7859 S. Ashland Avenue,
3 people favorited this theater
Architects: Henry L. Newhouse
Firms: Newhouse & Bernham
News About This Theater
- Jul 23, 2007 — Chicago Theatre information help
Opened on May 15, 1926 with Janet Gaynor in “The Shamrock Handicap” plus artistes on the stage. The Highland Theater, located in Chicago’s predominantly African-American South Side, was designed for the Ascher Brothers circuit by the firm of Newhouse & Bernham. This local architectural firm also designed the last of several versions of the McVickers Theatre in the Loop.
Like that theater, the much-larger Highland Theater, which could seat 2,043 and featured extensive terra-cotta decoration on its facades. One entrance, the main entrance, was on Ashland Avenue, the other, on 79th Street. The theater also had a towering vertical marquee which was lit up with hundreds of lightbulbs and could be seen for blocks. The Highland Theater was equipped with a Barton 4 manual 21 ranks organ.
Both vaudeville and motion pictures were on the program at the Highland Theater for its first couple decades of operation, even after the theater was acquired by Warner Brothers in the 1930’s. However, by the 1950’s, it switched to movies-only.
The Highland Theater closed as a movie house more than three decades ago, but it was later converted into a church and conference center, a role it continues to serve today on Sundays named the AFC Center.
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