617 Indiana Avenue,
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Walker Theatre, Indianapolis (Official)
Firms: Rubush & Hunter
Functions: Performing Arts
Styles: Art Deco
Previous Names: Madame Walker Theatre Center
News About This Theater
A rare example of African Deco styling (which featured African shields and spears, sphinxes, and chimpanzees), the Walker Theatre was concieved by Madam C. J. Walker, America’s first black millionairess, after she was charged a higher price to attend another downtown theater because of her race.
Walker died in 1919, before the theater was finished, but her daughter A'Lelia completed the theater in her mother’s memory. The Walker Theatre was opened on December 26, 1927, with 1,500 seats. The theater building also contained a ballroom, casino, beauty shop, pharmacy, and coffee shop. It was located in the heart of the African American community, Indiana Avenue, which was famed for its jazz halls.
Recently, the building has undergone a complete restoration. There are plans to install a theater organ, which will hopefully be the original Barton Organ that was removed long ago.
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