Liberty/Paramount Theater (1918-2013)
The Liberty Theater opened its doors on February 11th, 1918. The theater was sponsored by Christopher Deibel, who was the manager and developer of Youngstown's motion picture palace. The theater was bought by the McCrory department store chain, who allegedly was planning on building a skyscraper on the site. This claim was never acted upon, McCrory went on to sell the building in 1929 to the Paramount Pictures Corporation. The final owners were Feiber and Shea, who purchased the building in 1933, they operated the building until its closure in 1976. The building was demolished in 2013, and in its place, the city put a parking lot.
Backstory and Context
When the Liberty Theater first opened its doors in 1918, many claimed it was one of the nicest in the United States. The theater was founded by Christopher Deibel, the manager, and developer of Youngstown's motion picture palace. Liberty Theater was built on top of a civil war era theater. Liberty theater featured a 1'700 seat auditorium and an aquarium in the lobby. The organ for the theater cost $20,000 in 1918 which would be over $300,000 now.
The building changed hands for the first time in 1922, when it was sold to the McCrory Department Store Chain, the rumor was that they were to build a skyscraper on the site, but nothing ever came of it. The second change of hands came in 1929 when the Paramount Pictures Corporation purchased the theater. Paramount spent $200,000 restoring the building. The restoration included changing the marque in order to display the theaters' new name, Paramount Theater.
In 1933 the building was sold once again to Feiber and Shea, who renovated the theater once again. The building continued to operate until 1976 when the theater closed its doors for good. Many attempts to restore the building occurred throughout the decades. Sadly none were completed, and the building fell further into disrepair. The building was deemed beyond saving in 2013. The city paid $721,000 to demolish the old theater. The restoration was estimated to be over a million dollars. So the historic theater was demoed in 2013, the vacant lot was made into a parking lot.
McQuillin, Steve . Liberty Theater . National Register of Historic Places Inventory Form. Published December 20th 1983. United States Department of the Interior .
Dick, Denise. "People remember heydey of falling Paramount Theater ." The Vindicator (Youngstown) July 10th 2013. .