Oakland Square Theatre
3947 S. Drexel Boulevard,
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Architects: Henry L. Newhouse
Styles: French Renaissance
Previous Names: Oakland Theatre
The 1,525-seat Oakland Theatre was opened on March 4, 1916 with William S. Hart in “Hell’s Angels” & Mable Normand in “Bright Lights”. It was designed by Henry L. Newhouse for the Ascher Brothers circuit. It was equipped with a Weickhardt organ. By 1929 it had been taken over by Fox Theatres. In 1931 this theatre was one of several in Chicago taken over by Warner Brothers Circuit Management Inc., later Stanley-Warner. In the mid-1960’s, the theatre became part of the new Brotman & Sherman chain, initially mostly made up of former Warner theatres.
By the early-1970’s, both the surrounding neighborhood and the theatre itself fell into serious decline, and the Oakland Square Theatre closed not long afterwards. It became a hangout for gangs and illegal activities, and neighborhood leaders demanded the city of Chicago condemn the long-vacant building and have it razed, which finally occurred in 1990.
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