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.