Indiana Theatre

683 Ohio Street,
Terre Haute, IN 47807

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Indiana Theatre

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The historically registered Indiana Theatre on the corner of Ohio Street & S. 7th Street opened on January 28, 1922, with the Paramount Pictures produced silent film “Cappy Ricks” starring Thomas Meighan, accompanied by the Indiana Symphony Orchestra. The theatre seated 2,018, and though some things have changed since that historic night, the magic created then continues today.

The Indiana Theatre not only holds a special place in the hearts of Terre Hautians; it also holds a unique place in history as the first version of Atmospheric style theatre design. Famed architect John Eberson – creator of the Atmospheric style of architecture that would later take America by storm – incorporated his Atmospheric concepts into the theatre by bringing outdoors in through stylized motifs, color and lighting. As the original owner T.W. Barhydt put it, the Indian Theatre is “more than a theatre, more than a picture show, more than a great orchestral concert, more than a building of architectural beauty and comfort”, it was an experience all its own. As a guest enters and walks through the theatre, he is embraced by lighting and colors that emulate the lifecycle of the day created through patterns and colors inspired by 17th century Spanish Andalusia. In the rotunda the colors shift from light pastel in the Churriguerisque style plasterwork, to fierce reds and golds of a sunrise in the railing, leaving the remnants of dawn in the deep burgundy’s of the dome sky.

Guided into the promenade, the lobby acts as the transitory stage of midday, decorated by 38 male & female statues along both sides and an ornate ceiling with even more faces to fill the lobby with life. Entering into the mystery of nightfall in the auditorium, the guest experiences the deep tones of reds, blues, and browns. Long time employees remember acts like Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, Jack Burns, the Marx Brothers Road Shows and even “Jesus Christ Superstar” here at the Indian Theatre. Our auditorium also boasts one of the largest movie screens in Indiana; measuring at 54' x 33', it is second only to the IMAX screens.

With a keen appreciation of the theatre’s remarkable architecture and history, we have added a few key features to keep the Indiana Theatre a relevant and vibrant symbol of Terre Haute’s resurgent future. Significant paint and plasterwork restoration has been completed around the building and 300 theatre seats were removed to make way for a flat terrace in the auditorium. The orchestra pit was also covered, except for a section that will be the future home of an antique Wurlitzer pipe organ console. The terrace and covered orchestra pit provide valuable open floor space to make the auditorium more versatile and capable of table seating. The terrace can accommodate 175 for table seating and the orchestra deck can hold 25. The lobby can accommodate 200. Portable bars are available in the auditorium and lobby as well.

Other upgrades include digital projection, a new sound system, and LED atmospheric lighting. Future upgrades include new theatres seats and expansion in other areas of the building to provide more space for events and amenities.

Contributed by Roger Aleshire, Tara Lane, Gary Taylor, Logan Lundstrom

Recent comments (view all 55 comments)

soybean
soybean on February 20, 2011 at 9:17 am

I hope the Indiana Theater is bought & is restore. The last few times I have driven by the theater, the outside wasn’t in good shape. Which makes me wonder how bad shape is the inside of the building. I hope the Indiana Theater can once again be the great Theater that she was when I went there many times over the years as a child. The Indiana Theater is too great not to be restore & used as an entertainment center.

DavidAE
DavidAE on October 3, 2013 at 10:22 am

According to information presented to CIC-ATOS, this summer, the building has been sold. I was in the theater a couple of years ago as CIC-ATOS was planning to re-instal a theater pipe organ in it. The entry and lobby were beautiful, and the theater was not in bad condition. Needed some TLC. Updated sound system sounded great. New owner is interested in having the organ installed and improving the venue.

JohnGarner
JohnGarner on October 3, 2013 at 12:25 pm

The theater has been sold to a new owner, Rob Lundstrom. It is now the Indiana Event Center.

It is undergoing a 4 phase restoration and conversion to make it usable for much, much more than just movies. So far, the 1st phase of restoration is complete and the second phase is underway.

All of the damaged plaster has been repaired. The upper half of the seats on the main floor seating area have been removed and the floor has been leveled for table seating, dancing, etc. Moveable bars may be moved into place for serving drinks.

The orchestra pit has been covered and leveled, all except for an area stage right where the orchestra pit has been preserved and a lift has been installed upon which the restored theater organ console will sit.

The theater is useable and available for rent for your event even as the restoration is progressing.

Mr. Lundstrom believes that there is still a LOT of magic in this theater, and he is right! You can fell it when you look at the place.

Soon, it will be restored and many events, live performances, dinners, and ceremonies will occur there. It will soon be the place to be for special movies and live entertainment, not to mention that special event that could be yours.

DavidAE
DavidAE on October 18, 2013 at 11:26 pm

Thank you John for your update. I just found the Facebook page: Indianatheater. Finally a big historic positive for Terre Haute. Now I have an added reason to come back to visit the Wabash Valley.

DavidAE
DavidAE on October 19, 2013 at 9:46 am

FB LINK: https://www.facebook.com/Indianatheatre?ref=profile See what it looks like today and what is happening.

DavidAE
DavidAE on December 26, 2013 at 9:31 pm

1941 photo http://images.indianahistory.org/cdm4/item_viewer.php?CISOROOT=/P0129&CISOPTR=229&CISOBOX=1&REC=2

DavidAE
DavidAE on December 26, 2013 at 10:00 pm

a 1933 photo – movie was 20,000 Years in Sing Sing http://images.indianahistory.org/cdm4/item_viewer.php?CISOROOT=/P0129&CISOPTR=1951&CISOBOX=1&REC=3

DavidAE
DavidAE on December 26, 2013 at 10:02 pm

a 1930 interior shot for an Al Jolson film http://images.indianahistory.org/cdm4/item_viewer.php?CISOROOT=/P0129&CISOPTR=2298&CISOBOX=1&REC=6

DavidAE
DavidAE on December 26, 2013 at 10:04 pm

and here we have a Christmas display from the war years. http://images.indianahistory.org/cdm4/item_viewer.php?CISOROOT=/P0129&CISOPTR=2466&CISOBOX=1&REC=5

DavidAE
DavidAE on December 27, 2013 at 7:26 am

In this MGM Kink Tarz promotion you can see the south wall of the auditorium and stage house at the top of the photo. http://images.indianahistory.org/cdm4/item_viewer.php?CISOROOT=/P0129&CISOPTR=287&CISOBOX=1&REC=2

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