This isn’t a Main Street in the usual sense, but I just want to clear out the stuff I set aside. As it turns out, Google went back to the street since I snapped these screenshots, and a lesson is learned.

Nothing stays the same. Things get better. Things get worse. Cities are dynamic organisms. Cliches are written.

Old man on a crutch:

It’s suffered the raft of abuses - the upstairs windows were blinded, the ground-floor window covered up, the glass over the doorway leading upstairs replaced long ago. But then there’s that glass on the left side that looks new, as if someone still cares.

That seems to be the message for a lot of this patch of town.

This one took a haircut:

No doubt there was once ornamentation on the top, and the ground floor was glass, and it looked like a nice street - but that was then, a long time ago.

Do you have any Schwarzes?

Well, we have A. Schwarz.

Current street view shows it covered in scaffolding for a renovation.


Now we come to the block that got my attention. This is 2009.

The camera caught two workers. Waiting for business . . .

. . . making the chili. You can see the apron around his waist.

FF a few years . . .

The Big Kahuna is gone, and Chili is no longer served. Then . . .

I mistook this for complete shuttering of the block, but I was wrong. The doors have been moved, the shop-window indents removed. Because . . .

t’s been rehabbed! But note how the small shops are gone, subsumed in a larger space. This is regrettable; the small shops add a different type of life to the street. The shop-window indents give you something to look at if you want to linger. This looks like it will be an office for a tech start-up. Great! But boring.

Now let’s go to the end of the block.

Ah. It’s apparent that the theater and the office block were one project, typical for the time.

The Ramova?


Cinema Treasures:

Like the smaller Music Box Theater, which seats about half as many as the 1,500-seat Ramova Theater, both were designed in Atmospheric style inside, their auditoriums built to resemble Spanish-courtyards. On the deep blue ceiling of the Ramova Theater, “stars” glittered before each movie, and through the archways along the side walls were scenes of the Spanish countryside. Like the Music Box’s lobby, the blue sky with stars motif also continued into the ceiling. Faux-marble and gilded plasterwork were also in abundance, even more so than at the Music Box Theater.

The architect was Meyer O. Nathan, and I presume he did the whole block. Did he do the ornamentation, or was that off-the-shelf from some terra-cotta company that could configure your Spanish motifs to any size the architect preferred?


Chicago Mag notes that the chairs are gone:

What remains is a grid of ankle-breaking holes punched through the concrete floor, originally created to allow the flow of hot air to warm guests. Shuttered for more than 20 years, the structure is currently owned by the city, which has thus far spared it from the wrecking ball.


After the show, pie and coffee at the Bridgeport, which is the neighborhood’s name.

When places like these go, the last links are snapped.