Landmark Status Approved for Southwest Side Department Store, North Side Theatre Building

May 8, 2013


A former department store in Back of the Yards and a theater in Portage Park were approved as official City of Chicago landmarks today by the Chicago City Council and Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Each building was recommended for landmark status by the Commission on Chicago Landmarks last month.

Oppenheimer-Goldblatt Bros. Department Store Building
4700 S. Ashland Ave.
Designed by Alfred S. Alschuler and built by the J. Oppenheimer & Co. department store chain, the block-long department store building has anchored the 47th Street and Ashland Avenue commercial district since 1915. The building is clad in white-glazed terra-cotta with a band of large storefront windows at street level. The building was purchased in 1928 by the Goldblatt Brothers, which pioneered the retail sales of discount merchandise to working-class shoppers. After the Goldblatt’s store closed in 2003, the building was used for public storage. The upper floors are currently being redeveloped as 101 units of senior housing by Goldblatt Senior Living LLC. The designation will affect all exterior elevations of the building including rooflines.

Portage Park Theatre Building
4042-60 N. Milwaukee Ave., 4905-15 W. Cuyler Ave.
Completed in 1920, the mixed-use structure was designed by Linley R. Rowe in association with the architectural firm of Fridstein & Co. The three-story building consists of a theater with street-level storefronts and apartments on the second and third floors, typifying the mixed-use nature of 1920s-era movie theater buildings in local neighborhoods. The Portage is also an example of a “transitional” movie theater from the end of World War I, when movie palaces were becoming more elaborate. It is one of the last existing theaters associated with the Ascher Brothers, which operated one of the largest theatre chains in Chicago during the 1920s. The auditorium continues to operate as a movie theater. The designation will affect all exterior building elevations, the theater auditorium, and theater lobbies.

Landmarks designated by City Council are protected from significant alteration or demolition.

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