Belpark Theater: a Chicago Movie Palace Revealed


Belpark Theatre

The Belpark Theatre, located on Cicero in the Belmont Cragin neighborhood, was designed by Roy B. Blass and Edward P. Steinberg. It opened in 1927 as part of the Lubliner & Trinz circuit. In 1930, the Belpark Theatre was taken over by Balaban & Katz, which operated it for the remainder of its career as a movie house. The venue closed as a movie theater in the mid-1950s.

Like many former movie palaces that exist in the present day, adaptive reuse has been critical to its survival.

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Barber Shop of the Week: The Hair Force

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The Hair Force, located at 4415 N Sheridan Road in Uptown, is a bustling barber shop that continues the legacy of the current owner’s uncle, a Chicago barber who began his career in 1948. The storefront beckons with cheerful hand-painted signage. The atmosphere inside is evocative of the great tradition of urban barber shops as anchors of community, and places where one’s personal barber can be trusted with any honest opinion or secret.

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A Glimpse of the Golden Age of Auto Showrooms: Richard’s Body Shop in Albany Park


Richard’s Body Shop in Albany Park

The 1920s were the heyday of magnificent auto showrooms, many of which drew from the same stylistic inspirations as the movie palaces being built in this decade.

The current home of Richard’s Body Shop began its life as an opulent auto showroom. When traveling on Lawrence Avenue in Chicago’s Albany Park neighborhood, it is likely that this building at 3041 W. Lawrence Ave will catch your eye.

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Barber Shop of the Week: First Class Barber Shop

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The shop I featured last week, “Corner Barber Shop” in Lakeview, conjured the nostalgic yet timeless atmosphere most often associated with old school neighborhood barbershops. It had thrived for decades upon a business model that was essentially unchanged as the shop passed from one owner to the next–it was a great place to get a shave and a haircut in a friendly, informal setting. It wanted to be one thing, and do that one thing well. This week, I found myself drawn to explore a new shop in Portage Park that has a very different vision.

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