Since Spanish missionaries founded it in the early 18th century, Austin has built a name as a cultural hub and center of all things intellectual and eccentric. Later, with the development of one of the country’s oldest and most prestigious public universities, Austin only increased its renown as a dynamic and bohemian city.
Today, Austin still prides itself on its artistic roots, proven by its endearingly “weird” aesthetic. As home to many internationally acclaimed film and music festivals, the city certainly lives up to its reputation.
For generations, the Paramount Theatre has played a considerable role in this. The architecturally stunning site has been home to thousands of shows of all sorts throughout the years and is a highly sought-after destination for tourists and professional performers alike.
That’s not all it’s home to, though. Many ghostly inhabitants are also rumored to inhabit its historic halls.
When money and glamor came to the shores of the Colorado River in the 19th and 20th centuries with the oil boom, so did a thriving cultural scene of music, art, and theater.
The Paramount Theatre came to prominence in this vibrant mecca for artists and performers. Built in 1915, The Paramount Theatre was an instant attraction in downtown Austin. Initially designed as a space for Vaudeville performance, its classical revivalist exterior (which has since gone through an Art Deco renovation) stands out as strikingly luxurious along Congress Avenue.
The opening performance was a comic rendition of Oliver Twist, which sold out 1,000 seats at 25 cents a ticket. An instant hit, the theater has since hosted countless famous acts, such as Harry Houdini, Greta Garbo, Katharine Hepburn, Duke Ellington, and more.