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El Tovar Theatre to receive historical designation

Published: Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014 3:45 p.m. CST • Updated: Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014 10:56 p.m. CST

CRYSTAL LAKE – The old El Tovar Theatre will receive a plaque from the McHenry County Historical Society for its significance in the community.

The plaquing ceremony is open to the public and scheduled for 11 a.m. Feb. 8 at the Raue Center for the Arts – the building that was renovated from the original El Tovar Theatre.

Before the state-of-the-art, 800-seat Raue Center for the Arts came into existence, it was the two-story El Tovar Theatre that featured dressing rooms, an orchestra pit, a modern stage and a large mezzanine.

The theater, which opened in 1929, was designed by Elmer F. Behrns who was known for his use of California Mission and Spanish Eclectic styles – still featured in the Raue Center today with Terra Cotta towers and clay-tile roofs. That preservation of architectural features is one reason the McHenry County Historical Society deemed it worthy of a plaque.

The El Tovar Theatre also was a hub for the city with apartments and two flanking store fronts.

The McHenry County Historical Society encourages people with architectural or historically significant buildings, homes, businesses or farms to apply for a plaque.

Those interested can contact the society at 815-023-2267 or

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