1700 Main Street,
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Paramount Theater, Springfield (Official)
Previously operated by: Paramount Pictures Inc., Publix Theaters Corporation, Western Massachusetts Theaters
Architects: Ernest F. Carlson
Functions: Special Events
Styles: Italian Renaissance
Previous Names: Julia Sanderson Theatre, Hippodrome Theatre
Built in 1929 by Famous Players-Lasky Corporation (later Paramount Pictures Inc.), at a cost of over $1 million, the Paramount Theatre was the most ornate theatre in Western Massachusetts in its glory days as a picture palace. The Paramount Theatre was opened September 29, 1929 with Nancy Carroll in “Dance of Life”. It was equipped with a Wurltzer 3 manual 11 ranks theatre pipe organ which was opened by organist Joe Alexander.
It remained a movie theatre until the 1960’s when it began to find sporadic use as a mixed center for movies, concerts and live performances. The theatre was also once run by Western Massachusetts Theatres which at one time owned almost all of the single screen palaces in the area including the Rivoli Theatre, Calvin Theatre, and others.
It was not until 1999 that the theatre had a stable operator again, when it was purchased, restored, and converted into a lavish night club and performace space. The main floors seats were removed, but the 1,100 balcony seats were retained and restored. The theatre underwent a $1.3 million makeover and was reopened as the Hippodrome Theatre. The original organ is due to be restored in the future and the marquee was also been changed to reflect the new name.
The Hippodrome Theatre, after years of sitting alone as Springfield continued to wither, is back. In 2009, it was renamed Paramount Theatre and is under renovation. It reopened April 7, 2010 after renovations and the installation of a new sprinkler system. Sadly it has hardly been used since 2011.
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Recent comments (view all 32 comments)
“As Springfield continued to wither..?” Has the author of this write-up visited Springfield in the past half decade or so? The opposite of “withering” is currently occurring in Metro Center Springfield.
With all of the new arts and entertainment organizations that have formed in Springfield within the past few years (Apremont Arts jumps immediately to mind;) and all of the bohemians, LGBT residents, and empty-nesters who have recently moved to Metro Center condominiums, in my opinion, this city is likely to “take off” within the next few years (especially in light of the billions of dollars in infrastructure, medical, entertainment, and medical construction.)
As to the Paramount, it was recently purchased by Herbie Flores' Farmer Workers' Council – a group interested in bringing more arts to Springfield. Currently, the former Hippodrome is being renovated to the tune of $1.725 million. According to Mr. Flores, the Paramount will continue to host movies and concerts, but will also feature a new coffeehouse and upscale Spanish restaurant.
I realize that a lot of people who haven’t been to Springfield recently probably do not understand or know much about the renaissance currently underway in the city; however, in my opinion, many will likely know soon.
This opened on September 29th, 1929. The grand opening ad is uploaded in the photo section.
Any word on any progress at this theater? I see that it was sold last summer but I can’t find any information about any renovations or plans to reopen.
I remember seeing Santana her in the 1980’s. I also saw Taj Mahal, who is from Springfieldat the Paramount.
WGGB website has an August 6 2012 article with the latest on the Paramount here:
It looks like it is currently closed. Bought in 2011 by the Farm Worker’s Council. The Council is proposing a $36,000,000 renovation to reopen it as an entertainment venue, with construction hoprfully to start Spring 2013.
No mention of how much fundraising still needs to be done. At least it has already had a lot of renovations recently. Looking forward to hearing more news on progress.
spectrum: It is still open with live concerts listed on their Facebook page.
Any update on the Paramount? I haven’t been able to find an official page. What is the URL for the facebook page?
This theater should be listed as closed. It hasn’t been except for one or two events since the Farm Worker’s Council bought it in 2011.
I’m hosting two photography workshops of the closed theater on Nov 4th. For more info and to sign up visit my Photo Workshops page
Very cool Matt Lambros, I wish I would be in Springfield for your workshop. I just walked by the Hippodrome to look at it for updates a few weeks ago, love that place.
Check out my photographs and a short history of the Paramount at After the Final Curtain.
Looks like things are going forward with the New England Farm Workers' Council’s plans to restore the Paramount Theatre into a performing arts center. They just received a $2,500.00 state grant which will be used this fall to replace the roof and secure the building for winter. Eventually they will be commencing a $41,000,000 restoration Paramount into a performing arts center. Their renovation plans also involve several other buildings in the immediate area. The retail/office front portion will be renovated into a boutique hotel. Previously they received a $3,700,000 federal grand to aid in creating design and development plans.
MassLive March 2018 article about the renovation project:
2017 Masslive feature story about the Paramount and its history:
MassLive 2017 article about the proposed restoration (includes photo gallery):
photo gallery of historical Paramount photos:
Paramount Facebook Page (no updates since 2015):