Downtown Heritage Tour
Theatres designed in the early 20th century featured deep stages for vaudeville and other live entertainment. When silent movies became popular, vaudeville acts frequently preceded the movie, so the deep stages were still necessary. With the advent of talking pictures, the movie industry narrowed the stages and developed flashy, exotic interiors. Paramount Pictures began to build theatres with increasingly dramatic interior spaces specifically for showing movies. The Paramount was built in 1931 in Aurora, at the peak of this opulent movie palace trend. It was designed by George and C.W. Rapp, architects of the Chicago Theatre as well as the Rialto Theatre in Joliet. The Paramount underwent a $2.9 million renovation in 1978, and continues life as a prestigious regional cultural attraction.
The auditorium is designed to feel like an outdoor performance space. Painted fabric murals imply distant vistas, while a plaster medallion and petal chandelier are set in a sky-blue ceiling accented with stylized silver rays extending from the center. The exterior makes lavish use of multi-colored decorative terra cotta, especially emphasizing the
The Paramount Park existed from 1930 to 1934[.] It contained paths, a pond, garden, and miniature golf. It was a restful retreat area open only to theatre patrons. In November 1987 the space was re-dedicated as Sesquicentennial Park. The sculpture, "City Lights, City Life," by Chicago artist Jerry Peart, is its central feature.
This image of the Paramount Theatre was taken shortly after its opening in September 1931. Paramount Park, the area to the west of the Parmount's entrance, offered a respite for theatre patrons. It existed at the site from 1930-1934.
Photo Courtesy of the Aurora Historical Society
This property has been placed on the
National Register of Historic Places
by the United States Department of Interior
March 18, 1980
Plaque donated by the family of
Gerald C. Klose
Paramount Arts Centre
Architects - George and C.W. Rapp
Art Deco Theater with Terra Cotta
Listed in the National Register of
Historic Places, 1980.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Architecture Arts, Letters, Music • Entertainment • Industry & Commerce. In addition, it is included in the Art Deco series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1931.
Location. 41° 45.472′ N, 88° 18.857′ W. Marker is in Aurora, Illinois, in Kane County. Marker is on Galena Boulevard east of Stolp Avenue, on the left when traveling east. Marker and theatre are on Stolp Island in the Fox River. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 23 East Galena Boulevard, Aurora IL 60506, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Aurora Hotel • Leland Hotel (within shouting distance of this marker); Joseph and Samuel McCarty (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Leland Hotel (about 300 feet away); German-American Bank Building • American National Bank (about 400 feet away); Aurora National Bank Building (about 500 feet away); Aurora Silverplate Manufacturing Co. (about 500 feet away); Dedicated in Memory of Our Fathers (about 500 feet away); 31 North Broadway (about 600 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Aurora.
Also see . . .
1. Paramount Theatre Website. (Submitted on April 25, 2016, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
2. Paramount Theatre History. (Submitted on April 25, 2016, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
3. Stolp Island Historic District Walking Tour. "Downtown Aurora" entry - PDF history and tour (Submitted on December 6, 2020, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York.)
Credits. This page was last revised on December 6, 2020. It was originally submitted on April 25, 2016, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 209 times since then and 7 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on April 25, 2016, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.