64 W. Randolph Street,
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Architects: Louis Henri Sullivan
Styles: Art Deco
Previous Names: Schiller Theatre, Dearborn Theatre
Originally named the Schiller Theatre after Friedrich Schiller, the German playwright, poet and philosopher, the theatre was briefly known as the Dearborn Theatre (1898-1903) before gaining its last name, the Garrick Theatre, in 1903, when the Shubert Brothers operated the legitimate house. The Schiller Building was designed by the firm of Adler & Sullivan in 1891.
On May 30, 1934, movies took over from legitimate theatre at the Garrick Theatre when the theatre was acquired by the Balaban & Katz circuit. The firm of Rapp & Rapp was hired during the 1930’s to remodel parts of the Garrick Theatre, including the main entrance, ticket booth and lobby areas, in an Art Deco style.
From the late-1940’s and into the mid-1950’s, the Garrick Theatre stage was used for live local (and later national) television broadcasts. In 1957, Balaban & Katz resumed showing movies at the Garrick Theatre.
When Balaban & Katz announced it was shuttering the Garrick Theatre on May 19, 1960 and it would be torn down, there was one of the earliest organized public outcries in Chicago to save an historic building, but it was to no avail, since it was demolished a few months later and replaced with a monstrously ugly multilevel parking garage (that was itself razed in the late-1990’s).
A large portion of the façade featuring portraits of famous Germans was saved and was later incorporated into the entranceway of the Second City Theatre on N. Wells Street.
On the same block as the Garrick Theatre stood a handful of other theatres, now all gone as well – the Olympic Theatre (later renamed the Apollo Theatre), the Wood’s Theatre, and the Harris Theatre and the Selwyn Theatre (whose facades were salvaged and incorporated into the new Goodman Theatre, which occupies the former site of the Wood’s, Harris and Selwyn Theatres).
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