History in Bronzeville

3000 South King Drive

Dunbar High School

Dunbar High School (officially known as Paul Laurence Dunbar Vocational Career Academy) was founded in 1942 at 3000 South King Drive.  Its notable alumni include Academy Award-winning actress Jennifer Hudson, former CNN anchor Bernard Shaw, soul singer Lou Rawls, actor and erstwhile bouncer Lawrence Tureaud (better known as Mr. T), and NBA guard Ronnie Lester (who won an NBA title with the Los Angeles Lakers). 

4934 South Wabash Avenue

DuSable High School

DuSable High School at 4934 South Wabash Avenue opened on February 4, 1935, and was originally known as the New Wendell Phillips High School.  It was created to accommodate the increasing population of the original Wendell Phillips High School.  Its name was changed to DuSable High School in 1936, in honor of Chicago’s first resident, Jean Baptiste Pointe du Sable.  The school graduated a veritable sports and entertainment hall of fame. 

Read more
244 East Pershing Road

Wendell Phillips Academy High School

Phillips Academy High School at 244 East Pershing Road was named for Wendell Phillips, an abolitionist and advocate for Native Americans.  It opened on September 5, 1904, and has produced a distinguished cast of alumni, including jazz legend Nat "King" Cole, Gwendolyn Grooks (the first African-American to win the Pulitzer Prize), soul music legend Sam Cooke, jazz singer Dinah Washington, George E.

Read more

History in Bronzeville
Clubs and theaters

3503-05 South State Street

Deluxe Cafe Chicago Jazz Club

A “black and tan” where interracial audiences were admitted, the Deluxe Café, at 3503 S State St in Bronzeville Chicago, was one of the more reputable purveyors of hot jazz in the second decade of the 20th century.  The house band was Sugar Johnny’s Creole Orchestra, featuring Sidney Bechet and Freddie Keppard, both early jazz legends. 

Read more
3518 South State Street

Dreamland Café

A “black and tan,” as clubs that admitted patrons of both races were called, William Bottoms’ Dreamland Café (not to be confused with Paddy Harmon’s Dreamland Ballroom in the West Loop), was a popular early Chicago jazz club at 3518-20 S. State St in Bronzeville Chicago.  

Read more
446 East 47th Street

Gerri's Palm Tavern

The Palm Tavern at 446 East 47th Street was a fancy, deco-style restaurant and nightclub that was opened in 1933 by James “Genial Jim” Knight, a onetime Pullman Porter who was running the local numbers racket.  It soon became a popular local institution.  The following year, Knight was elected “Mayor of Bronzeville” as part of a promotion that would honor a local community leader and sell copies of the Chicago Defender. 

Read more
3110 South State Street

Grand Theater

The Grand Theater was a popular jazz venue in the 1920s located at 3110 South State Street.  Among the musicians who played here were Cab Calloway, Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, Ethel Waters, and Edward “Kid” Ory.  It opened around 1908 and closed around 1930.

459 East 31st Street

Lincoln Gardens at 459 E 31st St in Bronzeville Chicago

Originally known as the Royal Gardens, this nightclub at 459 E 31st St in Bronzeville Chicago featured such early jazz legends as Joe "King" Oliver, Sidney Bechet, and Freddie Keppard.  It became The Lincoln Gardens in 1921, but continued to feature the hottest purveyors of jazz in the country.  

Read more
503 East 43rd Street

Pepper's Lounge in Bronzeville

Opened by Johnny Peppers in 1956 at 503 East 43rd Street in Bronzeville Chicago, Pepper’s Lounge quickly became one of the city’s most legendary blues bars.  It was nothing fancy.  Just a bare-bones nightclub with a small stage that featured great blues musicians, including Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Shakey Jake, Otis Rush, Junior Wells, Magic Sam, and Buddy Guy.  

Read more
338 East 35th Street

Plantation Café

The Plantation Café was a “black and tan” jazz club (it catered to audiences of all races) and was nearly as prestigious as its kitty corner competitor, The Sunset Café.  It opened in 1924, and King Oliver played here  at 338 East 35th Streetwith his Dixie Syncopators from 1925 until 1927, when the club was destroyed by fire, reportedly after it was bombed. 

Read more
4733 South Martin Luther King Drive

Savoy Ballroom

The Savoy Ballroom at 4733 South Martin Luther King Drive was primarily a jazz music venue, but it also served as a community center and a sporting venue from its opening in 1927 until 1954.  Named after a similar venue that opened a year earlier in New York, it was the first major dance hall to which African-Americans were admitted.  

Read more
708 East 47th Street

The 708 Club

A popular blues destination during the 1950's and 60's, the 708 Club was located at 708 East 47th Street in the Bronzeville neighborhood of Chicago.  Regular performers included such legends as Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Bo Diddley, Memphis Minnie, and Buddy Guy.

330 East 35th street

The Apex

Formerly known as Club Alvadere and The Nest, the Apex Club at 330 East 35th street served fine food and outstanding jazz entertainment.  Between 1926 and 1930, when Prohibition Era agents raided the club and shut it down, Jimmy Noone and his Orchestra (featuring Earl Hines) appeared here regularly.  White guys who considered themselves jazz men flocked here to see Noone play, and it’s safe to say that one of those guys was local Chicagoan Benny Goodman.

Read more
3119 South Cottage Grove Avenue

The Cozy Cabin Club

In the 1930s, this club at 3119 South Cottage Grove Avenue was known as "Chicago's Oddest Nightery."  Mixed-race audiences came to see performances by black female impersonators.  "when you have seen our floor show and `camped` in the Cozy Cabin Club, you have seen Chicago at its best," their ads read.

