Grand Theatre

3110 S. State Street,
Chicago, IL 60616

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GRAND Theatre (South State St.); Chicago, Illinois.

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The Grand Theatre opened in 1911 at South State Street near 31st Street, with seating for about 500. The theatre replaced an older and smaller Grand Theatre a few doors down the street, which, upon the opening of the new Grand Theatre was renamed Phoenix Theatre and became a movie house.

The new Grand Theatre was one of the premier entertainment venues of the South Side for years after its opening, becoming the place where Jazz was introduced to Chicago, starting in 1915 with the Original Creole Orchestra. Later, legendary African-American entertainers such as Bessie Smith, William ‘Bojangles’ Robinson and Ethel Waters made appearances at the Grand Theatre.

After the much larger and modern Vendome Theatre opened across S. State Street in 1919, the slow decline of the Grand Theatre began. By the end of the 1920’s, the Regal Theatre and Met Theatre nearby had even surpassed the Vendome Theatre in popularity, and the Grand Theatre was relegated to showing movies. During the 1940’s, the Grand Theatre was only sporadically open. It was shuttered in 1952.

The Grand Theatre was demolished in 1959 to make way for an expansion of the campus of the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT).

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 1 comments)

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on March 26, 2006 at 3:13 am

Here is the text of an ad from The Freeman, an African-American newspaper, circa 1917:

THE GRAND THEATER
The Stroll Amusement Company

Devoted to High Class
VAUDEVILLE & MOVING PICTURES

Change of Program Monday & Thursday
Matinee Sundays and Holidays

3110-12 State St. Tel: Douglas 500

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