Up in the Club

dsc_5917

Picture 1 of 4

In 1981 John Bowser (his brother Charles was the first black candidate for mayor of Philadelphia) turned the offices of the historic Uptown Theater into a four-floor nightclub.  He died weeks after the club opened, however, and it closed shortly thereafter.

Now the Uptown Development Corp. is turning the space back into offices–the first step toward restoring the rest of the theater, which started out as a movie palace, and later became famous as Philadelphia’s answer to the Apollo, hosting stars such as Marvin Gaye, James Brown and Diana Ross. Before they demo the rooms, though, here’s a taste of that early ’80s glam atmosphere.

Peter Woodall is the co-editor of Hidden City Daily. He is a graduate of the UC Berkeley School of Journalism, and a former newspaper reporter with the Biloxi Sun Herald and the Sacramento Bee. He worked as a producer for Radio Times with Marty Moss-Coane and wrote a column about neighborhood bars for PhiladelphiaWeekly.com.



2 Comments


  1. I really hope this project happens. I’ve been interested in that theater since I moved into the Temple dorms just down the street from in in 1985.

    • Gersil N. Kay, IESNA

      Here is a wonderful chance to have a venue where high school youths in a new Academy of Building Conservation can work in afternoons for pay, after morning academic sessions, under experienced supervisors on the hugh, untapped market for upgrading and installing anew modern mechanical/ electricsl systems expected by today’s occupants to be present in every building, no matter what the age.

      Of all the disciplines, Lighting is the easiest with which to conserve energy and reduce CO2 emissions. Good lighting enhances all design and increases productivity = PROFIT.

      Building Conservation International (BCI) is the technical, non-profit educational organization that received the first President of the United States’ Historic Preservation Award for innovative research and training in dealing with the millions of pre-1940 structures still in use in this country.

Leave a Reply

Comment moderation is enabled, no need to resubmit any comments posted.

Recent Posts
In Belmont, The Making Of A

In Belmont, The Making Of A “City Of Villas”

January 20, 2017  |  Vantage

Contributor Joshua Bevan takes us on an architectural tour of Belmont, where the origins and growth of the neighborhood can still be read in its distinctive homes > more

Shaping A New Urban Crossroads At 33rd And Chestnut

Shaping A New Urban Crossroads At 33rd And Chestnut

January 18, 2017  |  Vantage

Contributor Ann de Forest stands at the confluence of Penn and Drexel's campuses where a once listless intersection is being redefined with energy, connectivity, and strategic design > more

The Best Seats In The City, Ban Be Damned

The Best Seats In The City, Ban Be Damned

January 16, 2017  |  Buzz

Last week Friends of Rittenhouse Square and PPR announced a ban from sitting on the interior walls of the park. Two days later Mayor Jim Kenney reversed the rule. We take a look at life along the balustrades in these old photos > more

Capturing The Ghosts Of Demolition

Capturing The Ghosts Of Demolition

January 13, 2017  |  Last Light

The demolition composites of photographer Andrew Evans beguile the eye with ghostly images of a city passing through time. Evans presents his newest additions to the series and explains his process with this photo essay > more

Pencoyd Bridge Reopens In Manayunk, As Redevelopment Of Foundry Site Begins

Pencoyd Bridge Reopens In Manayunk, As Redevelopment Of Foundry Site Begins

January 11, 2017  |  Vantage

The deserted industrial site of Pencoyd Iron Works is next on a growing list of riverside redevelopment along the Schuylkill. Contributor Mick Ricereto takes us deep inside the history of the family-owned foundry and farmland that dates back to the city's founding > more

Urban Fantasy: The Carousel Maker Of Broad & Erie

Urban Fantasy: The Carousel Maker Of Broad & Erie

January 10, 2017  |  The Shadow Knows

Traditional carousel design may have roots in Europe, but "Philadelphia Style" took the amusement ride to a whole new level. The Shadow takes a stroll down Germantown Avenue where the G.A. Dentzel Carousel Company became the gold standard in animal kingdom merry-go-rounds > more