By the early 1900s, Chicago’s cultural options were impressive. The Auditorium Theatre presented opera in an acoustically perfect setting. Orchestra Hall showcased, well, the Chicago Orchestra. The Fine Arts Building fostered a vertical village of creativity. The Art Institute’s collections were growing at an astounding rate, and the Newberry, Crerar, and Chicago Public Libraries educated a city.
Theater was thriving, too, but then again, Chicago had always had a soft spot for the stage. Touring troupes performed before the town was even incorporated, and the first legitimate company took over the empty dining room of the Sauganash Hotel in 1837. It didn’t stay long—a mere six weeks—before the company went on its own tour. The company came back the next spring, but only lasted through 1839. In 1847, the Rice Theater opened, and although it burned down three years later, the wooden structure was replaced with a more permanent brick one within six months. McVicker’s Theater opened in 1857; fire destroyed it twice, but it kept coming back for more. Smaller immigrant companies popped up in the city’s neighborhoods. Theaters, like everything else in Chicago, rebuilt after the Great Chicago Fire and flourished like never before. Even Hull-House got into the act, establishing an amateur theater in 1899.
On New Year’s Day in 1906, Chicago’s newest theater opened to a sold-out crowd.
Read more about this landmark in Living Landmarks of Chicago.
Architect: Edmund R. Krause
Address: 18 W. Monroe St.
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Sources for Majestic Building and Theater (CIBC Theatre)
This is a selection of specific sources used to provide details while researching this landmark. Additional sources, including books and websites, can be found on the Resources page.
- Absher, Amy. “The Black Musician and the White City: Race and Music in Chicago, 1900 – 1967.” The University of Michigan Press: Ann Arbor. 2014.
- “Averts Theatrical War.” The Madison Daily Leader, 30 Apr 1912.
- Chicago Association of Commerce and Industry. A Guide to the City of Chicago. [Chicago]: Chicago Association of Commerce, 1909.
- Chicago Historical Society. Charter, Constitution, By-laws, Membership List, Annual Report. [Chicago: The Society] 1919
- “Chicago Woman Triumphs in Big Vaudeville War.” The Inter Ocean, 29 Apr 1912.
- Circus Historical Society
- Fireproof Magazine. United States, Fireproof Pub., 1905.
- Hatch, Anthony P. “Inferno at the Iroquois.” Chicago History, Fall 2003.
- “Mrs. Kohl Buys Five Chicago Theaters.” The Inter Ocean, 18 Aug 1911.