Paramount Theatre

515 S. Main Street,
Joplin, MO 64801

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Orpheum, Hippodrome and Electric/Paramount theaters...1926

Viewing: Photo | Street View

History of the Joplin Paramount theatre is somewhat sketchy. Some reports say that this theatre dates as far back as 1912 and was originally known as the Electric Theatre. Vintage postcard views illustrate the building was designed in Colonial Revival styling and sat one block South of the Fox Theatre.

Like its neighboring Fox Theatre, it appears that perhaps the Paramount Theatre auditorium actually was located on a back street. Only the front of the building survives, the auditorium has been demolished.

Contributed by Jeff Chapman

Recent comments (view all 13 comments)

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on September 13, 2009 at 4:45 pm

A Wurlitzer organ opus 1443 was installed in the Electric Theater in Joplin, Missouri in 1926. Status given for the Wurlitzer is sold.

raybradley on September 14, 2009 at 6:58 pm

Mr. Chapman must have been referring to the large, red brick bulding with rows of arches, situated between the old Christman’s and Workplaces That Work. That narrow fire escape alley and those annex ramps that seem to be attached to former fire escape exits sure look like this could have been a former auditorium.
Wonder what Artistic Alley (across the street) was all about?
Wish some local folk would fill us in on all the details.

MrDJDude on September 14, 2009 at 10:13 pm

Ignore my first comment. What I was looking at was Fox Theatre nearby. I was mistaken, and apologize for being completely off bsae.

seymourcox on September 15, 2009 at 2:49 am

This is the best image, dated 1961, of the Paramount Theatre I’ve found yet. Love that red upright & marquee
View link yet – – –

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 15, 2009 at 6:14 am

The surviving front portion of the Paramount Building, which housed the theater’s entrance, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2006. It has since been included as a contributing structure in the Main Street Historic District, which was added to the NRHP recently.

There’s a recent photo at Google Earth that shows the Paramount Building (click the image for full size.)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 15, 2009 at 7:10 am

A .pdf of the draft registration form for inclusion of the Main Street district on the National Register of Historic Places confirms that the Paramount Theatre auditorium has been demolished. The building in the photo I linked to above that has the “Paramount Building” sign on it is not the registered Paramount Building, which is to the left of that building in the photo (confusing, I know.)

The entrance to the theater was in the building now has the Paramount Building sign on it, and the registration form gives the address of that building as 515 S. Main Street. It is not a contributing building to the historic district, as it was completely remodeled in the mid-1990s. The auditorium, as I surmised in my earlier comment, was between the Paramount building and the alley.

If anyone wants to see the registration form, the .pdf is currently available here. It also gives the correct address of the entrance to the Hippodrome Theatre and what was probably the Orpheum Theatre, though the Orpheum is not specifically named.

seymourcox on September 16, 2009 at 1:51 am

This early day postcard view depicts an artist’s rendering of Christman’s Department Store. The low building partially obscured by the interurban street car would later be occupied by the Paramount Theatre.
View link

seymourcox on September 16, 2009 at 7:31 pm

According to information given on the above Christman postcard, “Alfred and August Michaelis architectural firm designed the Christman Building following the techniques of the Chicago style.” Since the nextdoor two story annex (that would later house the Paramount Theatre) is included in the view then it may be safe to say they also designed this structure too.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 17, 2009 at 1:53 am

The Paramount building was built five years before the Christman Building went up in 1917. Page 48 of the .pdf I linked to above gives the construction date of the Paramount Building as c.1912. The list of Boller Brothers theaters says the Electric Theatre was built in 1912 and remodeled in 1926. It was renamed the Paramount in 1930 or 1931. The building which housed the Electric/Paramount’s entrance was actually an older structure from c.1893 that was remodeled as part of the theatre project.

Jeff_Griffith on October 1, 2013 at 9:00 pm

Originally built as the lobby and retail frontage for the Electric Theater in 1912, the Paramount Building at 507-513 South Main Street is a two-story commercial block that has brown brick walls, a concrete foundation and a flat roof. In 1966 and 1967 flat metal sheathing was applied to the front facing upper story to give it a more modern look, but this has since been removed and the front of the structure has been restored to a more original appearance.Originally a large theater auditorium that could seat more than 1,500 was attached to the back of the existing building, but it was demolished in November and December 1965 and the theater lobby was reassigned as a retail space. Prior to the introduction of sound films in the late 1920s, the theater showed silent films and hosted vaudeville acts. In 1930 the theater changed its name from the Electric Theater to the Paramount and ended all silent films and vaudeville acts. In 1926 Wurlitzer Opus organ #1443 was installed in what was then the Electric Theater, but it was later removed and sold.

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