Harper Theater

5238 S. Harper Avenue,
Chicago, IL 60615

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Tim O'Neill
Tim O'Neill on November 22, 2018 at 8:31 pm

No. No. No. The Harper Theatre at 5238 S. Harper was NEVER twinned in 1970. It was renamed Hyde Park 2. The original Hyde Park Theatre at 53rd & Lake Park was renamed Hyde Park 1. Two separate Hyde Park theatres at two different locations. After Hyde Park 1 closed its doors permanently, Hyde Park 2 became simply the Hyde Park Theatre and stayed that way until it reopened in 2013 and became the Harper again.

rivest266 on November 12, 2016 at 3:10 pm

2 screens on December 25th, 1970. Grand opening ad in the photo section.

rivest266 on November 12, 2016 at 2:43 pm

The first ad as Hyde Park from December 30th, 1933 can be found in the photo section.

moax429 on July 20, 2016 at 6:17 pm

Does a train line run close to this theater?

If so, I remember my dad (may he rest in peace) and I would pass by it on the train when the theater was the Hyde Park in the summer of 1979. (I was working at Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago with my dad that year; that was my first real job as I was 17 then.)

I remember the marquee had comedy and tragedy masks adorning it and before I began my senior year of high school in late August of that year, the Hyde Park was playing the original Star Wars, Episode IV: A New Hope, along with some vintage Tom and Jerry cartoon shorts for the kids. (I saw Star Wars again at the now-demolished Diana in Homewood. To be sure, it had me longing for when I first saw it with my cousin in Pennsylvania two years before, as well as the better times I had in Lansing, Michigan during 1977.)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 29, 2014 at 10:39 pm

Mark D. Kalischer, architect for an extensive remodeling of the Harper Theatre in the 1930s, wrote an article about the house for the January 7, 1939, issue of Boxoffice, which has three photos of the Harper in its Streamline Modern configuration:

First page

Second page

In addition, another article in the same issue features a couple of small photos of the Harper’s remodeled rest rooms:

First page

Second page (no photos, but additional text for those who only get the magazine for the articles.)

mo4040 on July 16, 2014 at 7:10 pm

Just saw a movie there last Friday. The place is very clean and has a courteous staff. I grew up in Hyde Park and I am glad this venue has re-opened. Hopefully, with the U of C behind it, it will do well and be a positive for the neighborhood.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on April 1, 2014 at 6:32 am

With University of Chicago nearby this could work out well. The old 400 Theater near Loyala U. on the North Side still seems to be doing OK. As far as I know there are no other cinema options around Hyde Park.

Bruce C.
Bruce C. on January 16, 2013 at 8:12 pm

Their website says they are opening on Friday. Here’s the link: http://www.harpertheater.com

Stevewatchesmovies on January 16, 2013 at 7:45 pm

Just drove past today. The markee is up and it is being called the Harper theater. On the digital sign it said opening this Friday. I haven’t seen any info in the paper or online about if it. Is true or not. Bout time it opened back up.

JudithK on January 22, 2012 at 6:10 am

As seen from my commuter train the Hyde Park Theatres (never visited it as I’m a suburbanite) is covered with scaffolding. As it is in an area of demolition/redevelopment, is the theatre going to be renovated, or demolished? For those of you who live, or have lived, in Hyde Park or Kenwood, here’s a link to the redevelopment going on. http://www.hydepark.org/historicpres/theater.htm

Broan on October 16, 2011 at 6:19 pm

http://www.archpaper.com/uploads/breaking_ground_10.jpg Rendering

Broan on October 16, 2011 at 6:01 pm

The status should be renovating. The attached building has been fully restored on the exterior and looks great. The 53rd street entrance to the theatre has been re-created beautifully, and the adjacent lobby seems to have been rediscovered. The blue and gold terra cotta on Harper Court is being destroyed, unfortunately. Assuming the exterior is done as well as the attached building, this will be gorgeous when complete.

Broan on October 2, 2011 at 7:50 am

They do have their permits now. Status should be updated assuming they’ve started actual work.

Ramova7719 on October 1, 2011 at 12:55 pm

Status should be renovating !

Broan on September 11, 2011 at 4:06 pm

They seem to be having trouble getting a permit. They passed review for Ventilation and Refrigeration but were denied Architectural & Fire, Disabilities, Structural, Fire Prevention, Environmental, Electrical, and Plumbing. Not sure how to interpret these. The reviews were completed in early August.

Ramova7719 on September 11, 2011 at 8:43 am

Status should be renovating !

Paul Fortini
Paul Fortini on February 10, 2011 at 11:09 am

Has anything happened to this theater?

Broan on January 26, 2009 at 5:17 pm

Also listed today as one of Preservation Chicago’s Seven Most Endangered

mp775 on September 18, 2008 at 1:48 pm

The Harper Theater is on Landmarks Illinois' 2008-2009 watch list of endangered properties.

Related story and photo in the Chicago Tribune

Broan on May 14, 2008 at 9:15 am

After all that, the redevelopment proposal is dead (for now).
View link

CinemarkFan on September 2, 2007 at 11:28 am

I believe so, but I can’t be sure.

Paul Fortini
Paul Fortini on June 17, 2007 at 4:52 pm

Was this the last Meridian Theatre to close?

Broan on March 13, 2007 at 2:46 pm

Here are photos of this theatre.