Palace Theatre

791 Broadway,
Gary, IN 46402

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Palace Theatre

Viewing: Photo | Street View

John Eberson designed the Palace Theatre in a Atmospheric style, seating originally nearly 3,000. The theater opened in November 1925 with live stage shows and vaudeville acts in addition to motion pictures.

Operating for decades as one of Gary’s grandest entertainment venues, the cavernous Palace Theatre slowly slid into decline, closing in 1972.

Since then, several attempts have been made to bring the theater back to life, but unfortunately, none have been successful. Meanwhile, this sadly forgotten Eberson designed treasure has fallen into major disrepair, with substantial water damage to its auditorium and its Renaissance-style exterior crumbling away. A precarious-looking 1950’s or 1960’s era marquee appears in danger of falling off at any time.

Though in danger of being lost, the Palace Theatre would make an ideal performing arts or classic films venue, for anyone with enough interest, and more importantly, money, to put into restoring it.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 90 comments)

DonaldKirk on December 21, 2016 at 10:53 pm

I was one of the management, that in 2004-2005 refurbished the California Theatre in Dunsmuir, CA. The Palace is in far worse condition, but, I know where to get needed items (like new used seats), that would literally save $1 Mil – $3 Mil, in the restoration. I also know how to get a lot of the work done at a far reduced price. I own Kirk Entertainment, producers of concers and events. I work with both name stars and “world’s best” tribute artists; who I could bring to Gary, to do fundraising events, to help raise the needed funds. I just sent the city an email asking if anything is taking place; and if not, if they’d work with me to allow me to put together a team of interested people, to get the Palace back on the road to reopening. I believe that in 2017, a lot of progress could be made, that would draw the interest of others to help. I’ve also worked in radio & television throughout my life and know how to get the media to run stories that will also help.

If you are interested in helping get the Palace reopened, please send me an email Don Kirk, owner:Kirk Entertainment

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on January 11, 2017 at 7:38 pm

There was a quick shot of the marquee on a recent Undercover Boss set in Gary, at about 30 minutes in.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on January 11, 2017 at 7:54 pm

Donald, watch this episode of Undercover Boss and then call the mayor. She wants to improve Gary; share your ideas with her.

DonaldKirk on February 1, 2017 at 10:41 am

I now have sent your Mayor 2 emails and 2 other city planning employees emails and received NO reply from any of them. I have a rough draft of a proposal almost done; and by next week, will “Mail 10 – 15 copies of it to the Mayor”. I now have the only Michael Jackson tribute artist that is approved by Michael himself (Joby Rogers); who is willing to do some fundraisers in Gary. He has met the other 4 Jackson’s as well and has a pic of him with them. I believe that as a concert promoter, I can get them to also do a reduced fee or no fee concert or more, to help raise money. In my proposal, I’m including the Palace, Gilroy Stadium, the Public School’s Memorial Auditorium remains and the abandoned train station. I used to own a transportation museum, with a Monorail and Heritage Streetcars (and other rail equip); and know that I can get up to an 80% grant, to reinstall streetcar tracks, overhead, power supply and heritage equipment. It all adds up to a number that would shock you; BUT, raising money through entertainment is what I do; and even though the total would be “YIKES”, over 8 – 10 years, it all can happen. I’d turn Gary into a New York City type “Broadway Entertainment District”; which would attract people from all over IN, MI and IL (especially Chicago) to shows in Gary. There is a fact I as a producer know, that will get “Name” entertainers to book in Gary; and bypass booking in Chicago. Anyone interested in helping my company Kirk Entertainment get this approved, email me and I’ll email you a copy of the proposal’s draft. Don Kirk

DonaldKirk on February 1, 2017 at 11:28 am

I will be very realistic about my proposal. Unless the people of Gary get involved with it, or supporting it, the likely of it happening are far less. I have studied Gary in-depth and realize that the city officials do not know what they are doing. You bring jobs back along with the rebuilding; and do not just keep spending money demolishing. Tourism is the right way for Gary to go. Yes, Trump failed in Gary; BUT, he spent $100 Million doing it. Some are upset that he did not keep spending; when the economy was “on a downturn”. It’s now time to bring the tourists “TO GARY”; and to gladly leave their money when they leave. Rebuilding the Palace, Municipal Auditorium and Kilroy Stadium will take time; but, the field of Kilroy could become a concert & event center,while the rebuild takes place. Remember the Jackson’s did one of their “first” performances there; and that is the key to making my company’s proposal work. I and my people are trained in the Walt Disney Imagineering business methods; and it works for Disney; and will work in Gary. With your help, the Palace, Auditorium and Stadium will again be open for your enjoyment; and they will create good paying jobs for Gary residents.

TattooTonyAlton on June 17, 2017 at 11:40 pm

Part 1. Exploring The Palace Theater, Gary Indiana

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 18, 2017 at 1:41 am

Along with several depressing photos of the Palace in decay, this web page has a color photo of a corridor (probably in the mezzanine) when the splendid Spanish Baroque decor was still intact. But parts of the building must be in danger of imminent collapse.

Looking at the building from 8th Street in Google street view, the advanced decay of the brick wall of the auditorium is all too visible. There are even some shrubs and what appear to be at least two small trees growing from the tops of the walls. That is the very last stage of decay before a wall just crumbles. The time when the Palace can still be saved is very short, if it has not in fact already run out. I don’t know how long ago Google’s street views were taken.

Trolleyguy on June 18, 2017 at 11:49 am

The Google Street View image was taken in August 2013.

atmos on August 31, 2017 at 5:54 am

The top photo in the article submitted by Joe Vogel is actually the Palace Theatre Louisville.

whtesoxfan56 on September 30, 2017 at 12:12 am

To DonaldKirk, I wish badly that could occur. Had explored this former theater several times in the past on my own, and sadly to say I’m not sure if it’ll ever get the restoration it deserves.

Speaking of John Eberson theaters, I’m glad the New Regal Theater(nee Avalon) on the southeast side of Chicago could potentially be reopened. I explored that a few years ago during Open House Chicago(architectural open house every October in Chicago), and the building was still in decent shape inside.

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