Three shuttered cinemas a stone’s throw apart in Anderson, Indiana

Movie theaters are closing: the rise of streaming services, competition from entertainment, changing consumer preferences, and residual economic factors from COVID-19 have shuttered many multiplexes over the past several years. Anderson, Indiana, alone has four! That’s not uncommon for a community of its size in the midwestern rust belt, but what is uncommon is that three of them sit within an astonishing eight hundred feet of one another! 

I saw movies in two of the old theaters. That, along with my fascination with abandoned places where people once congregated is why Anderson’s unique trio piqued my interest. They exist in such close proximity because of the Mounds Mall, which opened in November 1964. Developed by Melvin Simon & Associates, it was one of the first enclosed shopping malls in Indiana2.

I’m planning a deep dive on the mall, but here now, the cinemas.

Mounds Cinema (1970-2004)

Cinecom opened Mounds Cinema to a screening of Tora! Tora! Tora! on December 25, 1970. Built on the corner of East 22nd and C Streets across from the mall, Mounds Cinema was Anderson’s first suburban theater. It challenged downtown Anderson’s venerable Paramount, State, and Riviera theatres as the premier place to catch a show.

Mounds Cinema -later the Anderson 4- as seen on January 15, 2023.

At the time of Mounds Cinema’s opening, Cinecom operated 190 theaters across the country. Many were designed with the same basic footprint: around Indiana, other theaters that feature Mounds Cinema’s layout were Cinema South on South Hanna Street in Fort Wayne and the Plaza North in Terre Haute. Theodore Dariotis, the man responsible for the theaters’ blueprints, presided over Mounds Cinema’s dedication ceremonies in 19703. Despite its cookie-cutter nature, period advertisements describe Mounds Cinema as designed for comfort and convenience.

This advertisement, for Mounds Cinema and the South Drive In, appeared on page 18 of the November 23, 1973 edition of the Anderson Daily Bulletin.

In 1977, Mounds Cinema showed It’s Alive and The Pink Panther Strikes Again. Kerasotes acquired the theater from Cinecom the following year and divided its large auditorium in 1979. A third screen was added three months later, and the cinema received another auditorium and a new name, Showplace 4, in 1986.

A blurry photo of Mounds Cinema -now Northview Church- as seen on January 15, 2023.

Kerasotes closed the cinema in 2002, but Goodrich Quality Theaters purchased it and showed movies as the Anderson 4 until the theater finally closed for good. The building has been home to Northview Church’s Anderson campus since 2016. I remember seeing a movie here during the Kerasotes days, but I can’t remember what it was or what the interior of the building looked like. A friend of mine got dragged to a church service there and said, from the inside, the building’s provenance as an old theater is pretty obvious.

Mounds Mall Cinema I & II (1974-2002)

Mounds Mall Cinema I & II, as seen on January 15, 2023.

Mounds Cinema was neither owned by nor sat on property owned by Mounds Mall’s developers, so Simon contracted the Charles Brandt Company to build the company’s own theater next door to the mall. Leased to General Cinema Corporation, Simon’s Mounds Mall Cinema I & II opened to screenings of Pippi in the South Seas and Thunderbolt and Lightfoot on August 16, 1974. Advertised with “acres” of free parking, a smoking lounge, pushback seats, and an art gallery, the theatre consisted of two auditoriums seating 372 and 366 patrons, respectively, in staggered seating so everyone could get a good view of the picture4

This ad for the Riviera Theater, Mounds Cinema, and Mounds Mall Cinema I & II appeared on page 25 of the December 14, 1977 edition of the Anderson Daily Bulletin.

General Cinemas was a big player in movie theaters around these parts. The company’s serifed CINEMA I-II signage is readily identifiable! Fort Wayne’s Glenbrook 3, Muncie’s North West Plaza Cinema, Gary’s Dunes 1 & II, and Eastgate I & II in Indianapolis, among many others, were similar General Cinema theaters in Indiana,

Mounds Mall Cinema I & II, as seen on January 15, 2023.

In 1977, Mounds Mall I & II got Saturday Night Fever, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and an under-the-radar arthouse film called Star Wars. Compared to Mounds Cinema’s offerings, its easy to see which competitor won the 70s!


The Applewood 9, as seen on July 18, 2018.

