Granada Theater

6427 N. Sheridan Road,
Chicago, IL 60626

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Showing 101 - 125 of 158 comments

jukingeo on June 27, 2006 at 1:32 am


Oh, I understand what you are saying and ecomonically you would be 100% correct. There is just not a market for huge theatres any more due to changing times and “progress”. I know what you mean, I am right now going through a feasibility study myself for a theatre I would like to buy, but I am hope that its size is an asset and not a hinderance. But in a town with no live theatres and only a few in the surrounding areas, I believe it will work out. The numbers unfortunately do dictate everything. True Chicago does have many of it’s classic theatres, one favorite restored theatres is the Chicago. I was not familiar with the stage problems of the Granada or Uptown, but both were used as concert venues before. The Uptown would have continued to do so, but fell on lack of maintenance and repairs. So I would think that something could still be feasibly done with the Uptown since it is in the city. But as you pointed out, in the very least if the building has to be used for another purpose, do retain as much as possible it’s past heritage. I do go through this alot…it is a personal war within that has the artistic and historic side of me fighting with the business side. But in the very least your ideas for the Granada would have at least saved part of the grand building. But too, to the purists, they may argue that issue as well. Unfortunately the Granada is gone and there is nothing anyone can do about it now. But perhaps there are some very creative people out there that could find good uses for most of the remaining classic theatres that are out there. One card that I am hoping to play is localization. With today’s high gas prices, local people may soon be returning to entertainment that is close by. Perhaps that will spawn on some restorations.

I am off,


MKuecker on June 26, 2006 at 9:40 pm

Life’s too short:
Yes, “Granada Plaza” or “Fordham Hall” as the students from Loyola University call it.
What was supposed to be residential property turned into exactly what Senior Lifestyles promised it wouldn’t.
A residence hall where yuppie college students who’s wealthy parents are paying for them to reside.

Hrm, my cage is rattling… :P No, seriously, the Century type thing was suggested, or at least using the façade as the entry way, or the lobby for the lobby to the building. BUT the head of Senior Lifestyles answered each question the same: “Can’t it’s too rotton!”
All of these ideas were put up for consideration, but the Senior Lifestyles people were too inconsiderate.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on June 26, 2006 at 6:01 pm

How about that. Yes they are. I have always wondered why the grand window was painted over. I guess the setting sun might have been an issue. But it doesn’t seem like that big of a deal.

I don’t know Geo. I love old theatres. What’s more I think there is a place for many of them in the modern world. I don’t know about the Granada. It had an oddball stage because of the curving elevated embankment just behind. More importantly that same embankment would have kept any developers from adding a modern stage. It’s a similar problem to that facing the Uptown, which backs directly up to Lawrence Avenue.

Should the taxpayers of a given municipality be saddled with a building that can’t sustain itself just because a few of us love it? As off the wall as some of the people are who argue against the Dupage Theatre renovation, I think the point they make is a valid one. It’s not enough to say, “it would be a good concert hall.” You need estimated cash flows that support such a notion.

The only possible arts center solution I could have envisioned here involved Loyola. But, obviously, they had every opportunity to investigate the idea and did not.

I could see getting really out of joint if this had been Chicago’s last vintage theatre. But, at least for the time being, Chicago is lucky enough to have several well-maintained vintage theatres.

I’m not trying to rattle anyone’s cage. I simply feel strongly that preservation efforts need to have a realistic component to them, or they are doomed to fail. I would have been happy if the grand lobby had been turned into a restaurant, with a multiplex or maybe a Century-type mall retaining the auditorium ceiling. That way the building would have lived on.

Instead we have “Granada Plaza.”

Broan on June 26, 2006 at 5:20 pm

I actually just realized that the pictures on all those HAARGIS profiles, if you copy their location and ipen them on their own, are quite large. Same if you save them to disk. Whoops.

jukingeo on June 18, 2006 at 2:38 pm


LIFES TOO SHORT—Agreed, they could have done something…but even more than just save the facade. The aweful thing was that this theatre lasted until the 90’s when movements were already in place to save theatres. So I guess that is why this one really bothers me alot that it was torn down so late. I think also there is a bit of a personal attachment to this building especially since I found out it was the inspriation for the the album cover of Styx’s Paradise Theatre…of which to this day is one of my favorite albums and was one of the reasons I became interested in the theatre industry. If you looked at the old pictures of the Granada’s original marquee, you can even further understand my grief at why this theatre was destroyed (see the pictures I submitted from both the Granada and Marbro above). It is sad and very important to protect what we have left. Chicago has still another gorgeous theatre left…the Uptown, I believe there is still hope for this gem.


Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on June 18, 2006 at 9:35 am

The sad thing about this place is that even at the end, when it had been open to the winds for a long time, it wasn’t in terrible shape. I was given a couple of different opportunities to visit the builidng during it’s last years. I can’t understand why they couldn’t have at least saved the front of the building and tacked it onto that condo tower. it was a work of art (and I don’t throw terms like that around lightly).

Broan on June 18, 2006 at 4:41 am

Here is a profile from the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency’s HAARGIS system. It includes small pictures.

MKuecker on May 26, 2006 at 9:09 pm

Hi Paul,
Yes is my webpage :) It seems there were a lot of political fingers, in a lot of political pies back in that day. So who got who paid off is hard to say. The Granada had her fate sealed. Those who were very active on the “Save The Granada” committee disappeared faster than yesterdays trash. – Mayor Harold Washington was going to sign paperwork to have it labled “Landmark,” The papers were still on his desk when he suffered his fatal heart attack. His successor’s first order of business was to put that document through the paper shredder. It was bigger than Greylord Scandal if you ask me.
That vintage photo was actually taken in 1978 – shortly before the restoration which would open it up to ROCKY HORROR, and CONCERTS, and DR. WHO CONVENTIONS. :)

Paul Fortini
Paul Fortini on May 26, 2006 at 4:12 am

Charles DuPont,

Are you the one that has the website ? That’s where I received the information in my above post.

When I was 17-18 years old, I worked for Andy Frain Ushering and Security. My co-workers and I were always happy when we had a contract for a show at the Granada. We actually preferred working the Granada instead of the Uptown. No offense to those who are fans of that theatre, but we always regarded the Uptown as a cr@phole! In contrast, we regarded the Granada as “Faded Glory” but it was much cleaner. And in retrospect, had M&M been able to retain its liquor license, the Granada might still be with us today. Wy couldn’t Loyola have integrated it into its campus? Many colleges and universities have successfully done this!

Per the above comments comparing the Granada and the Paradise, the Granada’s modernized marquee was certainly the nicer of the two.

Finally, the vintage photo above appears to be taken right about the time of demolition or at least closure. The place looks vacant and the marquee is blank.

MKuecker on May 25, 2006 at 9:25 pm

Thanks Paul :)
You’re a true Chicagoan that knows we got the best ward alderen money can buy. M&M was well in the black when I saw their books, and pending SBA Loan Application. The liquor license was all it needed. :(

Paul Fortini
Paul Fortini on May 25, 2006 at 3:02 am

In the late 1970s or early 1980s, a company called “M and M Amusements” took over this place. M and M attempted to clean the theatre up and began booking top-name entertainment at the time. Such bookings included a stage version of Rocky Horror and concerts such as Cheap Trick and Off Broadway USA (“…Stay in time boy/Don’t get out of line boy). M and M ran into trouble with the community because of the lack of parking. The community supposedly claimed that concert-goers were vandalizing the area, damaging automobiles, etc. As a result, M and M lost its liqour license and was unable to book concerts after that. It was a shame too, because it seemed that M and M really tried to make the Granada Theatre work.

Then again, there were all sorts of politics behind the liqour license suspension….

Amosduncan on May 5, 2006 at 11:57 am

This was a beautiful place. I saw a lot of things there, I think it was part of the Plitt chain, circa 73 to 76.
Jack Nicholson came for the world premire of “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” a guy had his autograph
at the little Greek place next door.
I sat in this huge, almost empty palace on some summer afternoons for “Harry and Tonto” “Chinatown” “The
Conversation” and more. Part of a era in movie going that passed too soon.

jukingeo on April 6, 2006 at 9:26 am

Hello All,

Been doing some research on the Granada lately and low and behold I have to make a correction to what I said above in terms of the Granada’s marquee. As it turns out the artist DID get inspriation from the Granada’s marquee as well, but at the point I wrote the post above I didn’t know the Granada’s marquee was changed and originally looked like this:


SAWEET! There it is. I love this marquee.

But y'all wanna see double. Getta loada this:

(Click on the picture to make it big)

View link

Yup! Twin sisters.

I got the THSA 1999 Annual on these theatres. A MUST for anyone intersted in them. The book also explains the slight difference between the Granada and the Marbro as well. There are two other theatres covered in there as well…The Regal and Diversy I believe. But the pictures and documentation is incredible. Many many thanks to Jim Rankin for pointing these out to me. As he puts it, “You will not find better pictures anywhere”.

After my readings, I must say that it does upset me that both these theatres were destroyed. But what angers me the most is that the Granada hung on to the 90’s and it seems like very little was done to save it. I know, I know it is easier said than done to save an old theatre and it does appear us theatre lovers are in the minority. But the big picture (pun intended) is once these gems are destroyed…they are gone and will never be replaced.

