Raue Center for the Arts

26 N. Williams Street,
Crystal Lake, IL 60014

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Related Websites

Raue Center for the Arts (Official)

Additional Info

Architects: Elmer F. Behrns

Functions: Concerts, Movies (Classic), Performing Arts

Styles: Mission Revival

Previous Names: El Tovar Theatre, Lake Theatre, Showplace 3, Showplace 5, Showplace 8

Phone Numbers: Box Office: 815.356.9212

Nearby Theaters

Raue Center for the Arts

Opened July 25, 1929 as the El Tovar Theatre, this theatre was a welcome addition to northern Illinois as a movie and vaudeville theatre. It was practically destroyed by a bomb on September 3, 1929.

The interior, complete with dressing rooms and an orchestra pit, was designed in the Mission style and a spectacular Wurlitzer 2 manual 4 ranks pipe organ occupied its own loft close to the stage. It was closed in January 1952 to be remodeled and reopened as the Lake Theatre on February 14, 1952. On December 20, 1974 it was renamed Showplace 3. On December 21, 1977 it was renamed Showplace 5 and in August 1986 it was renamed Showplace 8.

The El Tovar Theatre reopened in 2001 as the Raue Center for the Arts. The renovation included expanding the stage and completely re-doing the stage house. The Mission style decorations have been retained.

Contributed by Dave Wiegers

Recent comments (view all 18 comments)

jmins on March 18, 2014 at 1:00 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”

jmins on March 18, 2014 at 7:17 pm

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.

Texas2step on July 19, 2016 at 12:40 pm

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

50sSNIPES on June 29, 2019 at 9:19 am

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

Trolleyguy on June 30, 2019 at 5:50 am

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 July 14, 2020 at 2:32 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.

50sSNIPES on December 23, 2021 at 4:13 pm

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

50sSNIPES on May 24, 2022 at 2:38 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 9, 2022 at 12:46 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 April 15, 2023 at 8:39 am

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.

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