Paramount Theatre

Known Name(s)

Paramount Theatre


Charlottesville, VA

Physical Status



Photo courtesy, The Roseberry Archives, photo by Edwin S. Roseberry.

Current address 215 East Main Street. 

Detailed History

The Paramount served as a movie theater from 1931-1974; it is now a performing arts venue. From the website: “As with most Southern theaters of the era, The Paramount operated for many years as a segregated building. The Third Street Entrance, originally intended for use by African-American patrons, is another feature setting the theater apart. With a level of decoration and elegance sized for the smaller scale, but not completely removed (as was often the case), the design of the Third Street Entrance is complimentary to – not divorced from – that of the building as a whole.” The theater closed in 1974, underwent a restoration, and reopened in 2004.

Candacy Taylor, in her book Overground Railroad  discusses the business on page 50: “During the late 1930s, black patrons entered the theater through the side door and had to walk up a small, unlit stairway to the balcony and sit in the “Colored” section. Black patrons were also forced to use a separate concession area, separate restrooms, and even separate emergency exits. Although black patrons were segregated at the Paramount Theater, blacks could at least patronize it, which was not true of many of the city’s other establishments.”

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