Although the South Shore Cultural Center is not in Jackson Park Highlands, it has been the site of gatherings in honor of its residents, like Jesse Jackson’s 65th birthday last October.
Founded in 1905 by Lawrence Heyworth, president of the Chicago Athletic Club, the center was originally known as the South Shore Country Club. Its original building and a later expansion were designed by Marshall and Fox, who also designed the Drake Hotel.
Membership peaked in the ’50s, just as African Americans began moving into the South Shore neighborhood, according to the Chicago Park District’s Web site. The private club, which excluded blacks, closed in the early ’70s.
In 1974, the Chicago Park District purchased the club with the intention of tearing it down. Fortunately, preservationists intervened. The stunning, historic structure has appeared in films like the Blues Brothers and the Matt Damon / Ben Affleck-produced Stolen Summer.
More importantly, it has also hosted a great many weddings, cultural exhibitions and par-3 golf games.