Calumet Theater

5622 Calumet Avenue,
Hammond, IN 46320

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Calumet Theater Concessions

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The Calumet Theater was built in 1930. By the early-1980’s it was operating as an adult movie theatre. I happened to notice this theater as I was driving through Hammond. The building’s windows were boarded and there was a “For Sale” sign posted. It looked like it’s been closed for quite some time. The marquee was still there.

The Calumet Theater was demolished in December 2011.

Contributed by Bill Morse

Recent comments (view all 41 comments)

Donald L.Morton
Donald L.Morton on February 28, 2012 at 10:40 am

I to went to Lafayette and graduated from there in June 1951. I went to Tech and graduated in 1955. My wife went to Hammond High. It is very likely that our paths crossed in 1952 at the Calumet. I don’t recall a lot of fist run movies at the Calumet, but you may be right about those two. I wore glasses. Still do. Our outfits were sports coats and Black slack and shoes, we did not have regular usher uniforms at that time (did in later years). Ted Myjewski who my boss and in a way my father at work taught me many thing, some bad, but mostly good things. Ted Had the guys doing the maintenance and repair work during the day on Saturdays till about four pm. I would then have to hurry home(Sherman Street) shower and change into my work cloths and try to get back to the theater around five thirty or six o'clock. I think we opened at six thirty. I’ll try to post some interior photos that were taken of me and other staff members; if I can figure out how to do it.

TomWillett
TomWillett on February 28, 2012 at 8:01 pm

You would have been in my brother’s graduating class at Lafayette. He was Joe Willett. I know there were two different classes at each graduation, Mr. Brauer’s and Miss Clippenger’s. It is possible there were some other 7th and 8th Grade teachers I do not remember, but I do remember Mr. Wilcox, Mr. Jonas (Band), Mr. Stout, I think, was the Gym teacher and of course the Principal, Mr. Sluyter. My brother went to Tech and studied Plumbing with Mr. Schell who died just a few years ago.

I think the Calumet also had The Egg and I and the Ma and Pa Kettle and Mr. Belvedere movies when they first came out. I do remember walking from Sibley over to State Street often and taking a shortcut over the remains of the State Theater, which, I guess, was the best theater in Hammond and maybe all of Indiana. Another person you might know from my nrother’s and your class at Tech was Donald Martin. He had a younger friend named Gerald Markley who I knew.

I hope all is well for you. I am doing fine in Tennessee now.

Donald L.Morton
Donald L.Morton on February 28, 2012 at 11:16 pm

If it is the Donnie Martin I am thinking of; I knew him as will as you could know anyone who was not family. He was one of the two Janitors at the Calumet Theater when I worked there. The other being Delbert Knedrick(not sure I have the name spelled correctly). They both helped take the seats out of the Mars Theater and install them in the Calumet Theater. I vaguely recall a Joe Willett in Mr Hinsley home room. I’ll have to take a look at the 51 Lafayette graduation program. If my memory serves me correctly he was somewhat thin and very quite. Gerald Markley doesn’t ring a bell, but I knew a Jean Markley (could that have been his sister)who lived on Erie Street and hung out at the Calumet a lot. At my fiftieth class reunion I found out that she had a crush and was sweet on me. When my wife heard that, the hair on the back of her neck really brusseled with jealousy.

Donald L.Morton
Donald L.Morton on February 28, 2012 at 11:32 pm

THE FIRST PICTURE I SAW AT THE CALUMET THEATER ON MY OWN AND BEFORE I WORKED THERE WAS KING SOLOMONS MINES WITH STEWARD GRANGER IN THE LEADING ROLE, I THINK.

TomWillett
TomWillett on February 29, 2012 at 8:08 pm

My brother Joe was in Mr. Hinsley’s class. I think Mr. Hinsley also taught Social Studies. Joe passed away about 3 years ago at age 71. When he was at Lafayette, probably in the Sixth Grade, he fell out of a tree and broke both his arms. His class got him a big bowl of fruit, apples and bananas and oranges and other goodies. It was a nice surprise. He rode in the blue Buick ambulance that I often saw racing through the streets. It was about a 1948 model. We lived at 5448 Calumet across the street from Lafayette for many years. We then moved to 5508 Calumet, closer to the Calumet Theater. If I remember correctly the admission for kids at the Calumet was 12 cents. Also 12 cents at The Orpheum and ten cents at The Hohman. The Parthenon and Paramount were twenty cents.

Donald Martin visited us one time after we moved to Kentucky. He brought Gerald or Jerrold Markley with him. Donald and my brother Joe would ride the Shore Line Transit bus with me from Hessville and they would examine each other’s lunch each day. They would call each other “Jelly Belly” or"Baloney Belly" depending on the contents.

It seems to me Kenny Dodd was in my brother’s class at Lafayette. Wayne Liss was my classmate who might have been well known at Lafayette. Teachers there included Miss Owens, Miss Huber, Miss Elvira Peterson and there was a substitute named Miss Funk. I think the music teacher was Miss Fairchild but I could be wrong.

LouRugani
LouRugani on February 29, 2012 at 8:16 pm

Jun. 1 2010 —HAMMOND — As hundreds of people gathered Thursday to celebrate the rebirth of the old federal courthouse on State Street, a much smaller group gathered inside the former Calumet Theater less than a mile away to mourn the loss of another historical structure.

Shuttered for more than a decade, the old movie house has been ravaged by time and neglect.

From the outside, the stone building with ornate etchings appears merely to need some sprucing up.

The dull red and yellow stripes along its classic marquee could use repainting. The few flashing light bulbs could use replacing.

A handwritten sign on the doors proclaims the Calumet will be reopening soon — but the inside of the building tells a much different story.

