7859 S. Ashland Avenue,
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Opened in 1926, the Highland Theater, located in Chicago’s predominently African-American South Side, was designed for the Ascher Brothers circuit by the firm of Newhouse & Bernham. This local architectural firm also designed the last of several versions of the McVickers Theatre in the Loop.
Like that theater, the much-larger Highland Theater, which could seat over 2,000 and featured extensive terra-cotta decoration on its facades. One entrance, the main entrance, was on Ashland Avenue, the other, on 79th Street.
The theater also had a towering vertical marquee which was lit up with hundreds of lightbulbs and could be seen for blocks.
Both vaudeville and motion pictures were on the program at the Highland Theater for its first couple decades of operation, even after the theater was acquired by Warner Brothers in the 1930’s. However, by the 1950’s, it switched to movies-only.
The Highland Theater closed as a movie house more than three decades ago, but it was later converted into a church and conference center, a role it continues to serve today.
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