340 E. 51st Street,
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The Willard, in Chicago’s Washington Park neighborhood, on 51st Street at Calumet Avenue, was opened in 1911 for the Jones, Linick and Schaefer circuit, as a venue for both movies and live performances. From about 1917 to 1926, it was known as the New Park Theatre. The theater could originally seat around 1000, but seating was later reduced.
During the 20s and 30s, like many South Side theaters, the Willard/New Park was a popular venue for jazz performers in addition to onscreen entertainment. It was acquired by the Essaness chain in its later years of operation.
The Willard closed as a movie theater during the 50s, and today the building is home to a church and community center.
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