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Palace Hotel Ballroom (Exterior)

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Palace Hotel Ballroom (Exterior)
Real Location: South Shore Country Club
Address: 7059 S. South Shore Drive, Chicago IL
Status: Location still exists
URL: http://www.south-shore.com/

Description: (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

The South Shore Cultural Center, in Chicago, Illinois, is a cultural facility located at 71st Street and South Shore Drive, in the city's South Shore neighborhood. It encompasses the grounds of the former South Shore Country Club.

The South Shore Country Club was founded in 1905 as a suburban counterpart to the urban clubs of Chicago, such as the Athletic Club. The original building was built at that time, designed by architects Marshall and Fox in a Mediterranean Revival style. In 1909, a theater was added, but in 1916, Marshall and Fox were engaged to design a newer building, still in the Mediterranean Revival style. This beautiful building still stands.

Besides the main clubhouse, the Country Club also had stables, a nine-hole golf course, tennis courts, a bowling green, and a private beach on Lake Michigan.

By the early 1960s, the character of the neighborhood was changing rapidly. As Hyde Park, Woodlawn, and South Shore became racially integrated, the wealthy whites who formed the membership in the club started to leave the neighborhood in droves. In 1967, the club considered opening its membership to Jews (for the first time since the 1930s) and African Americans (for the first time ever). The decision at that time not to open membership accelerated the decline of the club; in 1973, the decision was made to liquidate its assets, and in 1975, the property was sold to the Chicago Park District for $9,775,000.

A coalition of neighborhood activists and historic preservationists successfully convinced the Park District not to demolish the buildings. Instead, the facility was renamed the South Shore Cultural Center. Over two decades, the main buildings were slowly renovated and repurposed. Other buildings were torn down, much to the consternation of the groups who lobbied so hard to save them.

Today the Cultural Center houses the South Shore Cultural Center School of the Arts (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). In addition, there are banquet facilities for rent for weddings, receptions, and meetings. The golf course is still open, and open to the public, as are the beach, picnic areas, gardens, and a nature center. The horse stables are currently used by the Chicago Police Department's mounted unit.

It competes with the Jackson Park 63rd Street Beach House and Promontory Point as South Side beachfront special use facilities in the Park District.

Coordinates: 41.76815833333333,-87.56399999999999
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