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Indiana Theatre

2002 Photo from the Adam Martin collection.
134-36 W Washington St
Indianapolis IN

Visit Website Live Theatre National Register 1979
Record #9899  
 Opened: June 18, 1927
Capacity: 3133 seats
Architect(s): Rubush & Hunter
Architectural Style(s): Spanish Baroque
National Register: 1979
Current Organ: none
 Also Known As: Cinerama
 Previously operated by: Greater Indianapolis Amusement Co, United Artists Theatres

The Indiana Theatre opened on June 18, 1927, with an original seating capacity reported as 3,500 and a cost of $995,000. The theatre was designed by the architectural firm of Rubush and Hunter, who also designed the Circle Theatre.

Opening night found 3,000 in attendance for a gala event. A performance by the Indiana Symphony Orchestra, a screening of "News of the World," a short play, and a performance on the Grand Barton Organ preceded the feature film, "The Prince of Head Waiters," starring Lewis Stone, who was also in attendance.

The Indiana initially prospered as a first-run movie house with stage presentations. It even had its own chorus line to support traveling headliners, and a grand ballroom located above the auditorium. However, technical advances such as full sound systems along with pressures of the depression, began to take their toll. By 1933, the stage was hardly used and the theatre closed during the summer except for the occasional touring show.

In September 1958, the theatre was closed for renovations, which included the conversion of the basement rooms (which included bowling and billiards rooms) to a single exhibition hall, the removal of the 70-foot-high sign from the facade, and minor changes to the marquee. The Indiana reopened in October 1958 as a convention center and auditorium, but returned to film presentations in 1960 with the installation of equipment for Cinerama films. A new projection room was constructed on the main floor, and seating was removed from both the orchestra and balcony areas, reducing the auditorium seating capacity to 1,900.

Originally built for the Circle Theatre Company, who owned the theatre for over 40 years, the Indiana was sold to the Greater Indianapolis Amusement Company on August 21, 1968, for the amount of one dollar.

By 1970, the Indiana was one of only two movie theatres operating in the central city. By 1975, the theatre was being operated at a loss by Louisville-based Fourth Avenue Amusement Corp.

 Photos remain the property of the Member and may not be reproduced without the written consent of the Member.

July 2003 photos from the Darren Snow collection.

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June 2002 photos from the Adam Martin collection.

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Last featured 1/19/2005. Last edited 9/25/2022.

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