Nortown Theater

6320 N. Western Avenue,
Chicago, IL 60659

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Showing 1 - 25 of 233 comments

DavidZornig on November 29, 2017 at 7:27 pm

1931 photo added credit Theatre Historical Society of America.

whtesoxfan56 on September 29, 2017 at 9:54 pm

To SarahFreeh212, I only saw one movie here ever. I think it was in the late 80s/early 90s, when I recall seeing a kiddie movie of some sort that was playing here. Wish I could’ve visited this theater more than once, since it was an amazing theater. It’s a major shame it wasn’t saved from the wrecking ball. :(

DavidZornig on September 24, 2017 at 9:03 pm

Mid `80s night photo added courtesy of Michael Murphyā€ˇ.

DavidZornig on August 15, 2017 at 7:12 am

1934 photo added courtesy of the Rogers Park/West Ridge Historical Society Facebook page.

DavidZornig on August 15, 2017 at 7:09 am

Auditorium photo in below link.

RickB on January 28, 2016 at 3:20 pm

Ultimately, the occupant of the Nortown site will be…a Wendy’s.

SarahFreeh212 on October 30, 2014 at 8:19 am

I wish I could have seen this place when it was still operational.. I was privileged to be able to go in 2007 to assist in some of the salvaging. We found so many remarkable things in there. It was pretty cool to find the old candy wrappers, ticket stubs, matchbooks underneath the seats as they were coming out. It was beautiful inside even half torn down.

Batwoman on June 23, 2014 at 10:05 pm

Jayne, would you mind scanning and uploading the pictures? I would love to see them.

Shelly77 on June 23, 2014 at 6:58 pm

Going there as a youngster in the early 1950’s I remember the ceiling with twinkling stars, my first screening of Wizard of Oz, “Charge at Feather River” in 3D, George selling KarmelKorn in the store next door.

Jayne1955 on March 9, 2014 at 5:22 pm

Worked there eight years. Just got a large collection of photos from one of the former managers. Miss that place madly. It was very cool and when I worked there in the 70[s and early 80’s it was in pretty good shape.

Batwoman on July 27, 2012 at 12:39 pm

Yes, very sad to see it go. :(

At least there’s hope for other aging theater palaces. The Genesee theater was fully restored several years ago and is absolutely beautiful! I saw a concert there last year and because I had volunteered to run the merch tables (got me in for free), I was in the lobby during the opening act. I was talking to the workers and a guy that works there knew of Nortown. I forget if he said he worked there too, but he was telling me how they fought to save the Genesee from the wrecking ball and literally managed it as the wrecking ball was outside, waiting to take a swing the next morning.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on July 27, 2012 at 11:36 am

There is still no new development on this property. Can anyone say: Pop goes the bubble?

In all fairness I’m not sure what future an aging, run down movie palace had in a middle class ethnic neighborhood. The end was probably just sped up by the real estate frenzy.

Whatever the eventual outcome it was sad to see it go.

edoggy99 on July 14, 2011 at 5:36 am

Cool Site.Worked at Nortown from 1978-1982 thru High School. Lied about my age at 15 and worked as an usher. The first movie for me was The Black Hole.Had a mickey mouse trailer to begin flick. I can tell you there are catacombs underneath which I explored. I think it was part of old ac process. We would go under and freak out patrons by moaning loud. Met alot of fun people there. When I was 13 I walked 3 miles to see Star Wars in 77. Anyhow see you all later Ian

Batwoman on January 19, 2011 at 10:01 pm

Life, yeah I was there in ‘09, stopped by to see the old place on my way back from checking out Le Cordon Bleu and I was surprised at how small the lot was. I remember the building being HUGE and then the stores next to it went up to Woolworth, or at least it seemed like it. It’s funny that I don’t even remember that alley access, growing up.

I took a few pictures with my cell phone of the lot and the ads that were painted on the buildings, hidden away for close to a century. The pictures are on facebook right now but can upload them to flickr if anyone’s interested.

DavidZornig on November 21, 2010 at 11:14 am

Yeah, all of the above.
Plus I’m sure the cost of heating & cooling such a large structure year round took it’s financial toll.
The basic overhead of such utilities was less of an issue back in the day when these old palaces had full houses.
I mentioned this of some of the downtown theater pages as well.

Nortown on November 20, 2010 at 8:09 pm

Too little public parking (only a small lot across the street), and changing neighborhood demographics.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on September 16, 2010 at 4:19 am

Lot is vacant. No coming soon signs for the development project. The theatre seemed so big, but the vacant lot seems so small. It’s amazing how much they fit onto a limited piece of property.

mp775 on December 18, 2009 at 6:48 am

Google Street View shows the Nortown half-demolished. You can see into the balcony from Western Avenue.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on August 25, 2009 at 1:29 pm

I don’t think anything has been built on the site yet. I saw it from Peterson Ave. not long ago.

DavidZornig on April 25, 2009 at 1:39 pm

Cool. I actually saw “Tron” at the Nortown.
And “Flashdance” co-starred Chicago's
own Kyle Heffner. Whom I worked with in Evanston just 2 years earlier. He was part of the Practical Theatre Company on Howard Street too.

Sally’s Stage was across the street from the Nortown. We covered this on one of the other CT pages. The organ they had in the restaurant/bar may or may not have come from the Nortown. I think someone said it was smaller.

DavidZornig on April 14, 2009 at 1:17 pm

Reactivate Notification Status.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on February 25, 2009 at 4:24 pm

Have they built anything on the site yet?

DavidZornig on February 25, 2009 at 3:36 pm

FYI. There was a two page pictorial of Chicago Movie Palaces in the Sunday Feb. 22nd Chicago Tribune Magazine titled Portfolio/You must remember this.

It was surprising brief with only 3 b&w pictures. No article, just captions describing each photo.

A 1936 exterior of the Parkway Theatre on South Michigan Ave. A 1931 interior shot of the Nortown, and a 1921 shot of just the lobby doors of the Chicago Theatre.

All three photos were courtesy of the Theatre Historical Society of America in Elmhurst.

Broan on December 30, 2008 at 10:47 pm

The replacement project has gone live.