about us  online store  download forms  join us










Photo: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Map


Pickford Theater Building
3459 S. Michigan Ave.,
Chicago (Cook County)



Although largely forgotten, this modest commercial building has multiple layers of significance for Chicago's African-American community. Completed in 1912 as a movie theater with accompanying office retail space, it is one of the rare survivors of the city's famous Bronzeville-Black Metropolis business district. It is the only surviving theater from the heyday of Chicago's black entertainment district which thrived along 35th Street in the jazz era of the 1910s and 20s.


Many notable musicians conducted the Pickford's in-house band, and the theater was also the showcase for early silent movie dramas produced by pioneering black filmmaker Oscar Micheaux. In the late 1960s, the theater became the home of The South Side Center for the Performing Arts, led by noted black playwright Theodore Ward. Now vacant, the building is owned by the City of Chicago, which is seeking development proposals. A nearby school has expressed its desire to demolish the building for a new facility.









Landmarks Illinois
Suite 1315
53 W. Jackson Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60604 
tel. 312-922-1742 
fax 312-922-8112



home              top              help              sitemap              donate             membership              email us  



2010 Landmarks Illinois. All rights reserved. In addition to the copyright to this collective work, copyright to the materials which appear on this site may be held by the individual authors or others. Landmarks Illinois is a
tax exempt 501(c)(3) organization founded in 1971 and is the state's leading voice for historic preservation.