Chicago Theater, 175 North State Street, Chicago, Cook County, IL
Significance: Constructed in 1921 and designed by picture palace architects C.W. & Geo. L. Rapp, the Chicago Theater is one of the few remaining theaters in operation in the central area of downtown Chicago known as "the Loop." The building is located on State Street, the main shopping street in the Loop. The street facade features a brightly colored marquee and vertical sign. The vertical sign, with illuminated channel letters spelling "CHICAGO," is a landmark on State Street and a symbol of the City of Chicago. It is one of the few remaining original exposed lamp electric signs still in use in the United States. The sign was constructed mainly of materials common for the period. Early in the sign's existence, the letters "CHICAGO" were replaced with porcelain enamel-coated sheet metal, an early use of this material. The sign's lighting originally featured a four trough border of chaser lights that cascaded in a swirl pattern. Changes in its 75 year history have included abandoning the chaser lighting during World War II and changing the color scheme after the war. The top of the sign featured illuminated or painted letters with the names of the theaters owners which read in succession Balaban & Katz, ABC-Great States, and Plitt, with the present day configuration heralding the building as "THE" Chicago Theatre.
Unprocessed Field note material exists for this structure: N277
Survey number: HABS IL-1195