Harlem Outdoor Theater
4101 N. Harlem Avenue,
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Previously operated by: Essaness Theaters Corp.
Previous Names: Harlem Avenue Outdoor Theater
Opened in 1946, the Harlem Outdoor Theater (also known as the Harlem Avenue Outdoor Theater) was the second drive-in theater to open in Chicagoland. It stood at the intersection of Harlem Avenue and Irving Park Road. With a capacity for 1,030 cars, and a large screen with the theater’s name illuminated in huge letters, the theater was quite a sight to see, in what was then mostly undeveloped land situated between Chicago and what would become the suburb of Norridge.
The Harlem Outdoor Theater remained in business until 1976, and was demolished soon after closing to make way for further retail development (the drive-in sat directly across Harlem Avenue from the Harlem Irving Plaza shopping center, known locally as “The HIP”).
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