There are few instances of hope. I was very happy to learn that the Bronx Loews Paradise was recently saved and restored. This theatre is not too far from me…and I only learned about it recently as well. I will be checking this one out for sure!

G'day all and enjoy the pix.


beardbear31 on March 30, 2006 at 3:10 pm

Sorry, it appears that the website recently lost it’s webspace… However I saved the picture with “State Street Sadie” on the marquee. E-mail me at , and I will send you the picture.

jukingeo on March 30, 2006 at 2:05 pm

Hello All

BEARDBEAR31—I am interested in seeing this picture of the Paradise with State Street Sadie on the Marquee, however your links do not work. Yes, you are correct, that is also the name of a song on the album.

However, I do have to disagree with you in terms of the album art. Here is why.

Here is a picture of the REAL paradise theatre:

Here is a picture of the Styx Paradise Theatre Album:

View link

Finally here is a picture of the Granada Theatre:

View link

NOW everyone compare the facades (NOT the marquees). Yes, the album art is closer to the Granada than the Paradise. The Paradise didn’t have the three window layout. Has anyone ever seen the full art layout for the Paradise Theatre album? I have. It shows the crest on top of the theatre and it clearly is just about identical to that of the Granada Theatre.


sdoerr on January 3, 2006 at 8:57 am

Wow, this appears to be a beauitful theater.

Reminds me somewhat of the Michigan Theater here in Detroit.

The lobby is comparable to that of Rapp & Rapp.

Such a shame this beautiful treasure had to be demolished.

kmulkey on August 23, 2005 at 12:31 pm

I saw Harry Chapin at the Granada in 1979. What a great place. I believe it was one of his last concerts before his death. He came out in the lobby afterwards and shook hands, signed autographs, etc. Very cool.

MKuecker on May 14, 2005 at 12:53 am

For those of you who posted reference to my webpage, I thank you very kindly for the promotional advertising. :)

Visit me again:

You will find a wealth of info.

warhorse on April 12, 2005 at 2:54 pm

And yet beautiful. Partly because they help us remember what the Granada once looked like.

scorseseisgod on March 31, 2005 at 12:21 pm

Here is a photograph of the theater in mid-demolition.

View link

I spent a lot of quality time watching movies in this grand old barn. Remmeber the water fountain? There was a switch on the wall that looked like a doorbell that you pushed to get the water. That 24-sheet for “Cleopatra” was plastered to the side of the building for well over a year.

beardbear31 on March 25, 2005 at 10:15 pm

The drawing of the Paradise Theater for the Styx album cover was NOT taken from a picture of the Granada….. it was taken from a picture of the actual Paradise Theater..the picture even had the name of the movie, “State Street Sadie” on the marquee, which was a song on the album…also the taxi on the album cover is there…. this picture can be found at:….and the woman with the outstreached arms, on top of the marquee on the album cover, is actually part of the interior decor, which can also be found further on this website..

JimRankin on March 11, 2005 at 12:31 am

The previous two posts echo what so many of us ‘theatres buffs’ have experienced: the last visit shortly before demolition of a once beautiful theatre. These are favorite accounts at the ‘Slide Bashes’ (shows after the banquet) at the annual conventions of the Theatre Historical Society in a different city every summer. They are called “CONCLAVES” and are detailed on thier web site: where you click on Conclaves. I am not a photographer like many of the guys who show their slides at the conventions, but I have many bittersweet memories of being among the last to tour a theatre before it became rubble, but yet regret the far greater number I had never seen before each one’s fateful day. I once thought of combining my stories of such melancholy tours, but I am afraid that it would be too melancholy to read! :(

jayBeye on March 10, 2005 at 2:49 pm

While living in Chicago in 1973 I happened one day to catch a janitor at the theater and asked if I could come in and take some photos. He kindly let me in and for three hours or so I wandered all over the building in awe. What a magnificant building. It makes me sad to hear that it has been razed. I see the same thing here in California. No regard for the intricate beauties and harmonies of classic architecture. I did see a number of films there but never abnle to sneak up to the balcony.

warhorse on February 7, 2005 at 8:10 pm

You know, I really enjoyed that story about the guy’s exploration into the decaying bowels of the theater. Just fascinating.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 7, 2005 at 4:44 pm

Copies of old lists of the AIA’s membership would be handy to have in circumstances like this. Some large public library somewhere must have them. Copies of regional versions of “Who’s Who” would be useful, too. I don’t think any of them are online yet, but public libraries usually have them for their area. It should be easy enough for somebody in Chicago to double check this.