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 88 comments)

wwalker1208 on March 5, 2012 at 11:06 am

I remember the Palace Theater in Gary well. I had the honor of being it’s manager for a while.

One day the televisions told the sad story that our great leader had been killed in Dallas

Already we had several people in our matinee audience. I went out on the stage and said the following: “Please excuse us for stopping the movie, but I have to tell you that it has just been reported that John F. Kennedy had just be assigned in Dallas, Texas.”

There was a quite in the theater, but everyone remained setting. No one saying any thing. I then said “do you not under stand what I am saying, The president of the United States is dead.” A woman let out a frighting scream, and people went running from the theater.

3Gary3 on April 8, 2012 at 2:27 pm

It seems they have a petiton to restore it

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 30, 2012 at 5:16 pm

The ornate Spanish Baroque organ screen of the Palace Theatre at Gary can be seen in this photo illustrating an ad for the George Kilgen & Son organ company in the October 13, 1928, issue of Motion Picture News.

whtesoxfan56 on November 3, 2014 at 12:48 pm

Gosh darnit, when I see pics like that 1928 one you posted a link to, Joe Vogel. Makes me sad that I have a strong gut feeling, that this theater will more than likely never be saved, especially considering it closed in 1972. :( At least the New Regal(nee Avalon) Theater 20 miles west on the southeast side of Chicago, might have a small chance of being saved and brought back to life. crossing fingers

DavidZornig on February 19, 2015 at 7:03 pm

Tribune article with one current photo. Copy & Paste to view.

DonaldKirk on December 21, 2016 at 8:53 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 5:38 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 5:54 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 8:41 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 9:28 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.

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