Parkway Theatre

5 West North Avenue,
Baltimore, MD 21201

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Parkway Theatre

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The Parkway Theatre currently stands vacant on West North Avenue in Baltimore City, just west of Charles Street.

The theatre was built around 1915 and was redecorated in 1926 by architect John Eberson. It operated well into the early-1980’s.

The area has fallen on hard times and the Parkway Theatre, which recently was a Korean Businesses Owners Assn. Headquarters, currently is vacant.

Plans in 2001 to save the Parkway Theatre were also unsuccessful. With an upturn in the area in recent years, in early 2013, it was announced the Parkway Theatre was to be renovated and used as a new home for the Maryland Film Festival.

The Charles Theatre, Baltimore’s ‘Art theatre’ is just around the corner on Charles Street.

Contributed by Thomas

Recent comments (view all 26 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 14, 2009 at 6:16 am

As reported in Boxoffice of October 20, 1956, when the Parkway Theatre was renovated and reopened as the 5 West Theatre the original seating capacity of 1,100 was reduced to a mere 440. The interior was gutted and rebuilt. A new concrete floor was poured for the orchestra section, and the balcony was re-stepped. The new seating rows were 48 inches back to back on the main floor and 64 inches back to back in the balcony. Additionally, the former standee area was enlarged and walled off from the auditorium to provide space for a new lounge.

The first film shown at the 5 West was the Alec Guinness comedy “The Lady Killers.” The theater was operated by the 5 West Amusement Company, Milton Schwaber, President. Three photos of the renovated theater appeared in Boxoffice Magazine, October 20, 1956.

The 5 West apparently began having difficulty operating as an art house as early as 1974, when the September issue of Boxoffice said that Schwaber Theatres had closed the house until further notice. I don’t know how long this closure lasted, but I haven’t found the house mentioned in Boxoffice again until July 26, 1976, when there was an item saying that Schwaber World Fare Cinemas had reopened the 5 West “…as a showcase for black exploitation films.”

As long ago as 1983, public involvement to revive the Parkway Theatre was being proposed. That year the December issue of Boxoffice reported that Baltimore city officials had applied for a $265,000 Federal grant which “…would be combined with $800,000 in private funds to build an entertainment center inside the Parkway Theatre….” Obviously nothing came of this proposal.

TLSLOEWS on August 6, 2010 at 9:26 pm

A.K.A Loews Parkway.

RedDawg on November 28, 2011 at 3:04 pm

PorcelainDoll, I’m curious as to how you managed to gain access to the Parkway to obtain the photos you recently posted. (Also the Mayfair.)

Gamble on December 2, 2011 at 4:56 pm

Its the internet. You can find anything.

RedDawg on December 26, 2011 at 11:10 pm

This message is for Joe Vogel & Chuck 1231: Guys, both of you have made some interesting comments here and I am presently working on an article about the Parkway for publication. I would like to use, with your permission, some of the detail you presented, but I would also need to know some of your source material. Since Cinema Treasures seems to have no way for members to contact other members (at least no way I have been able to discover) I would appreciate your contacting me at or through the email link on the website Thanks so much! -RedDawg

Maximillian Genus
Maximillian Genus on March 26, 2012 at 10:53 am

RedDawg: A Balto. Sun article from Saturday was brought to my attention (,0,6286973.column) this morning. It reminded me of another article about the theatre from Sept 2008 that may interest you, regarding the city taking the property from owner/renovator Charles Dodson: “BDC To Seize Parkway Theater On North Avenue” ( In retrospect the comments as well as the article could raise an eyebrow or two.

CSWalczak on March 31, 2012 at 3:40 am

A recent photo essay that appeared in the Baltimore Sun.

randytheicon on February 9, 2013 at 8:11 pm

The Parkway is about to be renovated and expanded as the new home of the Maryland Film Festival: Baltimore Sun article

The area surrounding the Parkway has seen a renaissance in recent years as the Station North Arts District. Numerous live-theatre groups, restaurants and clubs have opened in the area, and the Maryland Institute School for the Arts has expanded to a nearby site.

DavidZornig on November 3, 2015 at 1:58 am

1948 photo added courtesy of Gene Leitner.

There was a 100th birthday party for the Parkway on 10/23/15. Held across the street. Live music, food, outdoor film projections, and a chance to hear firsthand about the Maryland Film Festival’s plans to turn the Parkway into a 3-screen film center. Copy courtesy of Amy Davis. Below is her Flickering Treasures Facebook page with many more photos of the Parkway and other theatres.

Comfortably Cool
Comfortably Cool on December 3, 2015 at 9:36 am

The Parkway became part of the Loew’s circuit on October 4th, 1926, the same day as the downtown Century Theatre. I’ve posted a shared ad at the CT listing for Loew’s Century.

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