6427 N. Sheridan Road,
6427 N. Sheridan Road,Chicago, IL 60626
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Previously posted in a comment, but this link is enlargeable for greater detail.
The Library of Congress link with the gallery of pre-demolition photos.
A GESTURE TO THROW NEW LIGHT ON THE GRANADA (Paul Gapp, Architecture critic, Chicago Tribune, 1987) When this city saved the Chicago Theatre, it earned no right to turn its back on the three other major movie palaces of the 1920s surviving here. Those are the Uptown, the Avalon and the Granada—and among them, the Granada is perhaps the grandest of all. You have probably seen the elaborately ornamented and arched terra cotta facade of the now-threatened Granada, which stands on a prominent site at 6433 N. Sheridan Rd. But if you
ve never been inside the theater (which has been dark for several years except for a few rock concerts), you may wish to visit one of two photo exhibitions that will continue through July 31. One is on the fourth floor at the south end of the Chicago Public Library Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington St.; the other at the Rogers Park Branch Library, 6907 N. Clark St. The recently shot black and white photos of the Granada by Mike Williams are part of a suddenly escalating, last-ditch public effort to find a new use for the theater to prevent its demolition by developers who have talked about building an apartment tower in its place. Architect Daniel D. Watts curated the photo exhibits. He also organized the Save the Granada Theater Committee, which is working in league with the Rogers Park Community Council and the Theater Historical Society. Williamsphotographs show the exterior of the Granada, some of the more sweeping expanses of its interior and a number of its decorative details. The pictures also convey impressions of desolation and incipient decay in the 3,447-seat house, which opened in 1926. The Granada is nominally Spanish baroque in style, although it manifests many of the other eclectic, whimsical and deliberately overblown twists and turns of form and ornamentation found in big urban stage-and-screen venues of the time. Its grand staircase, crystal chandeliers, stained glass, use of marble and bronze, coffered ceilings and acres of ornamented plaster give it a marvelously gaudy quality. Cleveland-born Edward E. Eichenbaum designed the Granada while working for the architectural firm of Levy & Klein in Chicago. He had begun his career in Detroit with the distinguished Albert Kahn and at another point was associated with the Chicago-based design firm of A. Epstein & Sons. Other Chicago theaters credited to Eichenbaum include the Regal and Diversey. He also designed the Palace in South Bend, Ind., and the Regent in Grand Rapids, Mich. Eichenbaum
s love of legitimate theater originated during his student days at the University of Pennsylvania, and he even understudied the great George Arliss in ''Disraeli'' for a year when the play was running in Philadelphia. Eichenbaum once called the Granada ''the greatest design I have ever been privileged to make,'' according to a 1983 article by Sharon Lindy published in Marquee magazine. Film palaces were being built so rapidly in the 1920s that Eichenbaum sometimes used the same terra cotta molds on different theaters, ingeniously assembling them into fresh configurations to save time and money. When the Granada was still on the drafting boards, Eichenbaum told an interviewer: ''I want this building to be paradise, so that the common man can leave his meager existence at the door and for a few hours feel that he, too, is among the very rich class that he reads about in the paper.'' Fifty years after he designed it, Eichenbaum returned to the Granada for a visit to receive a 1976 Marquee magazine award from Joseph DuciBella of the Theater Historical Society. Eichenbaum detested the plainness of modern theaters. ''Theyre nothing but barns,‘’ he said. Eichenbaum died in 1982. The present effort to save the Granada is supported by DuciBella, a theater historian, and by preservationists. Early this month, a representative of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency said the Granada was a ‘'very good candidate’‘ for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. Architect Watts, spearheading the Granada campaign, points out that most of the theater is unaltered and in good condition: Its original marble floor is sound, its organ intact, and even its original stage lighting is in working order. The Granada does not have Chicago municipal landmark status as does the Chicago Theatre on downtown State Street, now a busy venue for live entertainment. Yet it doesn
t necessarily make sense to compare the strategy or business rationale for saving the Granada with the scenario that led to the Chicagos salvation after a slide to the brink of demolition. The location, economics and re-use factors are disparate, after all. Still, neither can such differences be used as alibis for shrugging off the Granada. The old North Side movie palace is part of the city
s sociocultural fabric and its brilliant architectural heritage. There is no doubt, then, about the Granadas credentials. And so we are left with the basic question about any major preservation effort: How many people care, and how hard are they willing to work?
