The Paramount Theatre in Newark NJ was one of the large iconic theatres that operated in this bustling city. Opened in 1886, it initially operated under the name of “H.C. Miner’s Newark Theatre” and managed by Hyde & Behman Amusement Co.
In 1916 the building was sold 1916 to Edward Spiegel, the owner of the nearby Strand Theatre. Spiegel also purchased the building next to the theater with the intent to use the space to expand the theater. To accomplish this he hired famed theater architect Thomas W. Lamb to do the alterations.
The fact that Lamb designed this theater is a badge of honor in some ways. He designed nearly 50 theaters in his career in four different countries. His new Newark theater featured many ornate details. A large dome hovered over the center of the auditorium, which now had almost 2000 seats. Inside the dome was a painted zodiac wheel. Carved plasterwork behind the dome depicted noble eagles, with connected swastikas forming a border. The plaster rim was scalloped with the utmost care. In the center and on either side hung large chandeliers.
The Paramount Theatre closed on March 31, 1986 due to an increase in insurance rates. This increase also led to the closing of the nearby Adams Theatre. In the years since the 1986 closing the lobby area has been reused as an Army/Navy surplus store and other similar pop-up retail stores.
In 2012, the RGH development group received a $52 million from the state of New Jersey to help fuel the “Four Corners Millennium Project”. This redevelopment calls for a mixed use residential/commercial building to be built on the site of the theater. These plans didn’t materialize right away though, and the building continued to sit abandoned into the 2020’s.
Although a retail store operated out of the former lobby until around April 2011, a store employee confirmed that behind the drop ceilings and walls remains much of the old theatre, complete with stage area and balcony seating intact. As for the winter of 2020/2021 part of the auditorium roof collapsed due to the weight of snow.