Building 51 | Building 51 | c. 1920’s neoclassical style ornamental cast iron downtown chicago new palace theater staircase baluster panel – rapp & rapp, architects
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c. 1920’s neoclassical style ornamental cast iron downtown chicago new palace theater staircase baluster panel – rapp & rapp, architects



Chicago Theatres

About This Item

historically important c. 1920’s neoclassical style ornamental cast iron balustrade panel salvaged from the extant cadillac-palace theater located in downtown chicago. the intricately designed panel features an unusual centrally located cartouche with elaborate scrollwork and a fleur-de-lis motif. the playful festoon or swag surrounding the cartouche is accentuated with two opposed circular floral rosettes, ribbons and acanthus leafage. contains a brushed metal finish. possibly fabricated by the winslow brothers, chicago, il. the cadillac palace theatre originally opened in 1926 as the “new palace” theatre. it was built at a cost of $12 million as part of the eitel block project. in 1984 the theatre was renamed the bismarck theatre and turned into a rock venue. in 1999, it was renovated and renamed the cadillac palace theatre after cadillac purchased naming rights to the venue. it currently has maximum capacity of 2,344 people. the rapp brothers, george and cornelius, were responsible for the design of the cadillac palace theatre. the two men were also the architects behind the ford center for the performing arts oriental theatre and the chicago theatre, as well as several other theaters around the country. their inspiration for the look and feel of the palace theatre came from the fountainebleau and the palace of versailles, both found in france. the interior includes huge decorative mirrors, breche violet and white marble. the walls inside are adorned with gold leafing and wood decorations, as well as a series of complex arches and detailed brass ornamentation. during world war ii the united states government went around to most theaters and confiscated all the brass. brass was melted down and used for ammunition, shells, etc. at the time, the owners of the palace theatre painted all the brass in the theater white, so that when the government came in, they were tricked into thinking the theater contained no brass. the brass was left this way and generally forgotten about until the recent renovation of the theater, when the paint was scraped off and the brass ornamentation was rediscovered and restored to its original state. the theatre was opened as part of vaudeville’s orpheum circuit. as part of the orpheum circuit, the theatre housed such stars as jimmy durante, mae west, jack benny,sophie tucker, and bob hope. after the loss of interest in vaudeville, the theatre was converted into a movie palace in 1931. measures 29 x 22 1/2 inches.