Harper Theater

5238 S. Harper Avenue,
Chicago, IL 60615

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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.

GrandMogul on February 1, 2007 at 9:11 am

Ad in the Chicago Tribune, Saturday, May 3, 1930, announced: New Harper, 53rd and Harper, Grand Opening Today, Western Electric Sound, Entirely redecorated; Jack Mulhall, Sue Carol in “Her Golden Calf.”

Paul Fortini
Paul Fortini on January 24, 2007 at 6:04 am

Cinemark Fan,

I was never inside, but I know that it retained its MERIDIAN THEATRES logo on the marquee for quite awhile after it closed and it was the last Meridian to do so.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on December 2, 2006 at 8:28 am

They have been talking about this for a long time. It would not surprise me if nothing came to pass.

CinemarkFan on December 2, 2006 at 6:02 am

Oh well, I kinda knew that would be the outcome. Let me check out that city owned parking lot on 53rd & Lake Park, they said that could be ripe for a theater someday.

Anyway, what can anyone tell me about this soon-to be torn down theater? What was the lobby, layout, colors, screens and stuff like?