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I believe the screen was held up by round metal legs. The restaurant was built around the structure. Therefore the round legs were part and parcel of the restaurant’s decor. The restaurant was a separate business from the theater. One of the locals told me that the restaurant was foreclosed upon by its creditors. One day, during lunch, the creditors told the patrons to leave whether they were done dining or not. They shuffled the people out the door and locked her up. I think the theater continued to operate some time after the restaurant was closed, but not for very long.
I took my wife on our first date over 30 years ago to The Normal. Coal Miner’s Daughter was the name of the movie. Afterwards, we stopped at Sandy’s Drive-In. on N. Main. That and I still had money left after puting gas in my car. I started out the night with 20 bucks!. If memory serves me, and sometimes it don’t, the movie was a dollar. The Normal’s greatest asset is location, location, location. Barely two blocks walk from ISU dorms.
Update: Use 578 US Highway 6, La Salle, IL to locate it. Switch to BingMaps, Birdseye View. Then rotate so you are looking south, from the north. You can see the screen in it’s full, trapezoidal glory.
It appears that the push pin in the Google Map is a bit off. Move it about a half mile east. If you open Bing Maps, then use the satellite view, pan east until you see a “Y” shaped drive way. It currently is the home of a dirt auto race track, LaSalle Speedway.
While a “Y” shaped drive is not unusual, look towards the south end of the parking lot, directly south of the “Y” drive. THERE IT IS! The screen is still standing, or maybe part of it. Note the shadow cast by the late morning sun.
When I moved to the DeKalb area, in the late 1980’s, the movie screen was down, but I remember going to Wayman’s Ace Hardware in that strip mall for hardware. There was, indeed a covered walk-way between the parking lot and the back of the store. I remember seeing speaker poles and the parking ramps. Near as I can tell the walk-way was bounded by areas used as apartments at the time. The mall’s parking lot even had a defunct “Photo Cube” which was vacant at least since the aforementioned late 1980’s.
Sometime, around the turn of the century, The strip mall was bull dozed and the retail center was reconfigured with a number of smaller retail buildings. One of these buildings is the Dairy queen. If you Bing Map the Dairy Queen, that will get you in the right area. There is a grassy area behind the current buildings. This appears to be part of what was the parking area shown in the old aerial photo. Note the, now abandoned, rail road right-of way in the back of the lot, seen in both photos.
I’m not sure if the “Wayman’s” owned the property their hardware store stood on or leased it. The
Hardware store only lasted a short time before they sold-out. The ‘new’ Wayman’s Ace Hardware store building is now (2012) occupied by The Salvation Army thrift store.
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!