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Chicago’s ‘Alley of Death’

Couch Place is the official name of the unassuming alley that sits in the middle of downtown Chicago, just behind the legendary James M. Nederlander Theatre (formerly the Oriental Theatre). Today it serves as a pass-through for pedestrians, holding the stage door for the Nederlander and its loading area. In 1903, however, this alleyway was the site of unimaginable horrors.

Prior to the construction of the Oriental Theatre in 1926, the little bit of land on Randolph Street between State Street and Dearborn was home to the Iroquois Theatre. It was constructed hastily in the summer and early fall of 1903. The Iroquois was hyped up to be the best of the best, extra elegant, reportedly costing over a million dollars.

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