Chicago's South Side Jazz Clubs,
ca. 1915-40's

Vassar's Scale Steppers at Lincoln Gardens,
East 31st Street, ca. 1920

From the CJA John Steiner Collection, photographer unknown]

Welcome to the Chicago Jazz Archive's South Side Jazz Clubs Project. This site represents our latest endeavor to bring some of the archive's invaluable jazz studies sources into an interactive and public setting. It features a series of maps depicting the locations of Chicago's jazz clubs from roughly 1915 to the early 1940's. Clicking on many of these locations will bring you to a new page featuring articles, advertisements, and/or photographs associated with the corresponding club. Additionally, we have generated lists, in both alphabetical and numerical order formats, of the clubs and the musicians known to have played at each respective venue during those years. As with all research ventures, this exhibit is neither definitive nor complete; we will be updating this site as we encounter additional documentation and ephemera relating to the South Side jazz club scene. We present this exhibit with the aim of aiding the research of scholars, musicians, and fans of early Chicago jazz.

The Maps:

 Entire Map (201 KB)

 Clubs North of 39th Street (78 KB)

 Clubs Between 39th and 55th Streets (56 KB)

 Clubs South of 55th Street (65 KB)

The Lists:

 Alphabetical listing of clubs and musicians

 Numerical listing of clubs and musicians


The sources for these maps of jazz venues were provided by U of C alumnus Leon H. Lewis (College '28), who passed away on June 12, 2003. Mr. Lewis started work on the map in 1980; he generously donated it to the Chicago Jazz Archive, which made it available on the CJA website in 1999. We are grateful to Mr. Lewis for allowing us to make this priceless gift available to jazz scholars all over the world. More about Mr. Lewis.

The Chicago Jazz Club Project online archive was written and generated by CJA Assistant Rich Jankowsky, graduate student in ethnomusicology at the University of Chicago, in conjunction with Archive Curator Deborah Gillaspie.

© Chicago Jazz Archive, 1999-2003. All rights reserved.