1976 exterior photos:
Lou Wolf was a good friend of the owner of a West Side business I worked at in the 1960s. Whenever he would come around, everybody would literally hide, he was so creepy.
Lou Wolf was still alive? If there’s any justice Satan will make him live in one of his own properties for eternity.
Just read that some of the Granada facade ornamentation now adorns the entrance to the Sanfilippo Foundation estate in Barrington Illinois. Seen in the cover photo of their website below.
Former owner Lou Wolf has died.
Angel from the Granada, part of the upcoming Architectural Artifacts auction. Links for both.
10/20/25 photo added, Granada still under construction. Exposed trusses and water tower framework visible. Credit J.J. Sedelmaier.
Cinematour puts the opening date as September 18, 1926.
October 1929 photo added credit Theatre Historical Society Of America.
I was accepted at Loyola and almost went there right after high school. After they tore down the Granada I was glad I had decided not to attend.
You said it all Scott. Lack of respect for the very beautiful Granada and its long long history on the northside of Chicago. My goodness since 1926 opening, entertaining thousands of people. Loyola should have embraced the building and give it the loving care it deserved.
The lack of respect Loyola had for the Granada was both shameful and puzzling. The Ambassador in St. Louis met the same fate for similar reasons. I am a strong believer in the capitalist system, which was responsible for theaters such as the Granada and the Ambassador being as grand as they were, but tearing these buildings down because they’re not the flavor of the week is short-sided and tragic. Sometimes the economics for saving a theater just don’t work, but I think it could have for the Granada. It had everything going for it, except the right ownership.
Two beautiful palaces!! I remember both and went to them both. Seems to me the hole in the center archway window of the Granada was removed because it was the crest of the Marks Bros. It was bought and removed by family members. The writing on the wall for the theater was at hand. The hole was never covered and was a gateway for Chicago pigeons!
I happened to walk by the Granada in 1987 (I think). It was a Saturday afternoon, and there was a large drain hose coming out the front doors dumping a fairly light stream of water into the street. I peered in the door opening and didn’t see anyone, so I walked in and looked around. The interior still looked majestic, considering there was a big hole in the main archway window. It didn’t occur to me that it might be near its end. Very sad, for it was a truly stunning building, both inside and outside. Just as I remember its near twin, the Marbro, from my early teen years.
A performing arts center mixing classic movies and live entertainment would have saved it.
A performing arts center mixing classic movies and live entertainment would have saved it.
So right Scott! I met the new owner also. He had no idea what he was getting into. On a cold night he had to start the heat much earlier in the day to have the theater warm enough for the evening. He couldn’t believe the bill. He was unprepared to say the least what it took to keep the doors open. Of course that is why the chain owners closed them when movies could no longer support the box office returns. Last 1st run movie played the Granada or at least close to the end was “Bow Won Ton-the dog that saved Hollywood”. there were 50 people sitting in the main floor… That tells it all…However an arts center operated by someone who knew what to do with sponsors added would have been the right ticket I believe!
Had the pleasure of visiting the theater on a THS tour . Met a new owner who seemed very upbeat on its future. Chicago always had the most ornate theaters in the country. In our throwaway society,we toss something aside when we deem it is no longer needed. Sadly we will be remembered by what we destroy instead of what we retain.
Of all the major theaters that have been razed in Chicago, the loss of the Granada might be the most unfortunate. The theater would have needed restoration to become a first class performance space, but it was in very good condition at the time of closing in 1986. And the Rogers Park neighborhood was, and is, fairly solid, certainly when compared to the other Chicago neighborhoods that have lost deluxe movie houses. It was a great building in a good location, which would have made it a solid candidate for restoration. So to me, its demise is the saddest of all the destroyed Chicago movie palaces since it could have worked as a restored theater.
This beautiful theater should never ever have been torn down! A real beauty in every detail… Short sided from the people in Rogers Pk. This beauty should have been saved as an arts center for the north side.. I blame Loyala for this. It was intact and needed minor improvement. It had history and was a beautiful building! Could have remained as a showplace for the university!!!!
Another from Mark Susina, circa 1976.