Princess Theater

330 N. Main Street,
Rushville, IN 46173

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Princess Theater

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The Princess, located on Rushville’s Main Street, opened in 1918 in a building owned by the Masons (the organization still owns the building today). Originally, the Princess was exclusively for live performances, including plays and later vaudeville, but in 1936, the theater became a movie house. The Princess remained in operation into the late 80s but has sat vacant since then.

A group founded in 2002, Princess Theater, Inc., with the intention of restoring the theater to its 1930s appearance, hopes to use the Princess to show movies and for community gatherings. It is expected to cost nearly $200,000 to restore the theater.

Contributed by Bryan

Recent comments (view all 5 comments)

kencmcintyre on June 7, 2008 at 6:08 pm

Here is the text of a press release from February 2005. Nothing has been done since then. One local politician listed as his goal for 2008 resolution of the impasse regarding the restoration of the Princess.

Press Release

( Rushville , IN ) The Heart of Rushville and the Rush County Economic & Community
Development Corporation (ECDC) are pleased to announce that an Indiana reservation
grant in the amount of $2,000 from Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana has been
secured to conduct a feasibility study on the rehabilitation and future use of Princess
Theater. The Masonic organization currently owns the building and has participated in
exploring future options for the Princess Theater. The grant requires a local match from the community; both the Masonic organization and ECDC have pledged $500 each for the local match. Consequently, an amount of $3,000 will be available to complete the feasibility study. The Heart of Rushville has agreed to serve as the non-profit 501 © 3 organization that will spearhead this project. In addition, the Rush County Heritage has agreed to support this project. Although the grant is small, it is a first step in determining the feasibility of rehabilitating this notable building in Downtown Rushville. The Princess Theater is located in the Historic Commercial District of Rushville and may be eligible for Historic Preservation tax credits.

Potential future uses for the building that are being considered include: a community movie theater, cabaret theatre, performing arts venue, arts & cultural center, and continued home for the Masonic Lodge.

A committee composed of representatives from the Masonic organization, Heart of
Rushville, ECDC and others will be moving forward to select an architect/consultant to
complete the feasibility study.

For immediate release- February 3, 2005
Greg Griffin
Executive Director
Rush County Economic & Community Development Corporation
315 N. Main Street
Rushville , IN 46173
Phone: (765) 938-ECDC (3232)

FAX: (765) 932-4191

RubyTrio on November 4, 2009 at 12:02 pm

The marquee has been removed from the front of the building.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 24, 2014 at 1:21 pm

The contents of the building, including the theater’s old seats and other equipment, were auctioned off by the Masons on September 21. The lodge sold the building to the City of Rushville in August. The city plans to put a new roof on the building and perform other maintenance immediately, but the long term plan includes the restoration of the theater as a multi-use venue. Grants are bing sought for the project, according to this article in the the August 25, 2014, issue of the Rushville Republican.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 29, 2014 at 12:16 pm

Because the Masonic Ldoge building looks like it was built all at once, and it was quite new in 1920, this item from the January 17, 1920, issue of Exhibitors Herald has be wondering if the Princess Theatre started out in a different location and later moved into the Masonic building:

“To Remodel Princess

“RUSHVILLE, IND.— Walter F. Easley, manager and owner of the Princess theatre, has purchased the adjoining building which has been occupied by a bowling alley and will enlarge and reconstruct the Princess to take in the ground thus acquired. Work will be begun January 19, plans necessitating the closing of the house for six weeks or two months while reconstruction is in progress.”

If the Princess was elsewhere in 1920, the theater in the Masonic building might have operated under a different name in its early years. Theater names I’ve found that were used in Rushville, Indiana, over the years are the Gem, the Vaudette, the Portola, the Mystic, and the Castle.

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