The History in Historic

One of only four atmospheric theaters remaining in Minnesota, the Historic Paramount Theatre was built in 1929 and served as a "first run" movie house until 1975, then as a disco bar, teen club, and comedy club from '75 to '87. When it was purchased by Austin Area Arts in 1992, it required a staunch fundraising effort and work by innumerable tireless volunteers to complete the exhaustive renovation process.

The Paramount Theatre reopened its doors shortly after the turn of the millennium sporting a replica of the original 1929 marquee, a new stone spire (the original had been damaged by a lighting strike on Halloween night in 1945), and a revitalized pseudo-Baroque exterior facade. The interior has also been restored to its former splendor thanks to the work of John Durfey, who led the years-long effort to recover the theater’s colorful Spanish motif. With its arched blue ceiling, stars, and moving clouds, the Paramount calls to mind a small Spanish garden on a clear night.

Having recently installed a state-of-the-art sound system, new projector and top-quality movie screen, Austin Area Arts continues to present a full season of performing arts and make the theatre available to the community and artists for private rental.

Copy of Paramount Logo on Clear.png
I don’t think there is a person in Austin today who lived here prior to 1975 . . . that hasn’t a fond memory of the Paramount Theatre. All too often, unique buildings of this kind are merely wiped off the face of the map in the name of progress. It would a shame if this building were ever lost to progress.
— Roger Larson, Austin Daily Herald

What's Inside

  • 620 stadium-style seats
  • Main floor and balcony
  • Lobby and concessions area