> > > >

1948-49 Theatre Catalog, 7th Edition, Page 18 (8)

1948-49 Theatre Catalog, 7th Edition
1948-49 Theatre Catalog
1948-49 Theatre Catalog, 7th Edition, Page 18
Page 18

1948-49 Theatre Catalog, 7th Edition, Page 18

An American Cavalcade of Theatre Arehiteeture 4

From Mrs. Sheehanis New Front Porch Through A World-Wide Career in Theatre and Institution Design

Those who have seen the beginning of an era, and have helped that era through its stages of birth, infancy, puberty, adolescence, and maturity, may be considered the sponsors or godfathers of that particular itchildii

Such a godfather is John Eberson, theatre building specialist, who was both pall-bearer and attendant at the death of vaudeville and the birth of the motion picture industry.

The architectural saga of John Eberson was already well established when the motion picture industry was slowly rising from the squalling infant of yesteryear to its present position as a giant among American industries. Eberson has seen the position of the motion picture exhibitor rise in pace with this giant and with public demand for bigger and better pictures. He bemoaned the death of vaudeville but cheered the inauguration of the moving picture and its successor, sound movies.

One of the foremost theatre architects in America, as he is known to movie men and fellow architects alike, John Eberson has, and will continue to use, his knowledge of exhibition and architectural creation to produce edifices


which may be included among building masterworks.

From the tipeach-box" and nickelodeon days through the era of the ttAtmospheric Theatre", which was an original design of John Ebersonis, to monumental bank structures, huge shopping centers, and the most modern of theatres incorporating the finest in art, decoration, engineering and functional plan, John Eberson finds himself in a unique position as a building specialist.

His abilities have been called upon by the King of Siam; the late Italian Dictator, Benito Mussolini; Joseph Stalin; and other internationally famous personages, and he was commissioned, in several instances, to design and construct buildings which met with the wholehearted approval of the dignitaries.

The United States Government, most impressive organization in the world, has commissioned the firm of John Eberson, now John and Drew Eberson, to design and construct many military and naval projects which include supply ports, quartermaster depots, airfields,

MRS. SHEEHAN OF HAMILTON, OHIO, poses proudly on her new balustrade porch, built in 1908. This was the first complete architectural job that was done by Iohn Eberson irom his newly opened architectural offices in St. Louis. The complete cost of the job was $200. The architects tee, during that year, was 10%; and young Eberson pocketed a mere $20. From this time on, the organization expanded.

and separation centers. The architectural innuence of this concern, throughout the many building trades, has been felt in even the most remote corners of the globe.

To date, the Eberson organization has nearly 400 large building projects to its credit and innumerable smaller jobs. The value of these structures, when compiled, totals more than $200,000,000, a. htting testament to the ingenuity and creative ability of this unusual father and son combination.

The forty-five-year architectural history of John Eberson, although unheralded at its genesis, had its true beginning in 1908 when John, with his first established architectural firm in St. Louis constructed a balustrade porch for an elderly woman who is remembered only as Mrs. Sheehan of Hamilton, Ohio. The cost of this construction project was $200 and Ebersonis fee, at 10%, was a mere $20. From this inauspicious start, the Eberson organization gathered momentum and prestige throughout the theatre architectural world.

With the arrival of motion pictures came foresighted men who are now called the pioneers of the motion picture industry. These men, recognizing the hare for design and the construction methods of John Eberson, as well as his theatrical background, turned to him for the erection of some of the first real theatres which evolved from the now famous ttpeach-box" shanties and nickelodeon theatres which presented 10 minute shows 50 times a day. In View of Ebersonis reputation as a builder of practical and economical, yet artistic, theatres, it was only natural that many of these men turned to him for the erection of playhouses to accommodate the great, overiiowing crowds during the combination Vaudeville and itmovieli era. His structures during that period were for such famous showmen as Chamberlain and Kindt, Judge Foley, and George Seip, and gained the nickname of tiOpera House Johnd for the young architect.

As vaudeville continued as the top feature in the entertainment world, more. enterprising showmen expanded for the future. Eberson continued to work closely with these men and added to his list of achievements the Crown Theatre in Chicagofor Bob Rickson; vaudeville theatres in Little Rock, Arkansas, for Ed Korruthers; and the Majestic Theatres in Birmingham, Alabama, and Savannah, Georgia, for Kari Hoblitzelle. among many others.

The fine original designs that were utilized by the Eberson organization did much to convince showmen everywhere that John Eberson was surrounded with ample and efficient talent to fill their needs.

1948-49 Theatre Catalog, 7th Edition, Page 18