Paramount Theater, Anderson (Madison County)

This 1929 Spanish Eclectic style building was designed by Alvin Strauss, an architect from Fort Wayne. Chicago architect John Eberson specifically designed the theater. Eberson was known for his innovated designs of atmospheric theaters—theaters with ceilings that look like the sky complete with twinkling stars and moving clouds. He designed approximately 150 such theaters in the 1920s but only twelve exist today. Unfortunately the Depression resulted in the rather abrupt decline in popularity of atmospheric theaters due to their large size and operating costs.

Many theaters of the time utilized the Spanish Eclectic style, made popular as a result of the 1915 Panama-California Exposition in San Diego. The style represented an exotic and fantasy-like world that was a perfect match for the escapism associated with motion pictures. The motion of atmospheric theaters transformed entertainment into a total experience—it helped to propel the audience into another place and time.

The Paramount closed for a time in 1930 and 1931 but continued to run until 1969. From 1969-1989, the theater changed hands a number of times and by May 1989 it was in danger of demolition. Fortunately a group of community members formed a foundation to save and restore the Paramount.

Images

Paramont Theater, 1980

Paramont Theater, 1980

View of the front facade of the Paramont Theater. Image courtesy of the Indiana Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology | Source: Indiana Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology View File Details Page

Interior of Paramont Theater

Interior of Paramont Theater

Known for his innovative designs in atmospheric theaters, John Eberson completed the interior of the Paramont with ceilings that look like the sky complete with twinkling stars and moving clouds. Image courtesy of Indiana Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology | Source: Indiana Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology View File Details Page

Paramont Theater Facade Today

Paramont Theater Facade Today

A side view of the Paramont Theater. Today the theater hosts a variety of community plays, concerts, and other theatrical performances. Image courtesy of Indiana Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology | Source: Indiana Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology View File Details Page

Street Address:

1124 Meridian Street Anderson, IN 46016 [map]

Official Website:

http://www.theandersonparamount.org/

Cite this Page:

Indiana Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology , “Paramount Theater, Anderson (Madison County) ,” Discover Indiana, accessed April 23, 2017, http://indyhist.iupui.edu/items/show/158.
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