322 W. Armitage Avenue,
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Jam USA -- Park West (Official)
Previously operated by: Ascher Brothers Inc.
Architects: Fred Prather
Functions: Concerts, Special Events
Previous Names: Lane Court Theatre, Town Theatre, Town Underground Theatre
Opened November 25, 1916 for the Ascher Brothers circuit as the Lane Court Theatre, this theatre originally sat close to 1,000, and presented both movies and vaudeville acts. It was equipped with a Kimball organ. Located in the Lincoln Park neighborhood at W. Armitage Avenue (which was then known as Center Street) and N. Clark Street, the Lane Court Theatre was later renamed the Town Theatre, and became a burlesque house. By the 1960’s, it was showing adult movies, which it continued to do until it became the Town Underground Theatre screening independent movies from April 14, 1967.
In 1977, the Town Underground Theatre was converted into a concert venue, renamed the Park West, and has served in this capacity ever since. Artists such as Tina Turner, Prince, and Eurythmics have performed the Park West, making the 750-seat theatre one of Chicago’s most popular smaller concert venues. The theatre is also used for special events.
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Recent comments (view all 25 comments)
The recent opening of the Lane Court Theatre was noted in the December 9, 1916, issue of Motography:
This opened on April 14th, 1967 as the Town Underground. Its grand opening ad uploaded.
Aaron Gold led off his Tower Ticker column on Thursday, October 18, 1973 with “Another X-rated movie house bites the dust… the Town Theater on Armitage is being remodeled into a 500-seat dinner playhouse with projected mid-December opening date”. The last ad for the Town appeared in the Tribune three days earlier (October 15, 1973) and featured a triple bill of “Venice Nightmare”, “Virginia the Maid” and “The Pick-Off”. My last two times seeing concerts at the Park West were over 20 years ago (November 1995, Cathy Richardson Band cd release party and concert; November 1997, Paula Cole and Jennifer Trynin).
Does anyone know if The Roots played here in early/mid 1990’s?
1962 photo added credit Theresa Altgilbers.
Jam Productions downloadable coloring book of the Park West and other theatres.
Circa 1954 photo as Lane Court Theatre added credit Mike Harpe. Note CinemaScope beneath the marquee.
Roger Ebert’s 1973 review of “Deep Throat” at the Town Theatre.
It was still the Town Theatre in a Spring 1964 Old Town guide book.
This paragraph about the Lane Court Theatre appeared in Moving Picture World for March 10, 1917, as part of an article about the Ascher Bros. circuit: