Parma Theatre

5826 Ridge Road,
Parma, OH 44130

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Parma Theatre

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Opened in 1936. This local theatre in the Cleveland suburb of Parma, Ohio was showing second run movies in 2002. By 2009, it was screening first run movies.

The Parma Theatre was closed in September 2012, and the front of the building was damaged by fire in an arson attack on November 16, 2012. The entire building was demolished in December 2014.

Contributed by Laura Parsons

Recent comments (view all 21 comments)

dave-bronx™
dave-bronx™ on August 30, 2012 at 1:13 pm

Goodbye to an icon in Parma: Sun News editorial
Published: Thursday, August 30, 2012, 11:29 AM
Sun News staff By Sun News staff

Another sad reminder of the passage of time and the softness of the economy hits home this week as we learn the Parma Theater will shut down for good shortly after Labor Day.

For lots of Parma residents, watching animated classics and favorite childhood films on the enormous screen while seated in plush seats with a treat from the concession stand is a treasured memory. But the reality is we did not continue those weekly pilgrimages to that movie palace, nor did we take our children there on a regular basis in enough numbers to keep the theater afloat.

Viewing habits changed. Multiplexes with about as much charm as tiny warehouses sprang up to push the beautiful movie theaters out of the picture. In-home movie services and gigantic TV screens now are encroaching on that experience, and it seems families are abandoning the movie theater experience altogether and hunkering down in their own family rooms and living rooms to watch films.

The scenario has played out in other cities, where old, art deco movie houses limp along until the owner simply has to throw in the towel. There are sudden spurts of activity from nostalgic residents who suddenly look for ways to save the structures as community assets; architecturally important and significant in the fabric of the community. But after a flurry of concern and calls for saving the theater, what tends to play out is what was recently seen in Lakewood: The theater is razed and a fast-food restaurant is building on the site.

Without patrons, these theaters cannot make it.

Owner Norman Barr told the Sun Post he held out as long as he could. He has been looking for a buyer for five years. Here’s hoping a potential buyer with some creative, workable ideas for such a property steps forward. The city administration and city council should get proactive in helping market the high-traffic site at 5826 Ridge Road. But there is no question the challenge is great.

Meanwhile, we find ourselves saying goodbye to an icon of the community. We might not have supported it enough in recent years, but we wanted to know it was there; an anchor in our town that connected us to our past and to each other. But the passage of time has no respect for that sort of thing, and in the end, it is time that wins.

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on August 30, 2012 at 1:30 pm

As a former resident of the Cleveland area, I am sad to see it go, but I am sure that another factor was the cost of going to digital projection.

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on September 13, 2012 at 9:23 am

An effort has been launched to save the theater: View article

dave-bronx™
dave-bronx™ on November 16, 2012 at 2:41 pm

The Parma Theatre is on fire at this moment! (article from WOIO Channel 19 news below)

Parma Theater Fire: Historic landmark goes up in flames Posted: Nov 16, 2012 5:10 PM EST Updated: Nov 16, 2012 5:29 PM EST

PARMA, OH (WOIO) –

The Parma Fire Department is on the scene at 5826 Ridge Road at the Parma Theater fighting a huge fire.

The Parma Theater was closed about 2 months.

Parma Theater opened in 1936 and is one of the oldest theaters in the neighborhood. It closed on Labor Day of this year.

There is no information about the cause of the fire at this time or if anyone was injured.

Copyright 2012 WOIO. All rights reserved.

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on November 19, 2012 at 2:10 pm

The cause of the fire that severely damaged the closed Parma Theater has been determined to have been arson. View article

dave-bronx™
dave-bronx™ on November 19, 2012 at 8:32 pm

In the description on the title page for this theatre, I’m not sure that the statement “…the empty building was destroyed by fire…” is entirely accurate. I have heard news reports stating that the fire damage was largely confined to the lobby, with smoke damage throughout the rest of the building, including the two adjoining stores. Other reports that the damage estimate is $750K. In any case, the building is still standing and the roof appears to be intact. As I recall, the lobby had been “redecorated” with wood paneling on the walls, the type you would have put in your finished basement in the 1970s, those thin 4'x8' sheets.

mcpierogipazza
mcpierogipazza on July 10, 2013 at 12:20 am

There’s an effort to save the theater and create a community arts center. https://www.facebook.com/FriendsOfParmaTheater/info https://www.facebook.com/parmatheater

dave-bronx™
dave-bronx™ on December 9, 2014 at 3:28 pm

According to local radio news reports, the Parma Theatre was flattened today. They also state that the group that was trying to save it was given no notice that it was coming down today.

dave-bronx™
dave-bronx™ on December 11, 2014 at 11:29 am

An article on the demolition in today’s Parma Sun News:

By Maura Zurick, Northeast Ohio Media Group Email the author | Follow on Twitter on December 08, 2014 at 3:09 PM, updated December 08, 2014 at 7:02 PM

PARMA, Ohio — After the dust cleared Monday, piles of brick, glass and metal littered the Ridge Road spot where the Parma Theater stood for 78 years.

The demolition came with no warning, said Mayor Tim DeGeeter, who learned of the wrecking ball from Councilwoman Deborah Lime, who worked with the Friends of the Parma Theater to try to save it.

“This morning’s demolition came as a surprise to us,” DeGeeter said in a statement. “As this is private property, the city has no standing in this. Our concern is making sure that our residents are safe, that the demolition is done properly and in compliance with city laws.”

The theater closed in 2012, and shortly after, a fire started in the lobby causing $750,000 of damage. The blaze was ruled arson by the Ohio Division of State Fire Marshal and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, and the case is still open.

The Friends of Parma Theater tried to save the movie theater from the wrecking ball for nearly two years. Lime said she found out about the demolition from Facebook and phone calls.

“There truly will be a huge void and a loss to the area with the theater gone,” she said and thanked the volunteers who tried to save it.

The efforts to save the theater spanned from impractical, including a resident’s plan to buy the theater for $1 and convert it into a cat sanctuary, to fundraising to turn it into a community arts center.

Owner Norman Barr had to fix 20 building code violations or tear the theater down before Dec. 11 court date.

Demolition crews started around 8 a.m. By mid-afternoon the front of the theater was a pile of debris.

“As a resident of Polish Village and Parma I am deeply saddened and dismayed that the owners have chosen to demolish the building,” said Kathy Mabin, a member of the Friends of Parma Theater.

Mabin said Barr gave the Friends an inflated price and unreasonable time limit, only after the theater was the subject of news coverage.

“So now the community will suffer, gone is the history, gone is the hope to reclaim the building and make the space useful, and what is left behind is a gaping hole left by their destruction,” she said.

Parma resident Wayne Mesker, one of the original members of Friends of Parma Theater, came to watch the theater where he saw “Transformers” and “Spider Man” come down.

“It’s a sad day here in Parma,” Mesker said. “It didn’t have to be this way.”

dave-bronx™
dave-bronx™ on December 18, 2014 at 11:32 am

R.I.P.
Parma Theatre
10/17/1936 – 12/09/2014

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