Uptown Landmarks

Uptown Theater

On August 18, 1925, more than 12,000 gathered at Lawrence and Broadway to witness the opening of the grand Uptown Theater. Mayor William Dever proclaimed it “Uptown Chicago Week” in honor of the occasion. Festooned in Spanish Baroque Revival ornament, its marquee boasted of “an acre of seats in a magic city.” The “magic city” included a vast mezzanine, three lobbies, fountains, paintings, statuary, grand staircases, immense chandeliers, and walls dripping with ornament.

Still the largest theater in Chicago, it has been closed since 1981.

Mutual Insurance/ICA GreenRise

One of the largest office buildings outside of the Loop when it was completed in the 1920s, the eight-story structure at 4750 N. Sheridan served as headquarters for several affiliated insurance firms into the 1960s. The Classical Revival-style exterior is characterized by ornate terra cotta detailing of sculptured heads and animal figures.

Today, the building is home to the largest one-stop social service center in the Midwest, with 25 agencies under its roof. Its also home to a 150 kilowatt, 488-panel rooftop solar array.

Essanay Studios

The terra-cotta doorway with the twin Indian head details is all that’s left of one of the earliest and largest movie companies in the country, which opened its studios at 1333 W. Argyle Street in 1909. Specializing in silent films, Charlie Chaplin, Gloria Swanson, Wallace Beery, and others starred in films produced by Essanay before it closed in 1917. The studio produced well over 1,400 Essanay titles during its 10-year history, including some of the world’s very first cartoons.

Today Essanay is home the the bilingual St. Augustine’s College.

Sheridan Trust/Bridgeview Bank

Completed in 1924, a four-story addition made it soar even higher in 1928. The white glazed terra cotta of the facade contrasts with the olive green terra cotta around the doors and windows. The grand banking hall features an elaborate plaster ceiling painted in Wedgwood colors was restored in 1977. The basement vault contains more than 10,000 safe deposit boxes.