Orpheum Theatre

21 W. 8th Avenue,
Gary, IN 46402

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Indiana-Illinois Theaters, Paramount-Publix, Young Amusement Co.

Nearby Theaters

Orpheum, 1915 Sanborn Map

Located at the corner of Washington Street and 8th Avenue. Originally built as a skating rink which closed in June 1910. The Orpheum Theatre was opened on September 22, 1910 by the Young Amusement Company chain, with vaudeville & movies. It was never equipped for ‘talkies’. On June 2, 1929 it was taken over by Paramount Publix and closed as a silent movie theatre in 1930. It became an indoor mini golf course. It was demolished in 1933 and the site became a filling station. Today the site is an empty plot.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 3 comments)

Denverpalace on January 27, 2023 at 10:37 am

The theater was located at the southeast corner of Eighth and Washington. The stage abutted Washington Street. The public entrance was at 21 W. 8th Avenue.

Denverpalace on February 23, 2024 at 7:34 pm

On April 7, 1936, V.U. Young, now president of three-year-old Theatrical Managers, Inc., announced plans to build a $160,000 1200-seat movie house on the Orpheum site, which had been used as a filling station since the Orpheum was torn down in 1933. The theater was never built. A local rival would soon break ground for the State Theatre, built one block north of the old Orpheum. That showplace opened on October 1, 1937.

Denverpalace on April 5, 2024 at 7:25 pm

The 800-seat Orpheum Theatre at the southeast corner of Eighth Avenue and Washington Street opened as a showhouse on September 22, 1910. The 90-ft x 125-ft building started life as the Washington skating rink, which might have been the city’s largest public space at the time. As such, it hosted skaters, banquets, basketball games and special events. It closed in June 1910. Owner Young & Vossler, a real estate concern, leased the building to F&H Amusement Company after spending $10,000 to convert the space into a theater. Local contractor Wiley Brothers did the work, which included remodeling the floors and building a stage. V.U. Young, of Young & Vossler, supervised the transformation and managed the theater for F&H. (F&H was also leasing the Majestic Theatre in Gary from Young & Vossler, and V.U. Young was managing that venue too.)

Young would spend the next 38 years managing theaters. He and future partner C.J Wolf eventually owned a web of inter-related companies that in turn owned and/or operated theaters, several of which were in Gary. One such entity was the Young Amusement Company, which operated the Orpheum after F&H. On June 2, 1929, Indiana-Ohio Theatre Corp., a new Publix Theaters Corp. subsidiary, acquired control of the Orpheum and nine other Young Amusement theaters. Never wired for sound, the Orpheum closed in 1930.

The Vidette-Messenger newspaper reported on August 2, 1930, that miniature golf had taken the place of drama and motion pictures inside the Orpheum. The article noted that owner V.U. Young spent $10,000 to remodel the interior of the building and construct a miniature golf course. Another source indicated that the building was leased to Indoor Golf Courses of America in September 1930.

The structure was razed in 1933. After that the property was home to a filling station.

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