Walker Theatre

617 Indiana Avenue,
Indianapolis, IN 46202

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Walker Theatre, Indianapolis, IN

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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.

Contributed by Jason Young

Recent comments (view all 20 comments)

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on May 19, 2007 at 7:12 pm

Here is a 2007 photo of the Walker Theater.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on July 29, 2007 at 10:20 pm

This is another photo of the Walker Theater.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on October 27, 2007 at 6:16 pm

This is a circa 1952 photo. Click on the photo to expand it.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on October 28, 2007 at 10:15 pm

Here is a circa 1930 photo. Click on the photo to expand it.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on February 27, 2009 at 3:16 pm

Here are some Walker Theater related photos:

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Lost Memory
Lost Memory on February 27, 2009 at 4:55 pm

Here are some additional Walker Theater related photos:

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Lost Memory
Lost Memory on April 10, 2009 at 4:02 pm

Another photo of the Walker Theater is here.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on July 30, 2009 at 10:22 pm

Here is another 2009 photo.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on November 24, 2009 at 5:48 pm

Madam C. J. Walker was born Sarah Breedlove. Her husbands name was Charles J. Walker and she became known as Madam C. J. Walker. Here is the National Register of Historic Places registration form for the Walker Theater.

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