F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts
71 Public Square,
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A perfect example of an Art Moderne theater, it opened as the New Commerford Theatre on August 18, 1938, with a seating capacity of 2,047. Built as the flagship theater for the Michael Comerford chain.
By 1943, it was operated by Paramount Pictures Inc, through their subsidiary Frank Walker. Later renamed the Paramount Theatre after the 1949 anti-trust suits, it continued showing movies until 1977. Suffered a major flood with 14 feet of water in 1972. Susequent renovations stripped out the ornate lobby and many fixtures were sold.
It closed in the early-1980’s and was facing demolition, when in 1986 S.T.O,P. was able to get the building listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The building was subsequently restored and reopened as the Kirby Center for the Performing Arts.
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