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Friday, November 29, 2013

Capitol and Avalon Theaters




Opened in 1925, the Capitol was designed by the famed theater architect John Eberson. His other Chicago theaters included the Paradise and the still-remaining Avalon (now known as the New Regal). This very large neighborhood theater had an auditorium done in the atmospheric style, resembling an ancient Roman villa complete with statuary, vines, and miniature temples covering the organ grilles.

The Capitol’s lobby and foyer areas contained plaster copies of antique Greco-Roman reliefs, more statuary and mosaic tiled floors. Like the auditorium, the lobby had a blue starlit sky. At one time, the theater also contained a 3/17 Wurlitzer theater organ.

The Capitol was located in Chicago’s Auburn Gresham neighborhood on South Halsted Street near 79th Street.

The Capitol was very similar in design to Eberson’s Houston Majestic, built less than two years earlier, but unlike the Majestic, the Capitol contained organ grilles in place of side boxes. Originally built for the Cooney Brothers circuit for both stage acts and movies, the Capitol later became part of the Warner Brothers/Stanley-Warner chain, and changed to a movies-only format.

The Capitol remained open at least into the 70s, and was demolished by late 80s.

  1. Capitol Theatre in Chicago, IL - Cinema Treasures

    cinematreasures.org › ... › Illinois › Chicago › Auburn Gresham

    Opened in 1925, the Capitol was designed by the famed theater architect John Eberson. His other Chicago theatersincluded the Paradise and the stil...

  2. IL_Chicago--Capitol Theatre - Historic U.S. Tile Installations, A-M

    sites.google.com/site/tileinstallationdbal/il_chicago--capitol-theatre

    CAPITOL THEATRE--CHICAGO, IL. (Lost). Official Title of Installation, if any: Theatre interior. Materials Used: Ceramic tiles/mosaic tiles. General  ...
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The New Regal Theater(originally Avalon Theater) is located at 1641 East 79th Street, in Chicago, Illinois. The theater opened as the Avalon Theater in 1927. The design is an "atmospheric" Moorish Revival movie palace designed by John Eberson, who was nationally known for the atmospheric design. It is said that the theater's design was inspired by a Persian incense burner that Eberson found in an antique market.[5] The Avalon Theater was in business until the late 1970s.[6]

Afterward, the building served as the home of the Miracle Temple Church until becoming a performing arts venue once again in 1987. At that time, the theater was renamed in honor of the old Regal Theater, a cultural center for Chicago's African American community that was demolished in 1973. The old Regal Theater was located at 4719 S. King Dr.

It received Chicago Landmark status on June 17, 1992.[7]

The former owners of the New Regal Theater, Edward and Bettianne Gardner, closed the theater in 2003 after losing money for several years. In 2008, the building was purchased by a group that included Ron and Regina Evans with the hope of reviving it as a cultural venue.[8] However, it has seen little use.[9] The site did hold a party to celebrate Barack Obama's presidential nomination acceptance speech in August 2008.[10]





  1. New Regal Theater - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Regal_Theater
    The New Regal Theater (originally Avalon Theater) is located at 1641 East 79th Street, in Chicago, Illinois. The theater opened as the Avalon Theater in 1927.
  2. New Regal Theatre in Chicago, IL - Cinema Treasures

    cinematreasures.org › ... › Illinois › Chicago › South Chicago
    The Avalon Theatre opened on August 29th, 1927, with over 2500-seats. ... the long-lost Paradise Theatre, in Chicago'sGarfield Park neighborhood) for the  ...
  3. The Avalon Theatre - Chicago, IL - Concert Venue | Facebook

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Avalon-Theatre/290727054364735
    The Avalon TheatreChicago, IL. 167 likes · 1 was here. "COMING SOON"
  4. Lee Bey: Landmark Chicago theater on sale for $100,000 | WBEZ ...

    www.wbez.org/.../no-misprint-new-regal-theater-sale-100000-107186
    May 20, 2013 - Chicago's U.S. Equities is handling the listing, but representatives from ... Designed by John Eberson and built in 1927 as the Avalon Theater ...
  5. [PDF]