Cinema I & II’s two screens may have hogged the blockbusters in 1977, but consumers started clamoring for bigger theaters with more auditoriums shortly afterwards and their changing preferences had a huge impact on Anderson’s theaters. Downtown, the old Riviera operated until 1978. The Paramount -Anderson’s premier movie palace since 1929- closed in 1984. The city’s North Drive In was shuttered in 1986, and the South Drive In closed around the too. Sensing a market hungry for a modern multiplex, Goodrich Quality Theaters opened the Applewood 9 in a bustling shopping center near the interstate in 1989. It closed as a dollar cinema in 2008, the year GQT opened the Hamilton 16 in nearby Noblesville. Today, the Applewood 9 is home to a seasonal haunted house attraction.

Mounds Mall 10 (2004-2019)

Mounds Mall 10, as seen on January 15, 2023.

JC Penney opened at Mounds Mall in 1969. The two-level store closed thirty-two years later and was demolished shortly afterwards5. In 2003, the mall was acquired by Bayview Financial Corporation of Coral Gables, Florida. The company built a new theater, Mounds Mall 10, on the JC Penney site. On opening day -April 16, 2004- the cinema showed a slate of movies highlighted by The Lady Killers, Dawn of the Dead, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind in auditoriums that featured stadium seating. The complex could be accessed by an external entrance on the north side of the mall’s parking lot, along with an entrance within the mall’s carpeted concourse. The theater’s opening proved too much for the old Mounds Cinema/Showplace/Anderson 4 across the street, and it closed for good.

Mounds Mall with JC Penney at left, compared to the Mounds Mall with Mounds Mall 10. Satellite imagery courtesy Google, copyright IndianaMap Framework Data. Landsat /Copernicus, Maxar Technologies, USDA/FPAC/GEO. 

I came to appreciate the Mounds Mall 10 once Muncie’s theaters began to consolidate. I stopped going to the AMC 12 in town after a renovation installed recliners that substantially decreased each auditorium’s seating capacity. Instead, I drove the eleven miles to Mounds to see Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and a couple other movies over the past several years at Mounds 10.

The mall-facing entrance to the Mounds Mall 10, taken a month before the mall closed for good.

Unfortunately, Mounds Mall itself wasn’t far behind Mounds Cinema and the Mounds Mall I & II. After JC Penney closed, the mall was left with Sears and Elder-Beerman as its two anchors. Sears closed in early 2012 after a season of poor holiday sales, and Elder-Beerman -rebranded Carson’s- announced that it would follow suit in 2018. The rest of the mall closed at the same time6.

Mounds Mall 10’s lobby on August 4, 2019.

The Mounds Mall 10 cinema actually soldiered on. Its operators built walls to separate the lobby from rest of the abandoned mall and began to utilize its exterior entryway exclusively. I saw that arrangement firsthand when I went to see Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. The changes seemed rushed- the signage looked hastily designed and installed, and the new lobby walls weren’t even painted.

Mounds Mall 10’s exterior entrance on August 4, 2019.

At least Anderson still had a movie theater! Unfortunately, it wasn’t for long- after only fifteen years, Mounds Mall 10 was shuttered in 2019 after mall ownership changed hands again. The new owner expressed interest in reopening the multiplex, but previous owners had stripped its auditoriums of their seating, screens, and other equipment7. Four years after it closed, the theater is still shuttered.

Mounds Mall 10, as seen on January 15, 2023.

It seems unlikely that the Mounds Mall 10 -or the mall itself, for that matter- will ever reopen. The entire complex has fallen into significant disrepair over the years since it closed, and commercial development in Anderson has shifted two-and-a-half miles south of the property towards I-69. Only the old Mounds Cinema remains in use, and it hosted Northview At The Movies on April 8th and 9th, 20228! Aside from that aberration, Anderson movie buffs have to travel to Muncie or Noblesville to be indulged by the big screen.

I sound like an old man, but I’ve been unwilling to do either, and I haven’t been to a see a movie since the Mounds Mall 10 closed. Although the interior was dated, the concessions were cheap and the multiplex provided a gimmick-free way to see a new blockbuster.


Anderson’s landmark Paramount Theater. Image courtesy Wikimedia user David Wilson under the CC BY 2.0 license.

Anderson’s trio of shuttered multiplexes surrounding Mounds Mall represent a lot of the city’s movie history, but not all of it. Saved by the wrecking ball in 1989 and subsequently restored to its 1920s opulence, the Paramount Theatre Centre and Ballroom still hosts events and even shows films on occasion. This year, the Paramount will host Buddy Guy, the Anderson Young Ballet Theatre, 38 Special, and Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band, among others.

The State Theater. Image courtesy Flickr user BWChicago under the CC BY-NC 2.0 license.

The State Theater, abandoned since 2008, sits two blocks south of the Paramount. The city of Anderson purchased the empty building in 2019 after several renovation attempts by private parties failed. It’s a grand old building, and I hope it can be preserved and revitalized. It’d be a great counterpoint to the Paramount as a venue for local artists or punk bands like the Emerson in Indianapolis or the Newport Music Hall in Columbus, Ohio.

