DeKalb Theater

145 N. 3rd Street,
DeKalb, IL 60115

Unfavorite 8 people favorited this theater

Additional Info

Previously operated by: Anderson Theater Company, Kerasotes Theatres

Architects: Axel J. Claesson

Functions: Café

Styles: Streamline Moderne

Previous Names: New DeKalb Theater

Nearby Theaters

DeKalb Theatre, DeKalb, IL

The DeKalb Theater opened on March 16, 1949 with Dennis Morgan in “One Sunday Afternoon”. It was dubbed “The Theatre of Tomorrow”.

Part of the Anderson Theatres circuit, the New DeKalb Theater was designed by Axel J. Claesson and contained a television lounge on its balcony level. Top ticket prices were 50 cents, with children’s prices as low as 15 cents.

Twinned in its later years as part of the Kerasotes circuit it was closed in 1991. The theater was for a while operated as a “brew pub.” It has since closed.

Opened to such fanfare over five decades ago, “The Theatre of Tomorrow” is now the “The Theatre of Yesterday”. By early-2018 it was in use as The House Cafe.

Contributed by Cinema Treasures, Paul Salley

Recent comments (view all 13 comments)

Bruce C.
Bruce C. on November 16, 2009 at 6:33 pm

The marquee and vertical sign are still intact but the DeKalb Theatre is now being used by Debutantes School of Cosmetology and Nail Technology. If you look closely at my picture listed above (posted by Chuck), the poster boxes have signs for Debutantes. Here is the link to the school:

kencmcintyre on March 25, 2010 at 11:34 pm

Here is another photo. Function should be changed to school or beauty school.

kencmcintyre on March 25, 2010 at 11:36 pm

Check out the virtual tour on the school site. Some good interior photos there.

TLSLOEWS on April 11, 2010 at 8:10 pm

Nice virtual tour.

TommyK on August 14, 2012 at 3:59 am

Interesting Movie related link Tinseltoes. However, I need to set this 80-odd year old error straight. The 1930 ad piece has misidentified the photo as being of THE DEKALB theater on 3rd Street. The photo is actually of THE EGYPTIAN one block over on 2nd street. THE EGYPTIAN is also featured on this site. I was likewise confused when I first moved to the area. I used the theater as a landmark to find places near down-town. I kept getting lost until I realized there were TWO theater buildings in downtown DeKalb!

Darrel Wood
Darrel Wood on February 1, 2013 at 3:51 am

In 1929 the Egyptian Theatre replaced an earlier DeKalb Theatre that was located southwest about a block and a half away at First Street and Lincoln Highway. At some point it became a Montgomery Ward until the 70s when that moved out onto Sycamore Road (past the DeVal Drive in, also here on Cinema Treasures). It was remodeled into retail and office space in the 1970s (I recall my dentist having the most psychedelic foil wallpaper throughout his office there).

rivest266 on August 29, 2016 at 9:49 pm

March 14th, 1949 grand opening ad in the photo section.

Trolleyguy on March 19, 2018 at 3:54 pm

Now a cosmetology school and beauty salon. They have kept up the marquee very nicely.

50sSNIPES on July 5, 2022 at 11:40 pm

The theater was designed by Axel J. Claesson of Boone County, near Belvidere. He has been in the designing theaters business for many years for the Marchesi Bros. Theatres of Amboy, the A.D. McCullom Circuit of Hoopeston, and the Anderson Theatre Corporation of Morris. He was also the one who started off his career as a designer for the Sheridan Theatre in Chicago. He former spent seven years in Sweden and later went back to Chicago to continue his work at the city’s Art Institute under Professor Edward Wimmer of Vienna, Austria. Glenn W. Roush of 631 Lucinda Avenue of DeKalb was the original manager of the theater, who has been living in DeKalb since 1933, the Anderson Theatre Circuit since 1934, and at theater business since 1929. He has a wife and three children all in the ages of 3, 9, and 11 (as of 1949).

The DeKalb Theatre as of 1949 contains the following: The entire theater was also built out of concrete and steel with the only wood being used in the construction being the birch doors, trim, and maple double-reverse floor over concrete on the stage. It was also a fireproof theater, and also contains a television lounge with the use of a Zenith round television. The air conditioning system with a press of a button starts in motion with an unusual way. The pressing of the button automatically starts in motion the intricate machinery that heats or cool which circulates, filters, humidifies or dehumidifies 70,000 cubic feet of fresh air each minute. An unnamed Donald Duck cartoon and a newsreel was added on its grand opening attraction.

You must login before making a comment.

New Comment

Subscribe Want to be emailed when a new comment is posted about this theater?
Just login to your account and subscribe to this theater.