    FORMERLY THE AVALON THEATER 1641-59 ... - Landmarks Illinois

    www.landmarks.org/pdfs/New%20Regal%20Theater.pdf
    AVALON THEATER. 1641-59 EAST 79TH STREET.CHICAGO, ILLINOIS. PRELIMINARY STAFF. SUMMARY OF INFORMATION. SUBMITTED TO THE.
  6. New Regal Theater's Future Uncertain as Neighbors Hope for ...

    www.dnainfo.com/chicago/...chicago/new-real-theaters-future-uncertain-...
    Mar 20, 2013 - SOUTH CHICAGO — Samuel Bankston would like nothing more than ... the Avalon Theater, designed by movie palace architect John Eberson.
  7. The State of the New Regal Theater | Concerned Citizens Of Chatham

    www.chicagonow.com/concerned.../the-state-of-the-new-regal-theater/
    Apr 22, 2012 - The New Regal Theater (originally Avalon Theater) is located at 1641
    1. East 79th Street, in Chicago, Illinois. 








  • Nancy Benoit Capital Theatre
  • Brent Murray This above ad most likely was to appeal to visitors to the 1933 World's Fair. The Capitol opened on 1-19-1925. Here is an ad the day it opened.
    Brent Murray's photo.
  • Brent Murray The Capitol was like a palace when it first opened. It had 2,456 seats. Here is one picture of the the interior main lobby.
    Brent Murray's photo.
  • Brent Murray The Capitol's large neon sign could be seen for blocks.
    Brent Murray's photo.
  • Judy Adams My grandfather was the projectionist there for many years . I spent many weekends there. If you looked up in the theater it looked like stars !
  • Brent Murray Judy – here is a picture of the inside of the Capitol, however you cannot see the stars. I remember them. This picture is facing the southeast exit. There was a mortuary just to the south of the Capitol. If you went out these doors, you would be in the back of the place. I think there was theater parking in the back on the Emerald side and on the southeast corner of 80th and Halsted. As you can see, the Capitol did not have “stadium seating”. There were 2,456 seats.
    Brent Murray's photo.
  • Brent Murray Another picture of the Capitol balcony area - I'm glad they used tile and not linoleum.
    Brent Murray's photo.
  • Nancy Benoit White Castile was to the right of this ? Gossage Grill also on same block ?
  • Brent Murray The hamburger place by the Capitol was Wimpy’s. And it was just to the right or south of the Capitol on the northeast corner of 80th and Halsted. However it did look just like a White Castle. It was small and painted white and sold 12 cent hamburgers. I doubt if it was part of the Wimpy’s International Chain because it was nothing like the Wimpy’s downtown or in the plaza. Gossage Grill was on 78th and Halsted at about 7825 or so.
  • Nancy Benoit The hamburgers were really good !!
  • Nancy Benoit I want one now ~but wasn't there another Gossage Grill to the North of it ? of the show ?l
  • Brent Murray Here's a pic with the two stores north of the Capitol. Maybe you are thinking of the Annex restaurant which was just north of the Karmel Korn Shop. It was much nicer than than Gossage. Maybe you mean the Annex Restaurant - it was right next to the bus ...See More
    Brent Murray's photo.
  • Brent Murray Nancy - you may be thinking of the Highland Theater - there was a Gossage Grill just north of it on Ashland.
  • Brent Murray And sorry Colette - I know this is the upteenth time you have seen these pictures of the Capitol.
  • Judy Adams Brent how do you remember so much about the Capitol ? These picture bring back so many wonderful memories ! My brother had a pic of our grandfather taken in the "booth" of the Capitol enlarged ! It's an awesome pic .i remember eating at Wimpys with my Grandpa and Franks dept store on 79th street !
  • Judy Adams My grandparents met when he was a "barker ' and she played piano fort the stage shows.
  • Brent Murray Judy – As kids, when we weren’t playing baseball in the summer, we went to 79th and Halsted almost all the time and every once in a while to the Plaza. I have some more stuff on the Capitol – it was very unique in that it cost over $1 million dollars t...See More
    Brent Murray's photo.
  • Judy Adams No the "booth" was in the back up a narrow staircase and that's where the projector was .
  • Judy Adams Thank you for all the great pictures !
  • Morgan Park High Nice. Thanks for sharing. I put this photo and a few more on the bloghttp://empehi.com