Egyptian Theater (DeKalb) About to Undergo $4.5 Million Renovation

The DeKalb (Illinois) Daily Chronicle is reporting that the 90 year old Egyptian Theater is moving ahead with plans for a $4.5 Million renovation. Plans call for air conditioning and expansion of rest room facilities. (Links below.)

The air conditioning is to help preserve the historic structure and encourage more use of the theater year round. The proposed units are high efficiency but are comparable in size to a school bus. The installation will be on the roof to preserve the historic appearance of the fašade but will also require some changes to the roof structure to accommodate the weight.

The city will put up $2.5 Million with the rest of the funds provided by donations. The theater says it serves 40,000 patrons annually that has a $2 million impact on the local economy each year. The upgrade should spark a 35% growth in attendance and economic impact.

The theater opened on December 10, 1929 as a combination movie and Vaudeville theater. It continued as a dual purpose theater although it reverted to mostly a movie house by the 1970s. It fell into disrepair and disuse, and was closed in 1977. The owners turned the theater over to the City of DeKalb at that time. The theater was on the verge of condemnation when a group of citizens worked to restore the Egyptian. It was added to the NRHP in 1978 and a $2.5 million renovation began in 1979. The theater reopened in 1983.

Daily Chronicle website: Egyptian Theatre set to undergo $4.5 milllion renovation project.
Cinema Treasures: Egyptian Theater, DeKalb.
"History" on the Egyptian Theater Website: The Historic Egyptian Theater.


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