6325 S. Cottage Grove Avenue,
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The Tivoli Theatre opened its doors on February 16, 1921, the first of the Balaban & Katz chain’s movie palaces in the Woodlawn neighborhood, opening on the once-bustling S. Cottage Grove Avenue commercial corridor near E. 63rd Street. The theatre stood just south of the southeast corner of E. 63rd Street and S. Cottage Grove Avenue, between the still standing Strand Hotel and Cinderella Ballroom (today the Grand Ballroom).
Later that same year in October 1921, the chain had great success with its new Loop venue, the Chicago Theatre, and a few years earlier, opened two houses on the North Side, the Central Park Theatre and the Riviera Theatre.
The Tivoli Theatre, designed by Rapp & Rapp, was highly ornate, decorated in the French Baroque style, glittering with gold leaf and multicolored marble; its soaring two stories high lobby was supposedly based on the Sainte-Chapelle at Versailles. The Tivoli Theatre was stocked with antique sculptures and paintings, but on the other hand, the theatre was also equipped with the most up-to-date modern ammenities such as air conditioning, and then-state-of-the-art projection equipment. Seating was provided for 3,600, with 2,200 in the orchestra and 1,400 in the balcony. It was equipped with a Wurlitzer 3 manual, 17 rank theatre pipe organ.
By the 1940’s, however, the Tivoli Theatre was just another movie house and its earlier programs of live stage shows, vaudeville, and motion pictures were a thing of the past. By the 1950’s, the theatre was starting to show its age, and Woodlawn was a quickly changing neighborhood. Even a modernization during the late-1950’s by Balaban & Katz couldn’t save the huge palace and it closed September 19, 1963. It was razed in August 1966 and was replaced by a parking lot and supermarket.
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