10 April 2014

Lost City: Chicago Edition: The Logan Theatre

The Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago, down on its luck for some years but now in the midst of a resurgence, has been robust enough to hold on to its grand old movie house, appropriately named the Logan. It's a bold presence with a large vertical sign climbing up the facade and an old-fashioned marquee and box office, and a lovely stained glass arch outside. Inside, there's a rather spectacular, Art Nouveau, fully stocked bar. I'd go to the theatre just to drink there.

It was opened in 1915 as the Paramount Theater. It had only one screen then, as did many movie houses. In 1922, a family named Vaselopolis took over. It remained in family hands for many years. (Scion Chris Vaselopolis was born in the theatre.) The building enjoyed a thorough renovation in the 1990s. The theatre is now owned by the Mark Fishman, a real estate magnate who bought it in 2010. (Fishman, unfortunately, also owned may apartment buildings in the area and have a rep for jacking up rents. Is suspect Fishman's renovation of the Logan is less altruistic in nature and more about improving the general value of the neighborhood so he can charge higher rents. Still, better to have had the reno done through greed than not at all.)

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