Trash lines nearly every square inch of floor space. A steady trickle of water flows from the ceiling near the projection room, and the smell of mold and mildew throughout the building is chokingly strong.

The screen, where Hollywood blockbusters flashed for generations of families, is ripped to shreds. The stage, where Miss Hammond contestants competed for years after the theater’s 1930 opening, now is filled with old bicycles and littered with debris.

“You can’t save this,” said Phil Taillon, director of planning and development for the city, whose Redevelopment Commission bought the building last year. “It’s not very difficult to have a building get to the point where it’s unfixable. This is definitely one.”

The story of the Calumet Theater’s fate mirrors that of some of downtown Hammond’s most notable buildings. Like the structures that once housed the Goldblatt Bros. Department Store, the Parthenon Theater and The Hammond Times, the Calumet’s curtain call will come courtesy of a wrecking crew.

(The Times, Munster, Ind.)

Donald L.Morton
Donald L.Morton on March 14, 2012 at 7:35 am

My best friend at Lafayette and Tech was Kenny Dodd. I got into more fist fights protecting him than anyone could imagine. He was the smallest and one of the smartest people in our class. I had Mr. Hinsley, Miss Owens and Miss Fund as teachers while at Lafayette. Did you know Harry Coles his parents ran People Coal Co. which sat next to the Nickle Plate Tracks and almost in back of All Saints Church. One night while at work at the Calumet and after the box office closed, Ken came by with his girl friend. Don’t remember her name. She was the only girl he ever dated, I believe. She was fifteen and Ken was barely eighteen and they told me they were going to Kentucky to get married. I tried to talk them out of the idea, but to no avail. They had a set of twin boys, moved to the southwest for health needs of the boys and ultimately got a divorce. Ken is now in Tusan (spl) Arizona. Haven’t heard from in about a year now.

TomWillett
TomWillett on March 14, 2012 at 8:30 pm

I did not know Harry Coles. Miss Owens was one of the first people who I ever knew who died. She probably was under 40 years of age. She looked a lot like my mom. I do remember attending the graduation ceremonies for my brother’s class. Kenny Dodd was at the rear of the students who marched up the aisle in the gym building. The tall students walked in front and they were two abreast side by side, except Kenny was in the back alone. I would guess he did not like that. There also was a guy in my class named Kenny Hammond who ran away at about age 14 with his girlfriend and came back a few days later. I am not sure what happened with them. Others in my class included Carol Fanno who was a great singer. I hope she made it big. Veleeta Middleton was a wonderful piano player. Mr. Brauer had the wood shop. One other place that was as famous as the Calumet Theater which is now gone was Rovais. I used to stop there in the morning on my way to Lafayette to talk with the other kids and listen to the jukebox. Private Eddie Fisher singing Anytime, Frankie Laine singing That’s My Desire and Vaughn Monroe singing Ghost Riders in the Sky. I bought many comic books and sodas at Rovais. One of the best hamburgers I have ever had from a restaurant was the Miner Dunn 30 cent big hamburger. That was when White Castles were a nickel. Their fries were also big and plentiful and tasty. Popcorn at the Calumet, I believe, was 15 cents and Cokes and candy were a nickel.

Donald L.Morton
Donald L.Morton on May 6, 2012 at 5:51 pm

This is the obituary of my very first employer. I worked for him from December 1951 through mid May ,1955. I stared as an usher and some time in 1954 he made me his assistant. I picked up Rebecca Ann Poisal there, she worked as a candy girl. Becky ultimately became Mrs. Donald Morton. Ted taught my many things, most of which were of a positive nature. I regret that I did not stay in touch with him over the years. As young adults that type of thing does not occur important to you. Ted Myzejewski, age 93, of Hammond, IN, formerly of East Chicago, passed away Thursday, May 3, 2012. He is survived by Beverly Kaminski; Frank (Karen) Kaminski; Joe (Debbie) Kaminski; William (Linda) Kaminski; Wanda (Dominick) Romano; Catherine (David) Miller; Mary (Tom) Dodgson; and many grand and great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his life partner, Mary Kaminski; sister, Harriet Myzejewski; and brother, Peter Myzejewski. A Mass of Christian burial will be held 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, May 8, 2012 at St. John Bosco, Hammond, IN with Fr. Richard Orlinski officiating. Burial will be at St. John/ St. Joseph Cemetery, Hammond, IN. Visitation will be Tuesday, May 8, 2012 from 9:00-10:30 a.m. at Burns- Kish Funeral Home, 8415 Calumet Ave., Munster, IN. Ted was a WWII veteran. He was the former owner of the Calumet Theater and formerly owned banana plantations in Cuba. He retired from Inland Steel. He was a member of both St. Joseph church and St. John Bosco. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Boy Scouts and St. Joseph’s Soup Kitchen in his loving memory. He will be dearly missed by his loving family. www.burnskish.com Published in The Times from May 6 to May 7, 2012

“I took my first girlfriend-date to the Ted’s Calumet Theater & went steady for a week. Thank you…” – Mike Kovacich (Hammond, IN) Burns Kish Funeral Home www.burnskish.com

TomWillett
TomWillett on May 6, 2012 at 8:15 pm

I think I knew Mike Kovacich. I can’t find my 1952 Graduating Lafayette Echo right now. I am sure he was in my class with Mr. Brauer.

One of life’s lessons I learned from my first business employer, Nate Eisenhower, who owned the market across from the railroad tracks just down the street and on the other side of Calumet, was about honesty. Mr Eisenhower gave me a scale to use and some 100 pound bags of potatoes. I was in the basement of the store putting the potatoes into ten pound paper bags. He said “Put in the potatoes until the scale reads ten pounds, then… add one more potato.”

I am saddened by the loss of one of Calumet Avenues great business persons, Mr. Myzejewski, who was part of the life of all of us who grew up in Hammond in that era.

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