Century In St. Cloud: Inside and Out Artifacts Around Paramount
ST. CLOUD -- One of the most iconic images in downtown St. Cloud has to be the marquee outside Paramount Theatre.
Derick Segerstrom is the manager of the Visual Arts Department at the Paramount. He says the marquee we know today was installed in the spring of 1946.
It features a 500 blub canopy and a 456 bulb neon tube fountain. We know that it weighs about three tons because in 1997 they removed the fixture to repair and restore it as part of a major renovation project the entire building went through.
When there are regular shows at the Paramount the sign on the marquee has to be changed regularly, which is still done by hand.
Paul our maintenance manager still heads out in all weather to update the marquee messages, although he keeps reminding us that there are digital marquee screens that could be changed at a computer.
There have actually been two other marquees on the building, the first one from 1921 through 1930 as the Sherman Theater, and the second one from 1930 through 1946 when it was owned by Paramount Publix Theater.
The next time you can go inside the Paramount Theatre take some time to look around and enjoy the large collection of artwork. Segerstrom says they have a large collection on the lower level in the visual arts department as well as in the lobbies, including a fresco entitled "Serenity" that is an incredible 74 inches by 41 inches in size.
It was created on the plaster wall of the original home, so when the owners decided to move they actually had to have it cut from the wall and reinstalled into their new home. And then when they decided to move again they had the fresco cut out a second time and that is when they donated it to the Paramount.
Segerstrom says at the Paramount it was installed on an existing wall and then they built another faux wall to help secure it in place.
He says one piece of history that is original to the building is the old fire curtain that hangs above the stage.
The 100 year old piece is beautifully painted to look like these ornate curtains with pulls and has a very large decorative Coat of Arms style shield in the middle and it has a great big "S" for the Sherman Theatre.
Segerstrom says they also have an old ticket machine that dates back to the 1940s when they showed movies there, and they also discovered an old safe that was hidden behind a wall.
Once a month on the News @ Noon Show on WJON we're doing a feature called a "Century in St. Cloud" celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Paramount Theatre which opened in December of 1921.