DeKalb Theater

145 N. 3rd Street,
DeKalb, IL 60115

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50sSNIPES on July 5, 2022 at 3:40 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.

Trolleyguy on March 19, 2018 at 8:54 am

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

rivest266 on August 29, 2016 at 1:49 pm

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

Darrel Wood
Darrel Wood on January 31, 2013 at 7:51 pm

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).

TommyK on August 13, 2012 at 7:59 pm

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!

TLSLOEWS on April 11, 2010 at 12:10 pm

Nice virtual tour.

kencmcintyre on March 25, 2010 at 4:36 pm

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

kencmcintyre on March 25, 2010 at 4:34 pm

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

Bruce C.
Bruce C. on November 16, 2009 at 10:33 am

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:

teecee on July 28, 2005 at 8:42 am

not sure if Mr. Rybinski owned the building or just the business.

Business operated from 1994 to 1998 at this theater.

ChiTownMan on July 20, 2005 at 5:56 pm

Does anyone know how to get in contact with the owners to see if the Theatre is for sale?

Darrel Wood
Darrel Wood on October 29, 2004 at 9:04 pm

I think this opened around 1939. It was owned by Kerasotes in the 70s and 80s. It was twinned in the early 1980s, and became a brew & view after Kerasotes closed it.
It was a long, narrow auditorium. I recall it having an unusual shaped cove lighting along each side wall, with a somewhat abstract/deco mural. When the curtain opened, it curved around the corners of the auditorium and partly slid into the wall…very interesting. In later years the curtain was alway open, and I think they painted over the murals. I recall seeing a movie in the late 70s and the balcony was open…the late deco furniture and carpet was still in the balcony lobby. A bit threadbare. When I went back after it was twinned (a wall was raised right about the front edge of the balcony, so the main auditorium was mostly intact), the furniture was gone.