Throwback Thursday: The Court Theater

Willennar Genealogy Center’s collection is full of Throwback Thursday potential, so let’s get our #TBT on!

Previously for Throwback Thursday, we’ve talked about the Gala and Empire movie theaters, but today we’ll look at a local movie theater that did more than just show films: the Court Theater in Auburn, Indiana.

Aluminum Drive

Opened in 1916, the Court Theater was one of the earliest movie theaters in Auburn, Indiana, arriving in town several years after the Hub and Empire theaters.

Although the theater did show films, it was also used for a number of other things: concerts, plays, and commencements were held on the Court’s stage. An aluminum drive was held there in 1941 for the National Defense Program. Supposedly, the Auburn Automobile Company even debuted some of its new cars on the stage at the Court!


The theater was notable in appearance as well—at least on the inside. It was remodeled in 1928 by an Indiana architect and designer named Alvin M. Strauss. Though according to Chad Gramling’s Legendary Locals of Auburn, Strauss is probably more closely associated with Noble County, he also designed the 1930s Art-Deco-style showroom in what is now the ACD Museum, as well as the Embassy Theater in Fort Wayne.

Strauss revamped the Court in the atmospheric style, where the décor was meant to “transport” theatergoers to another place. He turned the theater into a European square, complete with building fronts, creeping greenery, and a ceiling that resembled a starlit sky.


The theater was owned for a time by Hobe and Beatrice Hart, who also owned of the Empire/Smart Theater. It remained open and running until 1963. However, the Court lives on through photographs, tickets, and even theater seats which have found homes in other places, even if the theater itself is now gone.

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About Katy

Some of the books I've recently come to love include Signal To Noise by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, The Just City by Jo Walton, Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead, and Bug In A Vacuum by Melanie Watt. I'm a firm believer in the power of the Oxford comma.
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One Response to Throwback Thursday: The Court Theater

  1. Pingback: Throwback Thursday: The Crystal Theatre | Charlie Chat

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