Harper Theater

5238 S. Harper Avenue,
Chicago, IL 60615

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Showing 26 - 45 of 45 comments

Paul Fortini
Paul Fortini on January 24, 2007 at 9:04 am

Cinemark Fan,

I was never inside, but I know that it retained its MERIDIAN THEATRES logo on the marquee for quite awhile after it closed and it was the last Meridian to do so.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on December 2, 2006 at 11:28 am

They have been talking about this for a long time. It would not surprise me if nothing came to pass.

CinemarkFan on December 2, 2006 at 9:02 am

Oh well, I kinda knew that would be the outcome. Let me check out that city owned parking lot on 53rd & Lake Park, they said that could be ripe for a theater someday.

Anyway, what can anyone tell me about this soon-to be torn down theater? What was the lobby, layout, colors, screens and stuff like?

Broan on November 17, 2006 at 12:28 pm

Here is a recent view of the Harper. The decision was announced: the Music Box proposal lost out. The theater will be demolished in about 6 months; the retail section of the building along 53rd will remain. The facade of that will be extended along the former site of the theater, with two towers imitating the style of the theater. There will be more offices and retail. See here

Broan on October 30, 2006 at 11:07 pm

Here is more on the more recent developments.

Broan on October 30, 2006 at 10:40 pm

The 1938 art deco remodel, costing $30,000, was carried out by architect Mark D. Kalischer, who also did remodels at the Adelphi and Portage, as well as the Drake Bowl.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on September 26, 2006 at 6:56 pm

I don’t know about that. It could be true. But I have also heard that this building needs a lot of work.

CinemarkFan on August 23, 2006 at 10:05 am

I just read last night that the owner of the Music Box Theater is in serious talks to re-open the Hyde Park. He said that he’s ready to go if the people let him or something like that. I’ll try and find the link.

Broan on July 20, 2006 at 9:04 am

The fourth screen was created in 1988.

Broan on July 2, 2006 at 9:24 pm

The Hyde Park/Harper has a pretty complex past. The theater opened in 1914 as a live venue. It was built within 200 feet of a Presbyterian church, who held it was unlawful and had its license withheld. It was called one of the most elaborate playhouses in outlying districts. It opened, but closed again on these grounds in 1916. It was then revealed that a $500 payoff by trhe Beach theater had brought about the closure, and it reopened. It later switched to movies and closed in 1931. It reopened in 1935, when it recieved the art deco treatment outside. It closed again in 1957, reopening in 1964 as a live venue. This featured many repertory acts, and among the many companies to perform there were the Joffrey Ballet and many other dance groups and the Second City’s legitimate stage division. It became the Hyde Park Theater II in 1971 (with the original Hyde Park as Hyde Park I) under Kohlberg theaters, a successor to Shoenstadt. It became just Hyde Park Theater in 1974 following another renovation. The theater reopened under M&R in 1985, following a 6-month, $1 million renovation. It featured two 375 seat theaters on the floor and 1 700 seater in the balcony. It was the first new theater to open on the south side in 40 years, the only first-run, and patrons previously had to go to Evergreen Park or River Oaks to see movies, or the increasingly declining downtown theaters. It did become a Loews theater before passing to Sony/Loews, Meridian, and I.C.E.

Broan on July 2, 2006 at 6:27 pm

Well, idf you look at the link from last june, it seems like they intend to at least keep some of the facade ultimately.

CinemarkFan on July 2, 2006 at 5:57 pm

Oh boy, I better get down to this place and snap photos before they tear it down.

Broan on July 1, 2006 at 9:07 am

The Meridian sign has since been removed from the building.

Broan on June 17, 2006 at 1:20 pm

Horatio R. Wilson was also an architect of this building.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on May 25, 2006 at 7:21 pm

From what I have read, everything is still up in the air with this theatre.

Broan on March 15, 2005 at 1:02 am

Inner City Entertainment ran the Hyde Park after Meridian, which ICE held a stake in.

Lawrence on January 28, 2004 at 11:59 pm

I heard this theater was triplexed and running first run films.
A friend of mine said the audience was very scary and that he
stopped frequenting the place a few years ago. Maybe someone else
can elaborate?

MariamP on January 30, 2002 at 3:17 pm

To the greatest of my knowledge, this theatre is still up and running. I haven’t been inside so I can’t judge what it looks like.