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Take a virtual tour of the former Central Park Theater in North Lawndale, a 1917 movie palace that marked the start of a fruitful partnership between architects Rapp and Rapp and theater corporation Balaban and Katz.

Zoom Virtual Event (details to come)

This program will be hosted on Zoom. Approximately 3 hours before the start of the program, you will receive a link directly from Zoom with details about how to access and view it.

If you do not receive your link 2 hours prior to the start of the event, please contact Please note, if you do not contact us at least 30 minutes prior to the start of the program, we cannot guarantee admittance.

Join OHC 2020 community partner the North Lawndale Historical and Cultural Society for a panel discussion moderated by Dio Aldridge and a virtual tour led by CAC docent Mike McMains, featuring pastor Robert Marshall and North Lawndale Historical and Cultural Society chairwoman Blanche Suggs Killingsworth.

Converted to a church in 1971, the Central Park Theater was reportedly the first to offer mechanical air conditioning. It was designed by architects Rapp and Rapp and considered part of the Balaban and Katz cinema empire, which gave rise to numerous local landmarks, including the Chicago, Oriental (now Nederlander), Riviera and Uptown theaters.

Go virtually behind the scenes and learn more about the shuttered 1917 building which, despite its listing on the National Register of Historic Places, faces an uncertain future.


Mike McMainsMike McMains has been a CAC docent since 2005. He is certified to lead 10 different CAC tours and has created several others, including Elevated Architecture: Downtown “L” Train, Elevated Architecture: North Side Art and Must-See Chicago. Mike's professional background is in real estate investment management. Chicago has been his home for the last 20 years.

Program Speaker: Blanche Killingsworth

Blanche Killingsworth

Blanche Killingsworth is the President and co-founder of the North Lawndale Historical Society, an organization whose mission is to research, educate and archive the history of Lawndale. She is a long time North Lawndale resident and community activist. She has worked with many organizations and community members to preserve Lawndale History. She is a Diversity Scholar of the National Trust and member of League of Women Voters. 

Program Speaker: Dio Aldridge

Dio Aldridge

Dio Aldridge, pronouns he/él is a Blatinx Trans man born in Limon, Costa Rica and raised in Southern California. Dio currently serves as the Special Assistant to the Dean and Provost for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the School of Art Institute of Chicago and is also actively engaged in community organizing as the Co-Director of the LGBTQIA+ Center in Lansing, Michigan. Dio also recently started “Chosen Lifestyle Properties LLC”, which has housing for individuals who may not qualify for apartments due to socio-economic status, past non-violent crimes, or homelessness.

Program Speaker: Dr. Robert Marshall

Robert Marshall

Dr. Robert Marshall is an entrepreneur, an avid learner and an educator. He has a BA in Business from Roosevelt University, a master’s Degree from Olivet Nazarene University and a second master’s from Chicago State University. He later earned his Doctor of Divinity degree at Calvary School of Ministry. Dr. Marshall now serves as the senior pastor of the New House of Prayer Church of God in Christ, the AIM Chairman for the Sixth Jurisdiction of Illinois and an adjutant for the national Church of God in Christ. He works tirelessly to rebuild the community and reestablish House of Prayer as a viable resource for the North Lawndale Community.

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