The Paramount Theatre

The Paramount is one of the 22 theaters in my new book “After the Final Curtain: The Fall of the American Movie Theater.” Find out more here.

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 was demolished in 2013.

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.

16 thoughts on “The Paramount Theatre

  1. 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……

  2. 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……:(

  3. 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.

  4. 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!

    1. 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.

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