Photo by Zol87 from Chicago, IL, USA (New Regal (Avalon) Theater) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons; taken in 2009***


Title of Installation:

Avalon Theater interior

Materials Used:

Ceramic tiles/mosaic tiles

General Description:

"The Avalon’s interior displayed an immense oriental rug, said to be the world;s largest, hanging from the lobby’s twenty-foot ceiling. ...The lobby also boasted a gigantic Wurlitzer organ. Five murals made of tiny inlaid mosaic tiles adorned the walls along with a series of floor-to-ceiling mirrors. The entire place was encrusted with imitations of semiprecious jewels. 

A working fountain and a grand piano graced the balcony. A winding marble staircase enhanced the splendor of the theater’s rich yellows and blues. The ceiling’s small electric lights twinkled like stars. It created an atmosphere of an imaginary courtyard surrounded by exotic buildings under a starry sky. In the 2,400-seat auditorium four fierce gargoyles guarded the stage. It all looked like pages from the stories of the Arabian Nights."*

"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. The Avalon Theater was in business until the late 1970s.

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. 

It received Chicago Landmark status on June 17, 1992.

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. However, it has seen little use."**

Technical Information (Size,mfg., etc.):
The manufacturer of the tiles is not known.

Year Created:

c. 1927

Year Installed, if different:

Does Installation Still Exist?


If Not, What Happened?

The theater has not been used in recent years.

Location of Installation:

1641 East 79th Street, Chicago, IL 60649

GPS Coordinates:

Directions to Installation:

Additional Information, Websites, Citations:

Photos courtesy of Tile Heritage Foundation unless otherwise stated.



***Find more photos of the New Regal Theater by this photographer at

Submitted by and Year:

Tile Heritage Foundation and Michael Padwee (tileback101"at"; July 2011

Photo from John Chuckman's website--The Avalon under construction, c. 1926-1927

Ticket Booth and entrance lobby