Nortown Theatre

1107 S. Halsted Street,
Chicago Heights, IL 60411

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Additional Info

Styles: Quonset Hut

Previous Names: Ochoa's Rainbow Hall, El Tunel Ballroom

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Nortown interior

Opened in 1948 at S. Halsted Street and E. 11th Street, the Nortown Theatre was a Quonset-hut style movie house. The Nortown Theatre remained in operation until 1985. In 1992 it became Ochoa’s Rainbow Hall, then became home to a Tejano dance club. It later operated as a banquet Hall and concert venue known as El Tunel Ballroom. It had closed by 2022.

Contributed by Bryan

Recent comments (view all 12 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 27, 2009 at 4:05 am

The Nortown was one of three theaters pictured in an ad for Poblocki & Sons in Boxoffice, December 3, 1949. Poblocki & Sons built theater marquees and signage, but also designed and erected pre-built theaters, using quonset hut construction. As the Nortown was in a quonset-style building, it might have been one of Poblocki’s pre-built theaters, but this ad, which was for their marquees, doesn’t say it was.

Poblocki & Sons is still doing business, under the name Poblocki Sign Company, and is still designing and building signage for new theaters and restoring signage on old theaters. Their web site is worth looking at. Click on their “Entertainment” link to reach a page with links to pictures of some of their theater signage, old and new.

Beadee
Beadee on July 8, 2010 at 12:50 pm

Ken, thank you for that link! I saw Breathless there!!! The last film I remember seeing was Nighmare on Elmstreet 3 or 4 and it was a rough crowd.

They used to sell orange soda that was really just orange HiC or Kool-Aid. Adorable little candy counter. Perfect neighborhood theater. Not a palace like the Lincoln-Dixie, but really a small town feel.

Such a loss, but the current owners seem to be doing a great job w/ mexican concerts and private events. Cheers to them for keeping the building open.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on July 8, 2010 at 5:28 pm

What else was playing besides “BREATHLESS”.

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on July 8, 2010 at 5:38 pm

Looks like “The Meaning of Life” on the marquee.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on July 8, 2010 at 9:34 pm

Yes,you are right I didn’t look at the other picture.stupid me.

Gilvo
Gilvo on September 15, 2010 at 12:29 am

I posted pictures of the Nortown in the Facebook group “I grew up in Da Heights”. My father-in-law (Walter Tokarcz) and his brother were partners in it’s construction.

JudithK
JudithK on October 24, 2010 at 11:41 pm

I really enjoyed seeing films at the Nortown in Chicago Heights. Unlike the Lincoln-Dixie Theatre the Nortown had a parking lot (gravel I believe) and for what was (I presume) an independent movie theatre got some great bookings. I saw movies at the Nortown right until they decided to close up shop.

DaveP
DaveP on September 9, 2013 at 2:07 pm

It wouuld seem that this theatre opened in 1948 and not 1950 as stated in the overview. Look at the movies dating to 1948 shown in the marquee picture in the photo section.

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on February 27, 2019 at 4:15 pm

Additional photos added, including Grand Opening confirming 1948. Courtesy of Gilbert Geras.

Trolleyguy
Trolleyguy on August 15, 2023 at 9:28 am

Status should be closed. Google Streetview of June 2023 shows the place boarded up and signage in disrepair.

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