State-Congress Theatre

531 S. State Street,
Chicago, IL 60605

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STATE-CONGRESS (FOLLY) Theatre; Chicago, Illinois.

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The Peoples Theatre opened in 1884 on State Street near Harrison Street in the South Loop, as a venue for concerts and vaudeville performances. In 1895, the theater was renamed the Hopkins, after its new owner and operator, Col. John Hopkins, and became a legitimate playhouse that also ocassionally presented vaudeville as well.

The Hopkins was renamed the Folly in 1904, switched to “refined burlesque”. The theater was once more renamed in 1917, as the Gayety, by this time also screening movies with the burlesque shows. Two years later, and one final name change, to the State-Congress Theatre, the burlesque and movies policy continued until the theater was closed in 1933.

In the summer of 1935, the theater building was demolished, replaced by one of the first surface public parking lots downtown. Today, a mixed-use retail/residential structure is located on the site of the former theater.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft
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