2700 South State Street

The Pekin Theater

Originally built in 1892 as a beer garden at 2700 South State Street, it was converted in 1905 to the 900-seat Pekin Theater by Robert T. Motts, an African-American street-hustler who allegedly financed the club with gambling earnings.  It was the first theater in Chicago to feature black entertainment and admit interracial audiences, and the musical director was famed composer Joe Jordan. 

Read more
315 East 35th Street

The Sunset Cafe

The Sunset Café, located at 315 East 35th Street, was one of the most important venues of the early jazz era.  Built in 1909 as an automobile garage, it was converted to a dance hall and reopened on August 3, 1921, with about 100 tables, a bandstand, and a dance floor.  The club was a “black and tan,” meaning that patrons were admitted and permitted to mingle without regard to skin color. 

Read more
3143-49 South State Street

Vendome Theater

The 1,300-seat Vendome Theater opened in 1919 at 3143-49 South State Street to tremendous fanfare in the African-American community.  Built by O.C. Hammond at a cost of nearly a quarter-million dollars, the theater was luxuriously appointed with marble, gilded plaster, crystal chandeliers, and frescoes, not to mention an expensive and imposing pipe organ. 

Read more

History in Bronzeville
National Landmarks

3360 South State Street

Crown Hall

Designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Crown Hall is the home of the College of Architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology.  The building was completed in 1956 at 3360 South State Street, when Mies van der Rohe was the director of the Department of Architecture at the school.  

Read more
4742 South King Drive

Robert S. Abbott House

The home of Robert Abbott, publisher of the Chicago Defender, from 1926-1940. The city designated his home at 4742 South King Drive as a chicago landmark on March 1, 2006. It became a national landmark on December 8, 1976.

3100-3500 south calumet avenue

Calumet-Giles Prairie District

This section of bronzeville was designated a landmark on july 13, 1988.

3647-3655 south state street

Chicago Bee Building

The Chicago Bee Building housed one of the city's African-American newspapers, which was founded in 1926.  in the 1990s, The building was used as a branch of the chicago public library system.  It was designated a landmark on September 9, 1998.

3435 south indiana avenue

Chicago Defender Building

This building once housed the Chicago Defender, a newspaper catering to African-American readers and founded in 1905.  The Defender's offices were here from 1920 to 1960.  It was designated a landmark on September 9, 1988.

5120 south king drive

Chicago Orphan Asylum Building

Designated a landmark on May 13, 2009, this building was once a community house, a training center for ministers, and an orphanage.  Construction was completed in 1899, and the building was designed by the Chicago office of Shepley, Rutan, and Coolidge.

4359 south michigan avenue

Eighth Church of Christ, Scientist

Leon E. Stanhope built this church between 1910 and 1911.  It is one of the oldest African-American Christian Science churches in the country.  It was designated a landmark on June 9, 1993.

3533 south giles avenue

Eighth Regiment Armory

The Chicago Military Academy in Bronzeville is the site of the first armory in the United States built for an African-American military regiment.  The building was also used for the Illinois National Guard and was the South Central Gymnasium before it became the military academy in 1999.

4726 south king drive

Elam House

The 32-room Elam House was built in 1903 by Simon L. Marks, the owner of a wholesale custom tailoring company, and designed by architect Henry L. Newhouse.  Melissa Elam purchased the house in 1926 and began operating it as a boarding house for single, African-American working women.  The city designated it as a landmark on March 21, 1979.

4122 south ellis avenue

Eliel House

Alder and Sullivan designed and built this house for Mathilde and Gustav Eliel in 1886.  The city designated it as a landmark on October 2, 1991. 

4801 south michigan avenue

George Cleveland Hall Branch, Chicago Public Library

George Cleveland Hall was a surgeon and chief of staff for Provident Hospital and the second African American to serve on Chicago Public Library's Board of Directors.  This branch of the public library was designated a landmark on February 10, 2010.

3806 south michigan avenue

Griffiths-Burroughs House

Solon S. Beman, noted architect of Pullman, designed this two-and-a-half story limestone house in 1892 for John W. Griffiths, whose company built Union Station, the Merchandise Mart and the Civic Opera House Building, among others.  Since Griffth's death in 1937, the building has been home to both the Quincy Club (a clubhouse for African-American railroad workers and their families) and the DuSable Museum of African-American history.  it was the home of Dr.

Read more
33rd and federal streets

Illinois Institute of Technology Machinery Hall

This building on the campus of the illinois institute of technology was constructed in 1901.  Along with the main building, it is a victorian era red brick and granite structure designed by patton, fisher & miller.  It was designated as a landmark on may 26, 2004.

33rd and federal streets

Illinois Institute of Technology Main Building

The main building on the illinois institute of technology campus was built between 1891 and 1893.  Along with machinery hall, this building is a victorian era red brick and granite structure that was designed by patton, fisher & miller.  It was designated as a landmark on may 26, 2004.  

636 east 35th street

Stephen A. Douglas Tomb and Memorial

This tomb is located near Camp Douglas, which was a Union prisoner-of-war camp during the Civil War.  stephen douglas was a u.s. democratic senator from illinois who famously debated abraham lincoln but was defeated by him in the presidential election of 1860.  douglas died of typhoid in chicago on june 3, 1861.  he was buried on the shore of lake michigan.  The city designated this site a landmark on September 28, 1977.