Hilbert Circle Theatre
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Hilbert Circle Theatre

45 Monument Circle
Indianapolis, IN

Summary of History and Significance

Significant for many reasons to the community of Indianapolis, the Circle Theatre was one of the first "deluxe movie palaces" built in the midwest.  When the Circle Theatre opened, as many as sixteen theatres of various types existed within the Mile Square.  After the 1979 razing of the former Colonial (Fox) Theatre (built 1909), the Circle and the Murat (also built 1909) have become the oldest remaining theatre buildings in the city.  The Circle is also one of the oldest buildings fronting on Monument Circle; only Christ Church Cathedral (1860) and the Indianapolis Journal Building (1897) predate the theatre.

Architecturally, the Circle Theatre is an excellent example of the Neo-Classical Revival style.  This style refected the desire of the owners and patrons who were seeking classicism and quality in their music and entertainment.   The decoration of the lobby promenade, mezzanine and house with the procession of Greek figures, intricatemoldings and details are an excellent example of a Neo-Adamesque interior.

Architects for the Circle Theatre were Rubush and Hunter, one of the principal architectural firms of Indianapolis in the early 20th century.  From the founding of their partnership in 1904, buildings built and designed by Preston C. Rubush and Edgar O. Hunter include: the Masonic Temple (1906), Indianapolis City Hall (1910, now the State Museum), Murat Temple (1909), the Hume Mansur Building (1911), the Columbia Club (1925), the Indiana Theatre (1927), the Architects and Builders Building (1929), Circle Tower (1930), and the Coca Cola Bottling Company (1931).  Adept at almost any architectural style, Rubush and Hunter were early masters of the latest ranging from Neo-Classical to Art Deco.  Rubush and Hunter were among the Directors of the Circle Theatre Company.

The Grecian pastoral scene above the entry was "painted" using tinted cement by H.A. Wheeler.  Circle Theatre was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.

The Hilbert Circle Theatre was restored and renovated in 1982-84 and reopened as the home of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.

For information about performances or rental space, please contact the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.

 

Hilbert Circle Theatre