Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Sterling Theater

Sterling Theater-Sterling, IL, originally uploaded by William 74.

Before radio and movies gained prominence, live entertainment was a preferred leisure activity for many Americans, and most cities of size had at least one theater devoted to live entertainment. Situated on the Rock River, Sterling, Illinois was one such town. Originally opened in 1924 as a vaudeville venue, the Sterling Theater seated 1200 and was fairly successful until a fire damaged it in the early 40's.

Reopened in 1944, the new Sterling was designed in an Art Moderne style, and featured a large neon marquee and a unique lighted tower. It remained open as a movie house until 2008, and remained relatively unchanged for all that time. One unique detail that survives from the Sterling's '44 reboot is this cool terrazzo entryway. The floor actually continues into the lobby, which is still very Moderne in it's style. I have no idea what this font is called, but I like it.

Once again, it pays to look down once in a while!

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