5238 S. Harper Avenue,
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The Harper Theater was built in 1914, but due to a legal dispute it didn’t open until May 24, 1915. This 1,201-seat theater was designed by architects Z. E. Smith and Horatio R. Wilson. It once contained a Kimball organ. In April 1930 it became part of the Schoenstadt circuit. In the late-1930’s it was remodeled by architect Mark D. Kalischer in a Streamline Moderne style.
On December 25, 1970 it became the Hyde Park 1 & 2 and still later was increased to four screens. After Schoenstadt, the theater was operated by Kohlberg Theatres, M & R Theatres, Sony Theatres, and finally the Meridian chain. The Hyde Park Theatres closed in spring of 2002.
The theater was renovated in 2011-2012 and reopened on January 18, 2013 under its original Harper Theater name. It still has four screens, but has been completely renovated inside, as well as given a new marquee and vertical sign. The theatre is owned by the University of Chicago, and is operated by the New 400 Theaters, which also manages the New 400 Theaters in Rogers Park. The reopening of the Harper Theater brings movies back to the Hyde Park area for the first time in over a decade.
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