The Parma Theater: A Cinema And A Sense of Place

By Christopher Lobas, Parma Observer

The populous Cleveland suburb of Parma, Ohio once held its downtown, present before any mall or civic buildings ever defined it, in its geographic center, at the cross streets of Snow Road and Ridge Road. At this nexus one still finds a tudor-esque two-story storefront building, another set of shops of similar vintage across the way, a bustling floral boutique, and a modern church with a campanile. Also, there is a theater. An Art Moderne theater, built in 1936, with its original streamlined details and decorative metal panels hastily removed and cheaply replaced with synthetic stucco in the 1980s. A victim of ever-expanding multiplexes, the Parma Theater sunk into a commercial decline and had closed on September 9th of 2012. Arsonists set fire to it on November 16th. The owner has since collected his insurance money, and the unknown firestarters were never brought to justice. Now the theater is vacant, but numerous hands are staking claim on its territory. At this crossroads our story begins.
The fateful story of a forgotten movie theater might well be told by way of analogy…

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