Harding Theatre

2724 N. Milwaukee Avenue,
Chicago, IL 60647

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The Harding Theatre was one of the largest of the theaters of the Logan Square neighborhood, originally seating just under 3000. It was the sister theater of the Congress Theatre, also in Logan Square, and the Tower Theatre in Woodlawn.

The Harding, located on Milwaukee Avenue between Spaulding and Sawyer Avenues, was originally built for the Lubliner & Trinz circuit in 1925, but within a few years was acquired by Balaban & Katz. The Harding had a 3/18 Wurlitzer organ. The Harding Theatre was closed in 1963 and demolished a year later.

Contributed by Ray Martinez

Recent comments (view all 16 comments)

Kenny4504 on January 11, 2006 at 10:14 pm

To Brian Krefft, You made notice of the Tower theater, a sister of The Congress and The Harding. Where was The Tower located?

princessdonna on August 6, 2006 at 4:54 am

My grandfather owned the icecream shop next to the Harding Theater.
It was originally called “Pellegrini’s”…Daniel, did your family go
there in the early 40’s? My mom used to go there before my dad
and her got married. He worked for his father there “soda jerk"
is what they would call the kids that worked in high school.
I am looking for pictures of the restaurant….it’s sorta hard,
since everyone has passed except mom. She has some beautiful
stories to tell about that era….the theaters were so
reasonable….and it was the thing to do after a date…go and
eat. did anyone else remember going there?

johncordell on July 28, 2007 at 4:53 pm

My father owned a print shop at 2628 N. Milwaukee from 1947-1954. I was an unruly child, so my parents couldn’t get a babysitter. Since my mother helped at my dad’s shop on Monday and Thursday evenings, and all day on Saturday, they took my brother and I to work with them. My brother and I would often go to the Harding Theatre at 2724 N. Milwaukee. Also, very often to the Logan Theatre (still operating), on the same block as his shop. One of the biggest thrills I had going to the Harding, was to see HOUSE OF WAX in 3D. When Roy Roberts threw a chair at the beginning during the fire scene, I remember turning around. It sounded like it crashed in back of the auditorium. HOUSE OF WAX was also in stereo sound. These were really great times. I lived in the Humboldt Park area, and quite often would go to the Crystal and Queen Theatres on North Avenue. The Crystal closed in 1965, and the Queen closed in 1952.
John Cordell

AndyS on December 20, 2007 at 2:55 pm

Hi, I’m an officer with Logan Square Preservation. I was doing research on the Harding because the site is up for redevelopment. I noticed quite a few people posting here were former residents of the neighborhood and wondered if any of you had historic photos of the area, especially the Harding Theater, surrounding buildings, Milwaukee Ave., Logan Square itself or the boulevards. Our organization would pay or high-quality copies. Please contact me if you have a moment, and thanks.

0123456789 on July 9, 2010 at 5:29 pm

The stores the belonged to the Harding Theatre and the building are still standing except for the auditorium, and the lobby.

CharmaineZoe on May 10, 2011 at 6:27 pm

Vintage photograph of the Harding’s projection room in 1928 showing it’s bank of Motiograph projectors http://flic.kr/p/9GmG8u

GFeret on May 29, 2012 at 3:29 pm

there’re 2 fine 8x10 B&W HARDING THEATRE photos i stumbled across over the Memorial Day wknd thanks to my wife Claire’s help, in the files of the so-called Chicago History Museum, or as anyone with a proper sense of history would say Chicago Historical Society (history per se does not get remodeled). One image’s from 1961, the other just prior to demolition in 1963, both from out in front of the bldg on Milwaukee Ave showing the full vertical sign & marquee. The 1961 shows marquee lettering advertising a food catering operation, which tells me even by that year films had ceased.

With any luck and proper overtures too at least one of those images will lead-off this CT Theatre listing before long

matthew1964 on July 31, 2012 at 10:39 pm

OMG,,i use to hang around there all the time i loved miwaukee ave as a child ,,and as a teen ,, in the parking area behind the stores as mentioned by rso 1000,, i use to hold make out sessions in the parking area ,during the 1980,s i had a conversion van,, i never knew that was once a theater ,,i hate to see all the beautiful movie palaces disapeer ,,this one was tore down around the time i was born,,i wish i could have seen it,,matt

kenny1950 on September 9, 2012 at 5:39 am

To Brian Krefft,There was a small movie theater on Armitage on the south side of the street a half a block west of Cicero. I’m not sure but I think the name was The Avondale. Do you have any information on this location or theater by that name?

Trolleyguy on September 9, 2012 at 3:40 pm

That would be the Main Theater at 4815 W Armitage, which is already listed on CT.

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