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Chicago Vaudeville Theater Marquee Lights up Again
with Restored, Historic Face and ‘Green’ LED Bulbs

The Morse Theater today and when first opened in 1912 (inset)
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The Morse Theater, originally a 1912 vaudeville and silent screen (nickelodeon) in the heart of Chicago’s Rogers Park on Lake Michigan, reopened in Fall 2008 as a state-of-the-art, 299-seat live-performance venue and theatre, as well as vintage/independent cinema.

While the building’s storefronts had been occupied by various commercial concerns almost continuously, the theater space had remained little changed and predominantly unused from the 1970s to the present. Time, neglect and economic change had taken their toll, but some original interior architectural details and much of the 1912 terra-cotta façade had survived.

In its latest incarnation, the existing structure was “saved,” and the entire renovation, including planted roof, follows green environmental building standards. The Morse’s LED and fluorescent lighting will consume less energy, last longer, and create less physical waste than standard lighting. Almost half of the stage lighting and the entire marquee, typically all incandescent and neon, have been designed using LED light.

“In my original conversations when we started this project, I gathered from the designers that the intent was to design a sign that would be reflective of the ’30s and ’40s era look but to make it conform to being as green as possible to accommodate today’s energy-consciousness,” said Gary L. Peterson, National Sales Manager of LEDtronics®, Inc.

“They indicated that the original sign used lamps that would probably be equivalent to today’s 11-watt S14 lamp or a 15-watt A19. The typical replacement rate on standard incandescent S14 and A19 lamps is about every 750 hours, according to most sign people with whom I have talked.”

On October 9, 2008, the theater reopened with its first show, the underside of its marquee dotted by 150 units of the LEDtronics DEC-S14LF-XIW-120A LED bulb. The LEDtronics LED bulbs draw only 1.3 watts of power each and last up to 50,000 hours.

The marquee was redesigned entirely from a black-and-white photograph from the 1940s. Its LED lighting system will require approximately 1500 watts to operate, which is equivalent to the use of an electric toaster oven. It will use only 15% of the electricity a typical marquee of equal size requires to operate.

Under the guidance of Thom Greene of Greene & Proppe Design, The Morse Theatre re-development is certified as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) project by Mayor Daley’s Green Initiative Program. (LEED promotes sustainability by recognizing performance in five key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality). It is also expected to qualify for United States Green Building Council (USGBC) Silver Level Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.

Products used:
150 units of LEDtronics DEC-S14LF-XIW-120A LED bulb

LEDtronics Sales Rep Firm involved with this application:
Barry M. Fues / Mid-America Representatives, Inc.
One North Williams
Crystal Lake, IL 60014
Office: 815 / 455-5310 x11
Cell: 708 / 560-4328
Fax: 815 / 455-5351

Design Firm:
Thom Greene, Architect
Greene & Proppe Design Inc
1209 W. Berwyn Ave, Chicago, Ill 60640

The Morse Theater
1328 W. Morse Ave.
Chicago, IL 60626
(773) 654-5100

The Product Used: DEC-S14LF-XIW-120A

-Product Info

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