Palace Theater

126 E. Washington Boulevard,
Fort Wayne, IN 46801

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Additional Info

Architects: Cornelius Ward Rapp, George W. Leslie Rapp

Firms: Rapp & Rapp

Previous Names: New Palace Theater, Civic Playhouse Theater

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Exterior of the Palace Theatre in downtown Fort Wayne, IN.

Opened on January 25, 1915, the Palace Theater was renamed the Civic Playhouse Theater in 1965. The building was later demolished.

Contributed by Ken McIntyre

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

PaulWolter on April 15, 2007 at 8:03 pm

I think this was designed by Rapp & Rapp. The facade is remarkably similar to the facade of the Orpheum Theatre in Champaign, Illinois which was built in 1914. The Chicago Historical Society references a Rapp & Rapp design in 1914 for a theatre in Fort Wayne for Stouder and Barnett.

PaulWolter on April 30, 2007 at 4:16 pm

I have just read newspaper articles from the Fort Wayne News from 1914 and 1915 and can verify that this was indeed a Rapp & Rapp design. Hopefully Ken can modify the architect listing at the top of this page so that this important early Rapp & Rapp design gets recognized. The theatre opened on January 25, 1915 as the New Palace Theatre. I hope to type up and post the newspaper listings here.

webchicken on September 12, 2007 at 4:39 pm

According to the Fort Wayne City Directories (Polk), the building was listed as Civic Theatre as early as 1958.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 8, 2013 at 8:33 pm

A 1917 volume called The Pictorial History of Fort Wayne Indiana, by Joseph Griswold, has a paragraph about the Palace Theatre as part of a brief biography of Frank E. Stouder:

“1913 Mr. Stouder organized what is now the Palace Theater Company and instituted the erection of this theater, which was formally opened to the public on January 25, 1915, and it has gained recognition as one of the most modern and attractive theaters in the middle west. It is conceded to be the finest house devoted to vaudeville entertainment in the entire state of Indiana, and the building was erected and equipped at a cost of two hundred and twenty-five thousand dollars. It is of thoroughly fireproof construction, has a seating capacity of two thousand, has the most approved appointments for lighting, heating and ventilating and the general equipment of the stage and general auditorium is of thoroughly metropolitan order, the house having been designed by C. W. and G. L. Rapp, the celebrated theater architects, of Chicago. In presenting the attractions of the unrivaled Keith vaudeville circuit this beautiful house has not been denied the full measure of popular approval and support, and it has added much to the metropolitan prestige of Fort Wayne.”
In partnership with Byron H. Barnett, Frank Stouder had earlier operated two other Fort Wayne houses; the Temple Theatre, beginning in 1894, and the Lyric Theatre, beginning in 1910. Stouder and Barnett disposed of their interests in both houses in 1915, to concentrate on operating the Palace.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 11, 2014 at 3:53 am

W.C. Quimby took over the Palace in 1923, as noted in this item from the September 15 issue of Exhibitors Herald:

“W. C. Quimby Taking Over Ft. Wayne House

(Special to Exhibitors Herald)

“FORT WAYNE, IND., Sept. 5.— Negotiations for the transfer of the Palace theatre in this city, one of the most beautiful playhouses in the middle west, are nearing completion, it has been learned, and new owners are expected to take control soon. W. C. Quimby, owner of three houses in Fort Wayne, it has become known, is buying fifty per cent of the stock of the holding company, and is leasing the remainder for a period of twenty years.

“The deal is said to involve a consideration of $500,000. The theatre has been the leading vaudeville house in Fort Wayne for many years and is at present playing stock. The future policy of the playhouse has not been determined.”

Clyde Quimby had some sort of deal with RKO. The 1933 Fort Wayne directory lists this house as the RKO Palace Theatre.

mwoehnker on July 30, 2020 at 8:50 am

“On April 23, 1957, the curtain is about to fall on the Palace Theater, at the corner of Clinton Street and Washington Boulevard. The building’s owners have announced it will be razed to make room for a parking lot. The second-oldest theater in the city, it cost $200,000 to build and seated 1,700. It was dedicated Jan. 25, 1915, and at the time was devoted exclusively to vaudeville, then in its heyday.” – Dan Vance, writing for the News-Sentinel, 04-23-2018

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