In honor of Preservation Month, Citizens for Glen Ellyn Preservation is hosting a series of posts highlighting some of the places in Glen Ellyn worthy of special recognition. Our series is called "THIS PLACE MATTERS". Here is the second post in our series.
The Glen (now officially known as The Glen Art Theater) is Glen Ellyn’s second downtown movie theater. The first was a one-story theatre on the East side of Main Street at 481 (Re-New) and 483 (Fresh Nails & Spa), which presented silent films in the early 1900s.
The Glen was constructed at 540 Crescent Boulevard over the summer of 1926, on the former site of the Nadelhoffer Livery Stable, owned by John & Christian. The building’s architect, William B. Betts, of Betts & Holcomb, from Chicago, designed the “Old English” style building for its Glen Ellyn owners: Charles W. Hadley; Alfred C. Hoy; And Roy V. Spading. Betts & Holcomb also designed movie theaters in neighboring suburbs, including: The Des Plaines Theater (1925) in Des Plaines; The Catlow Theater (1927) in Barrington; and The Deerpath Theater (1928) in Lake Forest. Of those theaters, The Glen and The Catlow are the only theaters still operating today.
The Glen Theater opened its doors to the public on January 30th, 1927, with its first film screening and dedication. The film was “The Nervous Wreck”, with silent screen era stars Harrison Ford and Phyllis Haver in the leads. A square marquee and vertical sign adorned the front facade of the building. When The original auditorium was designed to replicate a baronial hall of feudal days. It held 1,002 seats, with room to add 450 more. It featured a full-size pipe organ in the orchestra pit below the stage.
As movie-goers arrived in the theater, they were treated to a 30-minute concert by the organist. Attendees paid 50 cents for a chance to win prizes in giveaways and raffles. To encourage attendance on Thursday nights, dishes were given out, and many wives returned each week to fill out their dish collections. Before the main event began, which often included a double-feature, the public was treated to travelogues, coming attractions, newsreels, and cartoons.
At one time there was a working bowling alley in the basement of the building. You entered the doors to the right of the entrance to the theater. After descending the stairs you were greeted by four lanes with manual pinsetters. The maple wood lanes and equipment are still there to this day, though they are not in operational condition.
Hollywood has come calling on The Glen’s doorstep over the years: the most notable result being the movie “Lucas”, released in 1986. The film stars Corey Haim, Kerri Green, Charlie Sheen, and Winona Ryder in her screen debut. It also marked the screen debut of Tom Hodges, who grew up in Glen Ellyn and attended Glenbard West. "Lucas" was filmed inside as well as outside of The Glen (as well as at other Glen Ellyn locations), which also hosted the movie’s premier.
The Glen Art Theatre Matters.
Research credit: Zak Wilson
Photo Credits: Zak Wilson, Kim Lloyd-Eichenauer, Barb Lemme
Historic exterior photo courtesy of Russ Ward
Did You Know....
Lawsuit Status Update - May 16, 2020
Status update: counts remain, plaintiff has standing, and the lawsuit continues against Apex and the Village. The next court date is June 8th.
"THIS PLACE MATTERS" - The Downtown Glen Ellyn Post Office - Preservation Month
In honor of Preservation Month, Citizens for Glen Ellyn Preservation is starting a new series of posts highlighting some of the places in Glen Ellyn worthy of special recognition. Our series is called "THIS PLACE MATTERS". Here is our first post.
The Downtown Glen Ellyn Post Office was constructed by the Treasury Department in 1934 as part of the W.P.A. program. Its Architect, Louis A. Simon (1867-1958), started working for the Office of Supervising Architect Of the U.S. Treasury in Washington D.C. in 1896, as the Chief Architect. In 1915 he was appointed head of the Engineering and Drafting Division, after quickly rising through the ranks. He held that position until 1933. In 1934, the same year the Downtown Post office in Glen Ellyn was built, he was appointed Supervising Architect of The U.S. Treasury. Simon designed and oversaw hundreds of projects during his tenure. Notable buildings include the IRS Building in Washington D.C., and many Courthouses and Post Offices around the United States. He held this position until his retirement in 1941. Simon was unwavering in his defense of what he considered a "conservative-progressive" approach to design in which he saw "art, beauty, symmetry, harmony and rhythm”.
The Glen Ellyn Downtown Post office Lobby features a mural titled “Settlers,” done under the “Treasury Section of The Fine Arts” New Deal Art Program. During that time when a Federal building was constructed, 1% of the building's cost was set aside for artwork. The Post Office held juried competitions to select only the best artwork. The mural was painted on canvas by artist Dan Rhodes from Iowa (1911-1989) in 1937. Another of his murals hangs in the cafeteria of the main U.S. Navy building in Washington D.C. The Village of Glen Ellyn has designated this mural, depicting seven pioneers building a log cabin, a Historic Landmark. Many works were commissioned during the depression; only a quarter of those remain, this being one of them.
The Downtown Glen Ellyn Post Office Matters.
Photo and research credit: Zak Wilson
In Other News:
SAVE MAIN LEGAL FUNDRAISER
POSTPONED - NEW DATE - TBA
Did you know...
that although we are postponing this event for now, we are continuing to plan, and will announce a new date as soon as possible. In the meantime, the homeowner of this Architectural Gem of Glen Ellyn is working hard to prepare his home and grounds to welcome you. He has quite a wonderful collection of early toys. Here's one of them.
SAVE THE DATE - SAVE THE DATE - SAVE THE DATE
Save Main Legal Fundraiser
Sunday, April 26, 3 to 6 PM-
-Postponed--New date TBA
Join us for a rare opportunity to tour one of the historic Architectural Gems of Glen Ellyn while you sip wine and help Save Main pay our legal expenses.
Please Help Fund The Fight:
Save Main Lawsuit Update:
Tuesday, January 14th, 2020
We know everyone is interested to know the status of our lawsuit in regard to the Apex 400 development. We want to stress that we continue to move our case forward. As in all court cases, we operate within the court’s timetable. We remain prepared to meet any challenges.
Notably, Santa Fe has joined in our efforts to prevent Apex 400. Judge Bonnie Wheaton has scheduled a status hearing on February 5th, at which she will decide if Santa Fe will be allowed to join in the suit as an additional plaintiff.
The results of the site investigation including ground penetrating radar, soil borings, and installation of ground monitoring wells done recently by the Village in the Main Street parking lot have not as yet been revealed. We have submitted a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request to see the results.
We pledge to keep you informed as developments occur. Keep in mind that legal expenses continue to accrue. If you would like to help us fund this ongoing fight, any amount of support will be greatly appreciated. Please go to: https://www.gofundme.com/f/savemain
In The News:
The Patch headline is inaccurate.
The lawsuit is not over. There are at least two substantive counts remaining that will be heard in early November. We remain strongly committed to this effort.
Keep those Save Main Yard Signs up!
The Presentations from our "Save Main" Rally on Saturday April 6th, 2019
Newsletter And Flier:
Download Our "Save Main" Flyer
Download Our "Save Main" Newsletter
Did You Know / 3 - 31 - 2020
Did You Know?
Save Main newsletter—Volume 1, Issue 1 March 2019
Click on the link to download your digital copy
Did You Know... - 3 - 31 - 2020
Ways You Can Help The Fight:
"Action Steps" - That you can do to help stop the Apex 400 Development.
Help in the fight and donate to the cause.