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For All Time: The Promise of Chicago's Uptown Theatre

  • Glessner House 1800 South Prairie Avenue Chicago United States (map)

Built at substantial cost between 1924 and 1925 and intended to serve patrons "For all time," Chicago's Uptown Theatre is a very early example of the nation's largest movie palaces. Designed by Chicago architects C.W. and Geo. L. Rapp for the Balaban & Katz chain of theatres, the Uptown was conceived for the artistic presentation of silent film. B&K's presentation included silent film accompanied by Wurlitzer organ and a full orchestra, and live stage shows planned in consideration of the feature films. There are many aspects that make the Uptown unique as a surviving movie palace today, including its enormous size, the quality of its initial construction and its largely unchanged design from 1925.

As the owner and developer begin their publicly and privately funded $75 million restoration, we look at the Uptown's initial construction and use, its decades of disuse and deferred maintenance, and the potential it has to become one of Chicago's most tremendous historic preservation comeback stories.

Our speaker Andy Pierce is a Chicago journalist and photographer. Andy helped found Friends of the Uptown in 1998 and has been integral to its web site and communications ever since. He has two historic photograph exhibits on permanent display: "Selections from the Hedrich Blessing Collection," a donation to Public Art on the 5th and 9th floors of City Hall, and "Chicago: Three Centuries of Theatres," on display at the Chicago Theatre.

$10 per person / $8 for members

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Earlier Event: April 20
The Architecture of Glessner House