Louis Theatre

108 E. 35th Street,
Chicago, IL 60616

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Louis Theatre

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Originally opened in 1912 as the Lux Theatre. It reopened July 4th, 1914 as the Pickford Theatre with the film “Sealed Orders” for the Alfred Hamburger circuit, the 700 seat Pickford Theater (possibly named for actress Mary Pickford) once had its own sixteen-piece house orchestra. It was located on 35th Street at South Michigan Avenue.

In addition to movies, like many of the movie theaters in the Bronzeville neighborhood of Chicago, the Pickford Theatre featured live performances as well, many of these being jazz artists. In 1938 the theater was renamed the Louis Theatre, apparently after boxer Joe Louis.

After closing as a movie house in 1965, it was converted into the South Side Center for the Performing Arts in 1967, which later closed. Part of the building later housed a grocery store, but in recent years the former Louis Theatre became disused. It was demolished in early-August 2011.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft, Brian Wolf

Recent comments (view all 14 comments)

KenC
KenC on October 26, 2009 at 11:43 am

If the Louis closed as a movie house in 1965, it definitely reopened-for a short period -perhaps under new ownership. From the Chicago Sun Times movie listings dated Wednesday, May 18, 1966: LOUIS ACADEMY AWARD SHOW Lee Marvin “CAT BALLOU” 108 E. 35th Julie CHRISTIE “DARLING”. By Monday, July 25, 1966, the Louis was not in the movie directory.

0123456789
0123456789 on July 2, 2010 at 10:49 am

I go to s chool across from that theatre it is still there but is being used for store storage.

Ramova7719
Ramova7719 on August 15, 2011 at 6:02 am

Status should be demolished! I have a brick from there they said that they were unable to restore it because it was in too much bad shape! The audiotrium is half way demolished.

Ramova7719
Ramova7719 on August 19, 2011 at 1:59 pm

The whole theatre is now unfortuatly gone they only saved the arch inside. everything else is gone. Facebook does have a page for the Louis theatre it’s Louis Theatre Chicago Il

Ramova7719
Ramova7719 on August 19, 2011 at 2:37 pm

It should be demolished staus should be demolished!

Ramova7719
Ramova7719 on August 25, 2011 at 1:44 pm

There is nothing left staus should be demolished!

Ramova7719
Ramova7719 on December 15, 2011 at 2:03 pm

The whole theatre is now unfortuatly gone they only saved the arch inside. everything else is gone. Facebook does have a page for the Louis theatre it’s Louis Theatre Chicago Il

Ramova7719
Ramova7719 on December 15, 2011 at 2:03 pm

Was the first black theatre in America! Pretty amazing!

dvdmike
dvdmike on March 24, 2013 at 7:14 am

I remember seeing this theater as a little kid while passing by on the bus heading to the Loop.

floydwebb
floydwebb on December 31, 2013 at 6:20 am

I used to go to this theater between 1957 and 1964. It was the first theater I went to when we moved to Chicago. We lived in the projects at 23rd and State St. My mom worked at a textile factory on Wabash near Quinn Chapel Church and may dad worked as a radar man at the Nike Missile site at Burnham Park(31st Street Beach).

The first movie my mom took me to see there was Rodan (1957). I then when on Sat. mornings with my friend, we would walk there down Michigan Ave to see Roger Corman films and Serials.

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