Mounds Mall 10, as seen on January 15, 2023.

Although they don’t have the architectural appeal of the State or the Paramount, the Mounds Cinema, the Mounds Mall Cinema I & II, and the Mounds Mall 10 are still worth remembering and investigating, if for no other reason than that abandoned buildings are cool! Beyond that, thousands of people made memories at those multiplexes. I was one of them!


“Three shuttered cinemas a stone’s throw apart in Anderson, Indiana”


Mounds Cinema as itself
Mounds Mall Cinema I & II as itself
Mounds Mall 10 as itself


Anderson 9 as itself
Paramount Theatre as itself
State Theatre as itself

Ted Shideler – Key Grip
Ted Shideler – Gaffer
Ted Shideler – Best Boy

Sources Cited
1 Wilczek, F. (205, September 23). Einstein’s Parable of Quantum Insanity. Scientific American. Quanta Magazine. Web. Retrieved February 16, 2023.
2 Simon Property Group, Inc. History (n.d.) FundingUniverse. Web. Retrieved February 15, 2023. 
2 New Theatre Opens At Mall (1970, December 24). The Anderson Herald. p. 3.
3 Pitts, M. (1974, April 10). More movie houses to open here. The Anderson Daily Bulletin. p. 8.
4 Cinema I and II open house Thursday (1974, August 13). The Anderson Daily Bulletin. p. 12.
5 Montgomery, G. (2018, March 1). Mounds Mall in Anderson to close April 1 after 53 years. WiSHTV. Web. Retrieved February 15, 2023.
6 De la Batiste, K. (2018, March 1). Mounds Mall, central Indiana’s first enclosed mall, to close April 1 after 54 years. The Anderson Herald Bulletin. Web. Retrieved February 16, 2023. 
7 De la Batiste, K. (2019, October 11). Mounds Mall theater closed indefinitely as ownership changes hands. The Anderson Herald Bulletin. Web. Retrieved February 18, 2023.
8 Join Us Weekends Starting August 6 and 7! (2022). Northview Church. Web. Retrieved February 18, 2023.

5 thoughts on “Three shuttered cinemas a stone’s throw apart in Anderson, Indiana

  1. I was born into the very tail end of the downtown grand theater era. I saw my first movies in them. The mall / shopping-center theater was starting to happen then, and they had from one to three screens. Scottsdale Mall, near my home, had a one-screen theater. It was converted to a two-screen theater in an inelegant way: they built a wall down the middle. The seats were all still angled as if they were pointing at one screen in the middle. Anyway, in those days every theater complex didn’t show essentially everything playing, and sometimes you had to drive to a distant theater to see the movie you wanted. We didn’t think anything of it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve had the fortune to see movies at theaters the size and vintage of, say, the State in Logansport or the Times in Rochester, and I’ve played a few old neighborhood theaters like the Irving and Emerson, but never something as grand as the State or Palace in South Bend. I’m jealous!

      It was eye-opening to see which of these clearly won 1977 based on their different slates.


      1. I saw my first film in the Palace in 1987! It hadn’t been a movie theater in some time but that December they had a one-time showing of It’s a Wonderful Life, and I went. My grandmother had been buried the day before, and I adored her, and so it was good to be there alone in a dark theater with a movie that was sure to provoke emotions.

        I saw movies in the Colfax, but don’t remember anything about it. I remember that the State was painted green in the auditorium and it was oppressive. Mom tells me it was not always so. The Granada up the street was demolished in 1973, when I was 6, and I never got to go inside. But I hear that the ceiling of the auditorium was a constellation of stars.

        I got to go into the State in Logansport a few years ago for a Michigan Road meeting. Search my site for photos. The Times in Rochester has been undergoing a restoration and recently reopened.


  2. In 1976, the IRS came in the Mounds Theatre and closed it. It was reopened in the spring with the Cook daughter ( Cook Block) running it. Before that Royal Cinemas ran it with the district office in Kokomo. The Paramount held many different events along with movies. The organ was great when it came up out of the floor. The dance recitals were held there in the spring. My sister ran both the State and Paramount in the late 60’s and early 70’s. Mounds Cinema 74-76 .

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am feeling old, realizing that my life has followed the arc from old downtown theaters (Embassy and Clyde in Fort Wayne) to big new mall theaters (Holiday at Northcrest) to multiplexes to small cities like Anderson that completely lack a theater. Now I am trying to remember the last time I went out to a movie.


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