Parthenon Theatre

5144 S. Hohman Avenue,
Hammond, IN 46320

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PARTHENON Theatre, Hammond, Indiana in 1952.

The Parthenon Theatre was opened on March 14, 1921, originally seating over 2,500, it was the second-largest of Hammond’s movie theatres, after the 3,000-plus seat State Theatre. It was originally operated as part of the Warner Brothers circuit, one of their earliest houses outside of California.

Opening night’s program featured 5-acts of vaudeville from the Orpheum Circuit, a couple of film shorts, and the Douglas Fairbanks feature “The Nut”.

The luxurious and highly ornate neo-Italian Renaissance/Baroque style Parthenon Theatre quickly gained the nickname of “The Wonder Theatre”, not only screening the best first-run features with sound by 1927, but vaudeville into the 1930’s, many of the most famous big bands of the 1930’s and 1940’s, and celebrities such as Harry Houdini, Jack Benny and even Rin-Tin-Tin, the most famous canine star of Hollywood until Lassie.

The Parthenon Theatre’s spacious auditorium featured one of the earliest Hammond movie houses with unobstructed sight lines, thanks to its large reinforced steel and concrete balcony, which seated well over 1,200 alone. It was equipped with a Kimball 2 manual 11 ranks organ. Its lobby spaces could fit more than 1,000 patrons, and all the Parthenon Theatre’s public areas were richly decorated, like a Renaissance era princely palace, and furnished with the finest artwork and furniture, including caged songbirds in the main lobby.

By the late-1960’s, and into the 1970’s, the Parthenon Theatre began to be used more for rock concerts than as a movie house, beginning in 1967, when Sonny and Cher appeared on stage to promote their movie “Good Times”. During the 1970’s, groups as diverse as KISS and Rush played at the Parthenon Theatre.

After closing in the early-1980’s, the longest-lasting of downtown Hammond’s great movie palaces was sadly demolished in 1983, and the site has remained an empty plot of land.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 19 comments)

HHS59
HHS59 on May 20, 2012 at 9:04 am

You can still visit The Parthenon Theater in Hammond, Indiana by visiting: www.hhs59.com/parthenon.htm

Click on the movie poster of Cary Grant and you will go inside to watch a movie clip. Pretty clever, eh?

Visit the Hammond Theater District (tab) and see other movies from other Hammond Theaters.

If you have any stories, pictures, etc. to add to this array of Hammond movie houses, please share them with us.

Thank you.

Rich

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on May 25, 2014 at 4:18 pm

Several photos added via the Planet Hammond Facebook page.

Broan
Broan on April 21, 2016 at 9:19 pm

Architect was E.P. Rupert for R. Levine & Co.

Broan
Broan on April 21, 2016 at 9:19 pm

Rapp & Rapp did the remodel. Maybe not George & Cornelius by that point in time.

rivest266
rivest266 on July 22, 2017 at 6:31 pm

This opened on March 14th, 1921. Grand opening ad below:

Found on Newspapers.com

also the photo section.

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on September 8, 2018 at 12:30 am

Address should be changed to 5144 S. Hohman Avenue.

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on February 21, 2024 at 7:45 pm

May 20, 1974 photo credit Hammond Historical Society Flashback.

https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=2272819932824432&set=pb.100066727507601.-2207520000

Denverpalace
Denverpalace on June 20, 2024 at 9:12 pm

The Parthenon was designed by Rapp & Rapp, not R. Levine & Co.

The February 10, 1920, Hammond Times reported that “Hammond’s newest and most modern theater [was under construction in the block on the west side of Hohman Avenue.] The architects for the new building are Rapp & Rapp of Chicago.” Not yet called Parthenon, it was referred to as the Gregory Theater – the showplace was being erected for the S.J. Gregory Theatrical Company. Rufus Danner, Hammond, served as general contractor. Reuben Levine, who later formed R. Levine & Company, was general superintendent supervising construction for the architects from the time ground was broken.

A July 10, 1925, advertisement for the S.J. Gregory Theatrical Company stated “that the Parthenon was planned and built by the famous Chicago firm of Rapp & Rapp, who also designed the Chicago Theatre.” Marquee noted on page 31 of the first-quarter 1991 issue that Rapp & Rapp designed the Parthenon theater. A photo of the Parthenon’s lobby carries a watermark with the names “C.W. & Geo. L. Rapp.” The accompanying caption points out that early Rapp & Rapp lobbies had “almost identical designs.”

More to come…

Denverpalace
Denverpalace on June 21, 2024 at 9:43 pm

Before Brotman & Sherman and Warner Brothers, the Parthenon Theatre was operated by the Hammond Theatrical Company, and before that by the S.J. Gregory Theatrical Company.

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