Theater's Vaudeville History, Art-Deco Style Might Save It

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Byline: Matt Arado Daily Herald Staff Writer

The effort to save the Des Plaines Theater has won the backing of a state preservation agency, which has placed the building on a list of endangered historical sites.

The Landmarks Preservation Council of Illinois announced its "watch list of endangered Chicago-area landmarks" Thursday. The theater was one of 15 structures on the list, which also names the Jewel Tea Co. building in Barrington and several tollway oases, including one in Des Plaines.

Appearing on the list doesn't give a building any legal protection from demolition, but council officials hope the list will provide a boost to local preservation efforts.

"We look at this as a way to raise awareness about the importance of these structures," said Jennifer Gulotta Fisher, the council's advocacy coordinator. "It might even lead to new preservation efforts in other towns."

The Des Plaines Theater's art deco-style facade and its history as a vaudeville playhouse helped it make the list, Fisher said. Another factor was the grass-roots preservation effort under way in Des Plaines, she said. …