St. Cloud arts center seeking historical items, stories for centennial celebration

Share story

A view of the Paramount Theatre in downtown St. Cloud, circa 1930s.
A view of the Paramount Theatre in downtown St. Cloud, circa 1930s.
Courtesy Paramount Center for the Arts

A central Minnesota landmark will celebrate its centennial next year — and organizers are inviting the community to help tell the story.

Downtown St. Cloud's Paramount Center for the Arts is housed in a building that first opened as the Sherman Theatre on Christmas Eve 1921. It later was the Paramount Theatre for many years.

"Many of the folks in St. Cloud went to movies here or met their spouses here at the theater. Many folks were ushers years back or perhaps they knew the original theater manager," said Bob Johnson, executive director and CEO of Paramount Center for the Arts. "Just telling those stories and reliving that connects people across the whole community."

The Paramount Center for the Arts in St. Cloud
The Paramount Center for the Arts -- formerly the Paramount Theatre and Sherman Theatre -- has been a landmark in downtown St. Cloud since 1921.
Courtesy Paramount Center for the Arts

Johnson said a year of centennial events are planned, and ahead of that, the arts center is working with the Stearns History Museum to collect Paramount artifacts such as costumes, ticket stubs, playbills and photos.

And beyond physical objects, they're collecting stories, too.

"There are lots of folks who may have celebrated by coming out to the theater. There may be people who have met performers and and that had an impact on their life. Maybe they became artists themselves as a result of that," Johnson said. "Those are the kinds of things that we're looking for."

Items can be donated permanently or provided on long-term loan for upcoming history displays.

Johnson said plans are still underway for the lineup of centennial activities and souvenirs. Among the planned events: showing the silent film that was played on the theater's opening night in 1921, accompanied by a live orchestra.

"We really want it to be a celebratory year," he said.

If you are interested in donating items or learning more, contact the Stearns History Museum at (320) 380-4145, or email info@stearns-museum.org. Find more information here.

Before you go...

MPR News is dedicated to bringing you clarity in coverage from our reporters across the state, stories that connect us, and conversations that provide perspectives when we need it most. We rely on your help to do this. Your donation has the power to keep MPR News strong and accessible to all during this crisis and beyond.