Historic, but not famous

John Eberson, theater designer and owner

John Adolph Emil Eberson (1875–1954) was a European born American architect best known for the development and promotion of movie palace designs. He was born in Austria-Hungary and studied electrical engineering at The University of Vienna. In 1901, he traveled to the United States through NYC, but ended up in St. Louis. He started as an engineer with a small company, but eventually joined with Johnson Realty and Construction Company, a theatre architecture and construction company. Eberson and Johnson traveled around the eastern part of America, promoting opera houses in small towns. Once the town was persuaded to build an opera house, Eberson would design it and Johnson would build it.

Lowe’s Valencia Theater in Queens is now used as a church

In 1926, he moved his family to New York City and attained national, and even international acclaim for his atmospheric theatres, many of them executed in exotic revival styles. He built theaters all throughout the midwest and in 1927 he designed the  Universal Theater in Brooklyn, often called the 46th Street Theatre. The theater was demolished in 2015. In 1929, he designed the Lowe’s Paradise theater in The Bronx and the Lowe’s Valencia theater in Queens. In 1932, the Lowe’s 72nd street theater opened. It was closed in 1961.

Unfortunately, a large number of his  500 buildings, including about 100 large theatres, have been destroyed. Many were victims of redevelopment; changing taste and the need for smaller auditoriums where multiple films could be shown.

Lowe’s Paradise Theater in The Bronx is now used as a church

Besides theaters, he also helped with the war effort during World War II. He designed a hospital on Long Island, and housing at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey and at the United States Military Academy.

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