Paramount Theatre

121-27 3rd Avenue SE,
Cedar Rapids, IA 52401

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spectrum on December 18, 2014 at 8:22 pm

The restored organ had its first concert in March 2014.

dferrete on October 25, 2014 at 5:01 am

For those interested in hearing the Cedar Rapids Paramount Wurlitzer organ, it will be presented in concert Thursday evening October 30, 2014. Tickets can be obtained from the Paramount Box Office or Ticket Master. There is a behind the scenes tour of the Wurlitzer organ chambers prior to the performance.

Jakorns on October 18, 2012 at 4:38 pm

The Paramount will reopen Nov. 3 2012. The organ console has returned to the theater, but it will still be another year before the rest of the components return and are installed. The stage house has been expanded and the orchestra pit enlarged. The seating has been reduced to around 1700.

flyboyslc1 on February 12, 2012 at 2:28 pm

The organ components were removed from the theatre over the February 11th weekend. They are on their way to Reno Nevada for a complete restoration that will take about 18 months. I am the job super on the restoration. You may enjoy watching some of my videos on YouTube that i have posted regarding the restoration. Search for username flyboyslc1 There are currently about half a dozen videos and i post one or two more a week. The theatre is scheduled to be open again late October of 2012.

Snordmann on January 22, 2012 at 3:52 pm

How is the organ restoration proceeding? Anyone know what other organ elements are needed? I have a lead if someone has a contact. Thx

Jakorns on February 27, 2011 at 1:45 am

The pipes for the organ and the relay are still in the chambers. The console is a total loss as is the blower. A replacement blower has been located. There are possible leads on a replacement console of similar vintage that can be redecorated to match the original. Restoring the organ is very much part of the plan.

0123456789 on January 31, 2011 at 7:21 pm

Are they going to put the original organ back and in working condition?

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on December 24, 2010 at 10:10 am

Oct.31 1940 has Baby Sandy in “SANDY GETS GER MAN”.

spectrum on November 12, 2010 at 8:45 pm

Detailed restoration plans for the theatre have been released; the restoration will include a complete restoration of the WurliTzer and replication of the original console.

spectrum on January 11, 2010 at 7:00 pm

The CR-ATOS website has more updates on the organs. Consoles for both the Paramount and Theatre Cedar Rapids organs were damaged “beyond repair” and the soplor chamber of the Barton received heavy water damage. CR-ATOS and Cedar Rapids Barton inc. are working together on restoration and conservation the Barton at theatre Cedar Rapids, which will include a replica of the original console. The city of Cedar Rapids recently approved a restoration plan for the Paramount and in early 2010 planning efforts will begin for the restoration of the Paramount Wurlitzer and replication of the console.

The renovation of the Theatre Cedar Rapids and the Barton has already commenced, and is scheduled for completion by spring 2011.

Here is a photo of the partly submerged console of the Barton at the Theatre Cedar Rapids:

View link

Here is a photo of the toppled console of the Paramount Wurlitzer:
View link

A more detailed set of articles on the restoration progress of both theatres and organs with more photos and updates can be found at the main CR-atos page:

kencmcintyre on January 9, 2010 at 6:54 am

Here is a December 1952 ad from the Cedar Rapids Gazette:

Jakorns on February 25, 2009 at 7:32 pm

The city is moving ahead with plans to restore the theater. FEMA is providing 90% and the state 10% of the funding. Debate about building a new, larger auditorium stopped when folks realized that the Feds would only pay for restoration not replacement. Seems that pesky “historical” designation screwed over those morons that wanted to build some bland, characterless glass and steel box.

deleted user
[Deleted] on January 9, 2009 at 7:30 pm

The Paramount unfortunately got flooded again, this time due to a broken water pipe. Cedar Rapids Theater Organ Society’s website ( has an article from December 26, 2008 on the flooding. It was apparently mainly the basements and orchestra pit that were affected this time. The console of the Wurlitzer organ was removed after this past summer’s flood and is in storage, so at least it has been spared from being immersed again. However, it looks like now yet more work will have to be done to clean up the Paramount.

spectrum on September 28, 2008 at 11:16 am

According to CRATOS, both consoles were damaged, particularly the one at the Paramount, which was toppled over and tossed around by 8+ feet of water. The console at the Theatre Cedar Rapids was hit by 4 feet of water but remained standing. Both organ consoles have been removed to a restoration site by the CRATOS.

The CRATOS website is providing regular updates, but unfortunately the Paramount’s website is down; I hope their renovations are continuing.

Faustalicious on June 20, 2008 at 11:21 am

“I suppose the organs must be destroyed.”

We certainly hope not! CRATOS (The Cedar Rapids Area Theatre Organ Society) is providing updates on the situation with the organs (Paramount and Iowa Theatres) on or website:

Broan on June 13, 2008 at 12:07 pm

I suppose the organs must be destroyed.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on June 13, 2008 at 10:43 am

Yes, I saw TV news tape made yesterday in Cedar Rapids, probably from a boat downtown. The entrance of the Paramount appeared to have water at least 4 to 5 feet deep in front of it. What a shame! I visited the Paramount in the mid-1980s with a Theatre Historical Society group. It’s a large and beautiful theater. The water in Cedar Rapids appears to be quite a bit deeper than the water in downtown New Orleans caused by Hurricane Katrina.

drumrboy36 on June 13, 2008 at 5:33 am

today the news showed downtown cedar rapids flooded, with the waters nearly up to the marquee on the paramount theatre.

kencmcintyre on January 8, 2007 at 2:52 pm

On 6/17/73, the Paramount was showing an x-rated film called “Sex and the Office Girl”.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on May 6, 2005 at 3:25 pm

The Capitol Theatre opened on 1st September 1928 with Richard Dix starring in “Warming Up”, the first Paramount Pictures sound movie. The Wurlitzer 3Manual/11Rank organ was played by Stanley Anstett who had previously been with the Chicago Theatre, Chicago.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on April 30, 2005 at 9:20 am

Opened as the Capitol Theatre in August 1928.

Jakorns on May 23, 2004 at 9:06 pm

The original seating capacity of the theatre was 1945. In the late 1970s the first row on the main floor was removed to expand the orchestra pit, and some seats in the balcony were removed for a sound booth. This reduced the seating to 1901.

The theatre recently reopened after a multimillion dollar renovation. A new “rehearsal” hall was built for the symphony, next to the theatre. So far the symphony has ignored it. New HVAC, carpeting, electrical, lobby/restrooms, seating and plaster repair were done.

Unfortunately the company running the theatre for the city, still looks only at the bottom line and will probably run it in to the ground again with minimal maintanence.

William on December 5, 2003 at 9:50 am

When the Paramount Theatre was a movie theatre it seated 2500 people.