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The Paramount Theatre

August 30, 2011

The Liberty Theatre opened on February 11, 1918 in Youngstown, Ohio. It was designed by architect C. Howard Crane, later known for designing the Fox Theatre in Detroit, Michigan.  The 1,800 seat Liberty opened as a vaudeville theater, and was managed by C.W. Diebel.  Diebel’s father had built a theater on the same lot as the Liberty, but it was demolished to make way for what would become the Paramount Theatre.


Main level of the Paramount Theatre.

The exterior of the building was constructed with white glazed terra cotta, and the interior was decorated in the Adamesque style. Due to the Liberty’s wartime construction, it was very difficult to get the steel required for the framework. In 1929 the Liberty was purchased by Paramount Pictures and renamed the Paramount Theatre. Paramount Pictures spent $200,000 modernizing the building and installing a sound system so the theater could show sound films (or ”talkies”). The Paramount thrived for more than 50 years before closing in 1976. 

In April 2006 Grande Venues, Inc purchased the Paramount.  Grande Venues had  planned to restore it by adding a dance hall on the main floor and a one- or two-screen movie theater in the balcony. However, the restoration plans were never applied and it was purchased by the city of Youngstown. The theater is currently slated for demolition in 2012.

The balcony level of the Paramount Theatre.

The remains of the second floor ladies restroom.

The main floor of the Paramount Theatre.

The projectors are still in the projection booth.

The remains of a vent on the ceiling of the theater.

Another view from the balcony of the Paramount Theatre

The exterior of the Paramount Theatre.

The remains of the Hillgreen – Lane organ sit backstage.

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16 Comments leave one →
  1. Toni permalink
    September 1, 2011 5:59 am

    Did you happen to photograph any of the other historic closed theaters in Ohio?

    • September 13, 2011 12:18 am

      No, I did not. I am planning a trip back very soon though.

  2. Gabrielle Pierce permalink
    September 16, 2011 12:01 am

    So sad. And apparently a pipe organ in this theatre?! I see some of the pipes that remain……would love to know more about that great instrument. Excellent photos, thanks……sigh……

    • September 16, 2011 12:08 am

      Gabrielle – All the information I could find was that it’s a Hillgreen- Lane organ and it was installed in 1917.

  3. Gabrielle Pierce permalink
    September 16, 2011 12:15 am

    Thanks, Matt….was this just LEFT there, to rot along with the rest of this wonderful place, I wonder? SO many treasures here, just criminal……:(

  4. Gabrielle Pierce permalink
    September 16, 2011 8:37 pm

    Ohhhh, that just tears at me……….awful. This is all such a huge, sad waste……..

  5. October 7, 2011 3:29 pm

    I watched a lot of Good Movies in there. I almost wish I hadn’t seen the Pics & just remember it the way it was. I worked at the Palace Theater in Youngstown around 1953. They just demolished it & put in a Parking Lot.

  6. October 27, 2011 5:06 pm

    Beautiful photography, Matt.

    Such a waste of a great old movie palace

  7. July 10, 2013 9:15 am

    Demolition has begun. Thanks for these photos.

  8. christa parish permalink
    September 29, 2013 10:51 pm

    While I was not surprised to find a pic on the MSN feed of abandoned sites of my hometown of Youngstown, http://photos.msn.com/slideshow/weather/most-beautiful-abandoned-places-around-the-world/235178n6#21

    I was stunned to find your beautiful series of the theatre. I expected to see one of the mills or blast furnaces that had our hearts die when they went cold. Thanks for showing us a bit of the beauty tucked into a grey steel town.

  9. Scar68 permalink
    March 6, 2014 5:52 am

    Amazing photos. Thank you for sharing your passion.

  10. Erri permalink
    March 16, 2014 5:18 pm

    Those old theaters are so ugly inside and out. Yuck! The pipe organ’s “guts” alone are full of toxic materials. All of that lead in those pipes and all of that lead in the theater’s layers of peeling paint)) yikes! It would be great if some hot shot investor invested in Detroit and really cleaned it up and brought some new found vitality to the old motor city. Those old abandoned decaying buildings and factories are so gross!

    • Gabrielle Pierce permalink
      March 16, 2014 6:59 pm

      Erri, are you for real??? There is a sad beauty in these places that speaks of their glorious pasts. There are no toxic materials in the “guts” of a pipe organ. And yes, the pipes are lead—so as long as you don’t go sucking on them, they are not a health threat. Geez.

Trackbacks

  1. Historic Preservation Month: Downtown Youngstown’s Paramount Theater in ruin – Metro Monthly
  2. Theater Updates | After the Final Curtain

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