Princess Theater

330 N. Main Street,
Rushville, IN 46173

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Princess Theater

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The Princess Theater, located on Rushville’s Main Street, opened in 1915 in a building owned by the Masons (the organization still owns the building today). Originally, the Princess Theater was exclusively for live performances, including plays and later vaudeville, but in 1936, the theater became a movie house. The Princess Theater remained in operation into the late-1980’s but has sat vacant since then.

A group founded in 2002, Princess Theater, Inc., with the intention of restoring the theater to its 1930’s appearance, hopes to use the Princess Theater 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 10 comments)

kencmcintyre on June 8, 2008 at 2:08 am

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 8:02 pm

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

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 24, 2014 at 9:21 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 8:16 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.

buffettpdog1 on March 17, 2015 at 12:06 pm

After several starts and stops, renovation and restoration of The Princess Theatre Building is underway. This Article from the Rushville Republican provides some of the details.

buffettpdog1 on March 17, 2015 at 12:22 pm

A quick history of The Princess Theatre in Rushville, IN. The Princess was opened as part of the Masonic Hall complex in 1915. The northern third of the building was a bowling alley, the middle third was the theatre and the southern third was a post office. The Masonic Lodge occupied the upstaris space as it had until the fall of 2014.

In 1918, the theatre was closed to expand into the space occupied by the bowling alley. The Princess Theatre closed in the 1990’s.

The plan for renovation is that the former masonic temple upstairs will become the new Rushville City Hall and Council Chambers. The former post office and later retail store on the south side of the building will be a higher education facility (tennant to be named soon) and the Theatre will be restored. One other correction is that sound was installed in 1929 and the first talkie was “The Rainbow Man” shown on July 14.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 17, 2015 at 9:45 pm

Here’s an announcement about the Masonic Lodge building in Rushville, from the “Contracts Awarded” section of the May 23, 1914, issue of The American Contractor:

“Moving Picture Theater, Store & Lodge Bldg.: 2 sty. & bas. $35,000. Rushville, Ind. Archt. Herbert Faltz, 1108 Indiana Pythian bldg., Indianapolis. Owner Masonic Temple Asso., Earl Payne, chm., building committee, Rushville. Genl. contractor Bert Anderson, Rushville. On second sty. brick work. Brick, Bedford stone trim. Tar & gravel roofing & sheet metal work to Model Sheet Metal Co. 811 E. 23d st., Indianapolis. Genl. contractor will do plastering & painting by day work.”
The architect “Herbert Faltz” was probably Herbert William Foltz, who practiced in Indianapolis from 1898 to 1933.

DavidAE on July 9, 2015 at 4:37 pm

Rushville councilman posts viral dance video to raise funds for city restoration project

Posted: Jul 09, 2015 11:19 AM EDT Updated: Jul 09, 2015 11:25 AM EDT By WTHR Channel 13 Connect RUSHVILLE, Ind. –

A Rushville city councilman is putting his dance moves to the test, hoping a viral video will help him raise funds for the restoration of downtown Rushville’s Princess Theater.

Councilman Brian Sheehan recorded a video of himself busting moves and it quickly went viral with more than one million views. So, he decided to use the video to help a cause close to his heart.

Watch the video here if it doesn’t display above.

“Brian is a wonderfully pleasant guy that works tirelessly donating his time and talents to improve his community,” said Shane Dunigan, one of Sheehan’s friends.

A city advisory board, which Sheehan is a part of, has been exploring options for the restoration of Rushville’s Princess Theater. They hope to restore it to its former glory and have asked the mayor to send out requests for architects to develop proposals for reuse of the space.

Sheehan is asking anyone who watches his video and who enjoys it to visit his GoFundMe page and donate money to the Heart of Rushville, which oversees fund disbursements for the project.

buffettpdog1 on September 4, 2015 at 6:42 pm

The Princess is now open for business on a limited basis. It has shown two movies and his preparing to show its third, Gone with the Wind on 26 Sept. The interior of the theatre has been demolished and the City is working to begin restoration of the interior and exterior. Follow the progress for the theatre on Facebook at princess theatre restoration

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