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South Shore Cultural Center

The South Shore Cultural Center is located at 71st Street and South Shore Drive in Chicago's South Shore neighborhood. It includes the former South Shore Country Club grounds.


The South Shore Country Club opened in 1905 as a suburban rival to Chicago's metropolitan clubs like the Athletic Club. Architects Marshall and Fox designed the original Mediterranean Revival structure. A theater was erected in 1909, but in 1916 Marshall and Fox were hired to design a newer Mediterranean Revival edifice. This is the remaining building. Initially a Protestant-only club, Irish-Catholics were later welcomed. Other amenities included a nine-hole golf course, tennis courts, a bowling green, and a private beach on Lake Michigan.


By the early 1960s, the area had changed dramatically. As Hyde Park, Woodlawn, and South Shore became more racially integrated, the rich whites who created the club began to flee. In 1967, the club explored admitting Jews and African Americans for the first time since the 1930s (for the first time ever). In 1973, the club decided to sell its assets, and in 1975, the land was sold to the Chicago Park District for $9.775 million. It was added to the NRHP in 1975.

A group of community activists and historic preservationists succeeded in stopping the demolition. The South Shore Cultural Center was renamed. Buildings were refurbished and repurposed over two decades. Others were demolished. The South Shore Cultural Center School of the Arts now resides here (youth and teen programs, community art classes, the Paul Robeson Theatre, a Fine Art Gallery, two dance studios, music practice rooms, and a visual arts studio with a kiln). Weddings, celebrations, and meetings can also be held here. The golf course, beach, picnic spaces, gardens, and nature center are still open to the public. The Chicago Police Department's mounted team uses the stables. The structure contains the Washburne Culinary Institute's Parrot Cage Restaurant. The Chicago Lakefront Trail (LFT) is an 18-mile multi-use path in Chicago, Illinois, along Lake Michigan.

Park District seaside special use facilities include Jackson Park 63rd Street Beach House and Promontory Point. The exteriors were used in The Blues Brothers' "Palace Hotel Ballroom." On October 3, 1992, Barack and Michelle Obama were married at the Cultural Center. a Chicago Landmark on May 26, 2004.


South Shore Cultural Center

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