EDGEWATER — As the Chicago Filmmakers organization prepares a move to new digs at the former Ridge Avenue Firehouse, local historians recently opened the renovated building to give residents a sneak peek.
This fall, Chicago Filmmakers will make its grand debut at the redeveloped building at 5720 N. Ridge Ave., a historical landmark built in 1928 that was sold to the group for $36,000 in 2014.
The Edgewater Historical Society held tours throughout the building earlier this month to give curious neighbors a glimpse into the building recognizable to the many commuters who pass it daily.
Though built in the late 1920s, the building was actually designed to depict an even older firehouse, according to the historical society.
Outside, work has been done to restore the extensive cream terra cotta, which includes details relating to the building's firehouse days, as well as its deep red bricks, which once housed Truck Company No. 47 and later Engine Company 59.
Because of its landmark status, most of its brick and terra cotta exterior was required to be maintained. But inside, the firehouse has nearly completed its transformation into the organization's new headquarters.
Fresh coats of paint, original glazed brick, a sunlit conference room and classrooms, projection room, box office in the firehouse's former kitchen and a theater have taken the place of rescue equipment.
The building will accommodate screenings, events, classes and more.
Many firehouse artifacts that remained in the building were moved to the new station at Clark and Peterson.
An adjacent lot where a single-story home once stood will be redeveloped into a garden and green area.
Get a before and after look at the project below.
DNAinfo photos/Linze Rice, Benjamin Woodard
Here's how it looked in 2013 before it was renovated: