential ones. Potentially financially crippling to some smaller buildings with fewer units, but yet tall enough to qualify.
Part of this inspection apparently includes randomly drilling into brickwork. One would think the inspection itself would undermine structural integrity. But then again how else is it gonna get done.
I’m sure the city is just being thorough.

I always wondered why the Lincoln-Belmont Theatre was called that, and not the Lincoln-Ashland Theatre.
Cause technically only the North triangular point of the building, faces Belmont. Where as the building is actually ON the other two streets.
With even a small traffic island in between the Northbound point & Belmont, the building is clearly not on Belmont. But Belmont Ave. has the elevated CTA train station, so that could be why.

Bing00 on May 23, 2007 at 7:21 pm

You can see the gargoyles that held up the marquee on the Lincoln Ave side.

Broan on December 3, 2006 at 6:12 pm

Here are photos of this theater.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on November 27, 2006 at 5:19 pm

Yes, much remained of the Belmont lobby and auditorium. I am guessing the non-public areas as well. It had been chopped up for various uses over the years of course. The Belmont facade looks good, but it is a shame they couldn’t have reused some of the interior.

Broan on November 27, 2006 at 4:23 pm

The article I read noted that “only the outer walls and supporting columns were left standing” but also that “a second ceiling topping the store’s main and mezzanine floors was suspended by steel hangers from the theater’s old ceiling, leaving a 40 foot empty space between the two ceilings”. So probably yes, the original ceiling likely remained and I imagine that the mezzanine level of the store was the old upper lobby. I know that large amounts of the old Belmont theater were discovered intact behind the bowling renovation when that was demolished in the 90s, too.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on November 27, 2006 at 4:13 pm

Was it totally gutted in 1952? I thought I heard some guys talking about this building in the 90’s as if some of the theatre existed above the whatever store was there at that point, like the Varsity in Evanston.

Broan on November 27, 2006 at 12:18 pm

It actually closed around 1950. In 1952 it was gutted and converted to a May Sons Women’s Apparel store.

Broan on February 27, 2005 at 10:53 am

Correct address is 3162 N Lincoln.
Jazz Age Chicago also shows this as having once been named the Lincoln Hippodrome; however this entry shows what was apparently the post-widening seating of 1530, their entry under Lincoln-Belmont shows the Belmont’s address and their early theatres entry shows it as “Lincoln/Lincoln-Belmont”, so make what you will of that.