Building 51 | Building 51 | original c. 1931 american depression era interior nortown theater lobby koi fish cast plaster panel with metallic gold enameled finish – j.e.o. pridmore, architect
9194
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original c. 1931 american depression era interior nortown theater lobby koi fish cast plaster panel with metallic gold enameled finish – j.e.o. pridmore, architect

51-17960-13

Category

Chicago Theatres

About This Item

one of a kind original and largely intact american depression era cast plaster figural koi fish panel salvaged from the non-extant nortown theater second floor lobby. the deeply embossed wall-mount square-shaped panel is comprised largely of cast plaster reinforced with horse hair as a binding agent. the figural panel has been professionally mounted in a darkly stained oak wood shadow box. the atmospheric nortown theater was designed and built in 1931 by architect j.e.o. pridmore and the paschen brothers as general contractors. containing over 2000 seats, the auditorium was modeled after the mediterranean region of europe, with an italian courtyard overlooking the sea. the walls gave off an illusion of a seascape and garden scene containing the exteriors of villas with tile rooftops. the audience was seated in full view of the ocean, with lighthouse effect and ships passing in the offing. the nortown was considered the first theater given a pronounced marine treatment. the auditorium ceiling was designed to emulate an “april constellation,” with astronomy professor j.c. penn of the armour institute, commissioned to arrange the stars in their proper places to insure an authentic layout. located in chicago, the theater was torn down in 2007. urban remains salvaged the interior and exterior ornament for nearly half a year. the wall-mount figural panel was likely fabricated by the decorators supply co., chicago, il. a total of three were made and only one survived intact. mostly uniform gold enameled finish intact. the decorators supply company was founded in 1883, by simon strahn and richard c. foster, who, under co-partnership alliance, began operations in a building that stood at 49-51 east van buren street. in 1886 the business was incorporated under the laws of illinois and with a capital stock of two thousand dollars, simon strahn becoming president of the company and r. c. foster secretary. decorators supply company was organized primarily for the manufacturing of plastic ornaments for the interior and exterior decoration of buildings, and in the early period the business was obtained principally by the liberal use of sketches, designs and models, which were shown to the builder and which had virtually the effect of compelling the architect and contractor to recognize the value of the products incidental to high-grade decorative work in architectural lines. throughout the late 19th and early 20th century the decorators supply company manufactured on an extensive scale a wide variety of the most artistic decorative accessories for use in connection with architectural work,—interior and exterior ornaments of every description, in cement, composition, plaster and wood. the output of the modern factory includes architectural columns, capitals, brackets, cornices, friezes, mouldings, panels, wood grills, fine woodwork, plastic ceiling and wall decorations, composition ornaments for woodwork, garden furniture, cement fountains, electric fixtures, lamps, window backgrounds, theater ornaments, ticket booths, etc.