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Places, Spaces and Changing FacesLincoln Gardens
Lincoln Gardens, Where an unknown trumpeter named Louis Armstrong got his start Detail from page of Chicago Defender June 17, 1922: Lincoln Gardens Theater Ad
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Lincoln Gardens [Royal Gardens]. 459 East 31st Street, at South Cottage Grove Avenue. Chicago. Dance hall.

Audio sample Chimes Blues
King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band

Recorded April 6, 1923
(Courtesy Columbia/Legacy)


>A huge venue, Lincoln Gardens could accommodate around 1000 dancers and was open from the early years of the century. It was originally known as the Royal Gardens, but the name was changed to Lincoln Gardens between February and July 1921. After a fire late in 1924 the hall was magnificently refurbished for its reopening on October 28, 1925, when the name was changed to the New Charleston Café; it later became known as the Café de Paris. Dave Peyton led a band there from late November 1926, but in June 1927, it was bombed — perhaps in gang warfare — and closed.

The residency at the Royal Gardens in 1918 of the Original Creole Band, led by Bill Johnson, established the dance hall's reputation as a venue for jazz, and initiated a series of appearances by New Orleans musicians that were of great significance for the development of the music in Chicago. King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band played a residency from June 17, 1922 until February 1924, when Oliver left and his former sidemen Johnny Dodds, Baby Dodds, and Honore Dutrey formed a new resident group with Bob Shoffner on trumpet; Oliver returned in June, with different personnel, and remained until the fire closed the hall at the end of the year.

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