Park Theatre Civic Centre

25 Madison Avenue,
North Vernon, IN 47265

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 28, 2014 at 12:55 pm

This history page at the Park Theatre web site says that the Jennings Theatre opened on October 4, 1916.

Construction had actually begun in 1913, and the house was to have been operated by the Switow Amusement Company of Louisville, Kentucky, but financial problems caused the suspension of the project when it was only partly completed. In 1916, a local company was formed to take over the project and finish it.

The North Vernon Amusement Company operated the Jennings Theatre until 1938, when it was leased to Albert Thompson, who renamed the house the Park Theatre. Howard Black took over the theater in 1960, but it was closed in March, 1962.

In 1997, local volunteers formed Park Theatre Civic Inc., bought the theater building for $35,000, and set about renovating it. The Park Theatre Civic Centre opened in 2003.

The May 12, 1916, issue of The American Contractor carried this item about the theater project:

“North Vernon, Ind.—Moving Picture Theater, Store & Club Bldg.: $25,000. 2 sty. 65x150. Archt J. H. Miller. Owner North Vernon Amusement Co.. R. H. Hudson, secy. Gen. contr. let to J. H. Miller.”
J. H. Miller was a local architect and contractor in North Vernon. I haven’t been able to discover who was the original architect of the project for the Switow Amusement Company in 1913.

Chris1982
Chris1982 on June 13, 2014 at 8:04 pm

The Jennings Theatre was open prior to 1925 with seating at that time listed at 400.