Raue Center for the Arts

26 N. Williams Street,
Crystal Lake, IL 60014

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50sSNIPES on April 15, 2023 at 4:39 pm

The El Tovar Theatre opened as an all-sound theater with the installations of RCA Photophone. The El Tovar opened its doors with Alice White in “Broadway Babies” along with Edward Van appearing live on-stage performing “A Night In Spain” and Billy Sweitzer’s performance on the Wurlitzer organ.

50sSNIPES on December 9, 2022 at 8:46 pm

On December 20, 1974, the Lake Theatre was renamed “Showplace 3” exactly 16 months after the launch of the Showplace I & II (which has its own Cinema Treasures page) off of 5004 U.S. Route 14.

On December 21, 1977, the “Showplace 3” was renamed “Showplace 5” in connection of the nearby Showplace I & II converting into a quad.

And in August 1986, the “Showplace 5” was renamed “Showplace 8” in connection of the nearby Showplace 1-4 becoming Showplace 1-7.

50sSNIPES on May 24, 2022 at 10:38 pm

On September 3, 1929, the El Tovar Theatre building was exploded by a bomb causing an estimated several thousands of dollars in damage, forcing to rebuild and reopen.

50sSNIPES on December 24, 2021 at 12:13 am

On Valentines Day 1952, The El Tovar Theatre Became As The Lake Theatre After Remodeling Since January 24, 1952.

50sSNIPES on July 14, 2020 at 10:32 pm

This Theater Apparently Replaced The Nearby Gem Theatre (1909 Until May 30th, 1929) Which Later Converted Into A Retail Modern Store Just Before The El Tovar Theatre Opened Later On July 25th, 1929.

The Gem Theatre Is Former Home To Operator R.W. Gracy Who Operated The Theater Since Early 1918 After He Closed The Nearby Crystal Theatre After An Almost 5 Year Run, And Being A Proprietor Of The Nearby Star Theatre Until Closing In March 1918 (2 Months After The Conductor Of The Star Theatre Passed Away In Elgin) After Winter Storms Slam Towards Crystal Lake, But Didn’t Damaged The Theater. The Gem Theatre However Closed After Christmas Week 1917 For 3 Months Due To The Severe Weather, But Reopened On March 23rd, 1918 And Continued Its First-Run Success Until 11 Years Later.

Trolleyguy on June 30, 2019 at 1:50 pm

The calendar on the theatre website has the showing classic films for members on a monthly basis. Function should be changed to: Movies, classic.

50sSNIPES on June 29, 2019 at 5:19 pm

Here’s An April 18th, 1980 Ad Of The Raue And Surrounding Areas I Believe: https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/182708866/

Texas2step on July 19, 2016 at 8:40 pm

The El Tovar Theatre opened on July 25th, 1929.

jmins on March 19, 2014 at 2:17 am

Thankss, Bruce C. Actually gave their group a tour and got some info from them. Just looked like some of the people on here had personal memories/info they might want to share.

jmins on March 18, 2014 at 8:00 pm

I am a volunteer with the Raue Center and working on the theatre’s history. If anyone is willing to share photos, stories, etc., please let me know. And in reply to an old post by Warren Harris asking about the pronunciation – the name rhymes with “wow”

BobFurmanek on February 15, 2011 at 6:47 pm

In the early 1950’s, the organ from this theater was purchased by Leon Berry and installed in his basement. One of the very first stereo album releases was “Leon Berry at the Giant Wurlitzer Pipe Organ, volume 3” released March 31, 1958 on Audio Fidelity records – AFSD, 5844.

gatormak on December 8, 2005 at 12:16 pm

I think it was called the Lake in the 1950’s and 1960’s during a span when it only showed movies. Sometime in the 1970’s Rhyne Management bought the building and named it Showplace 8, which was a sister theater to the old Showplace 1-7 on Rte 14 near Rte 31.

I have an employee pay logbook from the 1950’s that I took out of one of the basements while I worked there in the mid-90’s. I also have part of the marquee that was hung out front “Downtown Showplace” in white and black letters, which was the incarnation before the massive renovation.

I was in the building this year and went up into the control room above the balcony. The original movie projector and film platters were still up there and functional, so perhaps they are still considering movies from time to time.

Broan on December 7, 2005 at 7:51 pm

Also, the Crystal Lake historical society notes that it was also named the Lake at one point and includes more info at View link

Broan on December 7, 2005 at 7:36 pm

It was indeed an Elmer F. Behrns theater. Note, his name is properly spelled ‘Behrns’, not ‘Behrens’. Also notable is that Behrns was with Rapp & Rapp from 1917-1923. He also lived in Crystal Lake. In addition to the theaters listed at this site, he built St. Luke’s Church in Chicago (http://www.elca.org/archives/chicagochurches/stluke_gc.html) and apartments which no longer stand on W. Washington Blvd. Chicago Tribune, August 19, 1928, B3

Broan on October 10, 2005 at 2:52 am

I think this might’ve been from Elmer Behrens, plans originally for an unbuilt Lombard cinema look relatively close to the Raue, although different (cheapened?) in a few ways. See the Chicago Tribune, “Cinema for Du Page County Suburb”, July 24, 1927. This was part of the Polka Brothers circuit in the 1930s.

gatormak on June 24, 2005 at 11:28 am

I worked at this theater from 1993-1996 when it was known as Showplace 8. It was affiliated with Showplace 1-7 located on Rt 14, which was rebuilt in the mid 90’s as a 16 screen modern megaplex. My teenage career as an usher began with “The Firm” and ended with “Twister”. Often priding myself on pursuing 80 work weeks in the summer, I spent more time in the building than I did at home. Who could pass up the draw of $4.75/hour? The theater was one screen and could seat close to 900 when the balcony was open for big shows.

Broan on March 12, 2005 at 6:43 pm

The new link is here