Building 51 | Building 51 | original c. 1926 downtown chicago oriental theater ornamental cast iron figural seat end – architectural firm of rapp & rapp
9265
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original c. 1926 downtown chicago oriental theater ornamental cast iron figural seat end – architectural firm of rapp & rapp

51-3758-09

Category

Chicago Theatres

About This Item

highly ornate with deep relief cast iron figural theater seat end removed from the c. 1926 oriental theater (renamed ford center for the performing arts oriental theatre) located in downtown chicago. the seat end was manufactured by the haywood-wakefield co., widely recognized for their various furniture and/or interior furnishings. the arm rest is intact and original. the detachable grill or light screen contains the original porcelain socket with cloth cord wiring, used for illuminating the aisles within the theater’s auditorium. the oriental theater first opened in 1926 on the site of the tragic 1903 iroquois theater fire, which was the deadliest single-building fire in u.s. history. the blaze took 571 lives within 20 minutes, and including those who died in the hospital, the death count climbed to a total of 602. the 3200 seat theater, designed by the notable architectural firm of rapp and rapp was balaban & katz’ first new chicago loop movie palace since the opening of the chicago theatre in 1921. the oriental theatre, which stands on randolph street between state and dearborn streets, continued to be a vital part of chicago’s theatre district into the 1960s, but patronage declined in the 1970s along with the fortunes of the chicago loop in general. late in the decade, the theatre was showing exploitation films. it was closed in 1981 and sat vacant for more than a decade. after being shuttered for nearly 15 years, the oriental theatre underwent a major restoration, retaining much of its indian-indochinese grandeur. The seat was removed during the restoration when the seating capacity was reduced to 2200. this item has recently sold. reference only.