Friday, October 23, 2015

"Explore Chicago Collections" Archive Now Online, Uptown Theatre Construction Photos Included

An absolute treasure trove of photos has just been made available for Chicago history enthusiasts.
From the ECC website:
"Most libraries and museums provide detailed guides to their archives that researchers can consult on the web prior to visiting in person. Until now, researchers had to know (or guess) in advance which libraries were likely to have relevant materials.
Explore Chicago Collections brings those guides together into a single gateway to Chicago resources. By searching Explore Chicago Collections, you can easily tell which archives you'll need to consult to research your subject, and you may even discover resources in unexpected places.
Explore Chicago Collections also provides access to digitized images from those collections where possible. With over 100,000 digitized images available, you can explore fascinating imagery from Chicago-area archives covering the city's architecture, people, politics, history, culture and more."

Here are a few photos showing the construction of the Uptown Theatre. There are many more on the site. Most of these are extremely rare.

Looking west from Broadway at what would become the lobby of the Uptown Theatre. Magnolia is visible in background. (ECC)

The Uptown Theatre begins to rise. Looking NE from Lawrence (ECC)

The future site of the Uptown Theatre when it was still used as a Beer Garden in 1924 (ECC)

The Uptown Theatre shortly after completion (ECC)

Uptown Theatre under construction in 1924 (ECC)

Looking west from Broadway at what would become the main entrance of the Uptown Theatre (ECC)
The Uptown Theatre upon completion (ECC)
Looking south on Broadway towards the Uptown Theatre (ECC)
The Uptown Theatre on opening day (ECC)


  1. What a damn, stinking shame what Uptown declined into. Hopefully the neighborhood--and the theater--can now be resurrected.

  2. I can't wait until they starting the day come when the Uptown Theater finally reopen it's door. I have always admired old movie plalaces, I never been to the Uptown Theater. I am 58yrs old now, when I was a kid. Me my brothers and friends would, go downtown to see movies. Theater's down I went to was the Chicago Theater, the Oriental, The State and Lake Theater, the United Artist, the Woods Theater, the Mcvickers theater and The Roosevelt Theater. Before the movie would start, I would look all around just admiring the beauty and art of the theaters. Especially the Chicago theater on State Street, I never heard of the Uptown Theater. Until I moved up on the Northside oh, and I believe that it was still open at that time. But still never ever been in there oh, but seeing what the theater look like from the inside. My mind was blown away when I saw, what the theater look like from the inside. It took my breath away, how massive big and beautiful it is. As I started looking at so many pictures of what the theater look like, before it started deteriorating. I said to myself how could they let a beautiful magnificent Movie Palace like this go down. And I was always wondering, why it took this long. For them to finally decide that they are going to do restoration on the Uptown Theater, because I remember when they wanted to tear the Chicago theater now. And and the people of Chicago said no, you can't tear this dude it out. When you walk down State Street and you see that Marquis and that Chicago sign, best Chicago we have to save this theater. So they decided to have on all night movie festival, and the movies they showed there were all of Bruce Lee's movies non-stop 24 hours. Until they raise a lot of money, to restore it to his natural Glory. And the Chicago people, save the Chicago Theater from the wrecking ball. Then there was the Oriental Theater on Randolph Street, and the same thing that happened that theater. But the theater had closed, and nobody did anything to save it. So when the theater closed, they turned part of the lobby to Oriental Electronics. And it was electronic store for years and years, all of a sudden somebody bought the theater and wanted to restore it back to its natural Glory. And they did and the first opening that was showed, at the Oriental Theater Performing of the Performing Arts. It was a Broadway play called ragtime, and I took a picture oh the theater when they first showed that Broadway play. And when I was a teenager, I still have pictures that I took, the Chicago theater, the State Lake Theater, the Woods Theater, and the Mcvickers theater. And I was saying to myself oh, let me keep these photos because I have a feeling you're going to be here. Unfortunate the only two theaters that line State Street and Randolph I still standing. Is the Chicago theater, and the renamed Oriental Theater, I knew about the Bismarck theater further down and Wells, but I never ever been in that theater. But as I end my long comment, I would love 2 take a tour of the Uptown Theater whenever it opens. I don't care how much! it would cost tour that Palace.