(l.) Dekalb's Egyptian Theatre in 1938; (r.) its restored facade today.
For decades, when the people of DeKalb, Ill., have spent an evening out at the movies, or attended a concert or other event, they’ve done so under the watchful eye of Ramses II.
The Egyptian pharaoh, who reigned from 1279 to 1213 BC, served as inspiration to architect Elmer F. Behrns when he designed the northern Illinois community’s downtown landmark, the historic Egyptian Theatre, in 1929. Behrns channeled the ancient ruler as he envisioned a temple-like entrance flanked by two pharaoh sculptures, an elaborate sacred scarab beetle-centered stained glass window, and a colorful tiled lobby floor.
At the time, Egyptian architecture was a nationwide craze set off by the discovery of King Tut’s tomb in 1922. Today, DeKalb’s Egyptian is one of few left standing. But standing it is, and even 84 years after it was built, the regal structure is still drawing loyal crowds.... Read More →