Chicago’s Theater on the Lake is going through big changes, converting the summer-only historic theater into a year-round program and event facility according to the Chicago Park District (CPD).
And this renaissance isn’t its first.
The building was originally constructed in 1920 as the Chicago Daily News Fresh Air Fund Sanitarium. The sanitarium cared for sick children and provided free health services and lunches until it closed in 1939.
The building was given a new purpose during World War II, becoming an official recreation center for the United Service Organization (USO). The USO helped keep military service members connected to their families during their service.
The war ended in 1945, and in 1953 the building began its longest-lasting chapter as a theater building, and the rest is history (sort of).
In 2013, the professional theater tours at the building ceased, and it sat unused all year, except for some Halloween festivities according to the Chicago Tribune.
It eventually reopened to host performances in the summer, and now it’s on its way to being a year-round facility.
The constructions should be wrapping up soon, and you can get a sneak peek on the CPD’s website.
The renovated facility will include a 330-seat performance space, two adjacent spaces for specials events and a restaurant with an outdoor patio.