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News & Views of Phillips Since 1976
Sunday May 19th 2024

Avalon an oasis on Lake Street

The Avalon was built on the site of the 1909 Royal Theatre later named Seventh Ward Theatre, Rosebud Theatre and Reno Theatre.  In 1924 was made over: Architect Ekman & Holm, renamed Avalon, and increased seating to 300. In 1937 it was enlarged again; Architect Perry E. Crosier to Streamline Moderne style using steel fabricated by Minneapolis Moline, 13 blocks away. It features a corner marquee tower with neon and incandescent colored lights restored twice since 1988.

The change to “Fine Arts” in 1955, starting with Welles”' “Othello” and to an art/foreign policy which soon gave away to sex pictures and porn. Then it was called the “Avalon Fine Arts” until Avalon name fell off marquee.

The theatre had an artesian well supplying a water fountain (on 2nd floor above the circular staircase and next to the “Crying Room”) and water sprayed into a metal chamber, stage right, to cool air blown through tunnels and ductwork as an early type of “air conditioning.”

In 1987 HOBT “re-purposed” this theater, renewed the intersection, and embellished the neighborhoods”' reputations just as it turns clay, water, paste, cardboard and talent into an ancient art form via participatory, community involvement and ownership.

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