Park Theatre

3955 S. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive,
Chicago, IL 60653

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PARK (nee PEERLESS) Theatre; Chicago, Illinois.

Viewing: Photo | Street View

This South Side theater was opened for the Ascher Brothers circuit in 1917 as the Grand Oak Theatre, and sat just over 900. Later that year it was re-named Peerless Theatre. It was located on Grand Boulevard (today’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive) in the community of Kenwood.

It originally presented both vaudeville as well as motion pictures. In 1924, a Kimball organ was installed at a cost of $10,000. Also, in its early years, the Peerless had its own house orchestra.

During the 20s and 30s, it occassionally played host to big-name jazz peformers on its stage. The Grand Terrace Cafe, a jazz venue which also hosted some of the biggest names in jazz of the day, was in the same building as the Peerless.

Closed in 1928, it re-opened in 1937 as the Park Theatre which closed in 1958. It re-opened in 1964 as the Ritz Theatre but closed the following year. Later used as a church, the auditorium then stood unused. In recent years it has been used as a parking space for condeminiums. In 2007, the front of the building is being converted into offices and the facade will be restored.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 14 comments)

Broan
Broan on July 1, 2006 at 5:47 am

View link Here is the page on the condo development. One of the new businesses set to move in is a Roscoe’s Chicken & Waffles, which I think is the first in Chicagoland. I think the theater will be destroyed (If nature hasn’t already) but it looks like the lobby will be restored.

GrandMogul
GrandMogul on February 1, 2007 at 8:28 am

News Item:

Chicago Evening Post, Saturday, October 27, 1917:

ASCHER’S NEW PEERLESS THEATER OPENS TODAY

Ascher Brothers will add to their string of theaters the Peerless, on Grand boulevard near Fortieth street.

Broan
Broan on March 13, 2007 at 2:40 pm

Here are photos of this theatre.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on November 29, 2008 at 2:54 pm

There was a Park Theater listed at 3955 S. South Park Avenue in the 1953 Chicago yellow pages. Was Grand Avenue called South Park at one time?

Broan
Broan on November 29, 2008 at 2:58 pm

MLK Jr Drive was previously known as South Parkway and before that Grand Boulevard.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on November 29, 2008 at 3:00 pm

OK, thanks. It looks like South Park, but I guess that was an abbreviation. No longer listed in the 1960 directory.

Yves Marchand
Yves Marchand on July 7, 2009 at 6:27 am

The auditorium is still used as a parking space for the condos.
Here are two recent pictures :
View link
View link

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on December 1, 2009 at 10:29 am

Holy Michigan Theatre.

I wouldn’t buy a condo with a parking garage like that. It looks like there is still pitch in the floor.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 29, 2009 at 4:39 am

The dance palace that replaced the Peerless Theatre was called the Grand Terrace Ballroom. When Max Slott reconverted the building to theatrical use in 1937, the project was designed by Mark D. Kalischer. Boxoffice ran this article with photos of the reborn Park Theatre.

Broan
Broan on May 24, 2012 at 8:30 am

Here is the new Boxoffice link

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