Abandoned New Jersey: Inside Newark’s Haunting Paramount Theater

paramount-theater-newark-new-jersey (Image: Julia Wertz via Flickr; see website)

The United States abounds with abandoned theatres and movie palaces both grand in scale and design. And the Paramount Theater in Newark, New Jersey is no exception.

paramount-theater-newark-new-jersey-5 (Image: Matt Lambros/After the Final Curtain)

Originally known as H.C. Miner’s Newark Theater when it opened on Market Street in 1886, the opulent venue has remained eerily silent for almost 30 years and may be set for redevelopment as part of an ambitious plan to revitalise downtown Newark.

paramount-theater-newark-new-jersey-3 (Image: Julia Wertz via Flickr; see website)

Originally a vaudeville venue managed by Hyde & Behman Amusement Co. of Brooklyn, New York, Miner’s death in 1900 saw the Paramount Theater pass into the possession of his children, who sold it in 1916 to Edward Speigel. According to Cinema Treasures, Speigel owned the nearby Strand Theater and planned to expand the Paramount into the adjoining premises.

paramount-theater-newark-new-jersey-4 (Images: Julia Wertz via Flickr; see website)

Noted theatre architect Thomas W. Lamb was given the task of remodelling the entertainment venue in the 18th Century neoclassical Adamesque style and the Paramount remained in business for another six decades. Jerry Lee Lewis once worked there as an usher and Mae West set a box office record at the Paramount in 1939.

paramount-theater-newark-new-jersey-2 (Image: Julia Wertz via Flickr; see website)

The final curtain fell on April 1, 1986, a century after the theatre first opened. The lobby was converted for retail purposes, though the vertical Paramount sign and distinctive marquee remain in place today. Meanwhile, behind the false walls and ceilings of the repurposed lobby, the old theatre endures, its grand features peeling from the walls and seats sitting silent beneath decades of dust.

paramount-theater-newark-new-jersey-7 (Image: Matt Lambros/After the Final Curtain)

In 2009 there was talk of returning the abandoned theatre to its former glory. But a year ago it was reported that the site may become part of a $52 million residential and commercial development in a bid to breathe new life into the heart of downtown Newark, NJ.

paramount-theater-newark-new-jersey-6 (Image: Matt Lambros/After the Final Curtain)

Keep reading – More abandoned theatres, music halls, ballrooms & cinemas.

 
 


 
 
 

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