At the time of its opening in 1929, the Uptown’s grand auditorium dazzled moviegoers.
Philadelphia's Uptown Theatre (covered in Preservation's Summer 2012 issue) once hosted shows by some of the biggest names in music, such as Stevie Wonder, James Brown, and The Jackson 5. Designed by prominent local architect Louis Magaziner, the 1927 Art Deco building originally served as a glamorous movie venue. During the 1950s and '60s, it evolved into a prestigious tour stop for African-American entertainers.
By the 1990’s, though, the Uptown had fallen on hard times. When community organizer Linda Richardson formed the Uptown Entertainment and Development Corporation (UEDC) in 1995, the abandoned theater in North Philadelphia suffered from a leaky roof, a vandalized interior, and a shabby exterior. The UEDC began raising funds for its restoration, and was eventually able to purchase the building in 2004.
The organization has completed a series of stabilization and preservation projects, such as the restoration of the terracotta tiles on the facade by local tile artist Karen Singer. (It still needs to raise the money to actually install the tiles.) And the UEDC will soon unveil a $1.3 million renovation of a six-story office tower that is part of the original building.... Read More →
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Meghan Drueding is the managing editor of Preservation magazine. She has a weakness for mid-century modern, walkable cities, and coffee table books about architecture and design.