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Central Park Theater

This is an archived listing.


3535 W. Roosevelt Rd.


North Lawndale


C. W. and George L. Rapp (Rapp and Rapp), 1917


The Central Park Theater has been a focal point of the arts and culture of North Lawndale since it opened its doors in 1917. It is the first movie palace completed by cinema developers Balaban & Katz and architectural firm Rapp & Rapp, a prolific partnership which gave rise to numerous landmarks including the Chicago, Oriental (now Nederlander), Riviera and Uptown theaters. It was one of the first theaters in the nation to have an air conditioning system. With nearly 1,800 seats, the Central Park remained a profitable theater for decades. In 1971, it became home to the House of Prayer Church of God in Christ. Under the leadership of Pastor Lincoln Scott and his successor, Pastor Robert Marshall, the theater served as a place of worship and community concerts hosting notable acts like Shirley Caesar, Mighty Clouds of Joy and other Gospel and secular greats. The exterior and interior of this historic space have been well-preserved, and the owner is working with the Central Park Theater Restoration Committee to restore and reopen the theater as a community event and programming space.

Archived In

2020 , 2021 , 2022