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Theatre Architects

Theatre Architects


Here you can find out about the architect firms and individual architects associated with the theatres featured on this website.


To view all architect firms and individual architects featured on this website click here.


John Eberson John Eberson

Born: 1875 (Chernivtsi, Ukraine)

Died: 1954 (Stamford, Connecticut)

John Eberson was born in January 1875 to Austro-Hungarian parents in Chernivtsi, in what is modern-day Western Ukraine. He schooled in Dresden in Germany and then studied electrical engineering at the University of Vienna.

Having spent 25 years in various parts of Europe, Eberson immigrated to the United States in 1901 and settled in St Louis where he apprenticed with Johnson Realty and Construction Company, a theatre architecture and construction company headed by theatrical designer and builder George Johnson. 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.

Eberson married Beatrice (Beatty) Lamb – an interior decorator – in Muscatine, Iowa, in February 1903.

In 1908 Eberson began his own practice in Hamilton, Ohio, where he received a number of commissions including the Jewel Theatre in Hamilton, Ohio.

In 1910 Eberson, by then with children, moved to Chicago. From there he increased his theatrical commissions including several for the Interstate Amusement Company run by Karl Hoblitzelle.

Eberson borrowed from his time spent in various European cities to inform his “continental” theatre designs which were not only popular, but found to be agreeable for staging both live vaudeville acts and screening silent movies with live accompaniment. A good extant example is the Paramount Theatre in Austin, Texas, which first opened in 1915 as the Austin Majestic Theatre.

In later years Eberson became synonymous with the atmospheric theatre style, with many crediting the popularity of the style throughout the 1920s to his elaborate designs. Eberson declared the Majestic Theatre in Houston, Texas (completed in 1923) as his first atmospheric theatre, however we can see in his works between the Austin Majestic (now Paramount) and the Houston Majestic that Eberson was experimenting with designs which ultimately led to the atmospheric theatre concept.

In 1926, at the opening of the Tampa Theatre in Florida, Eberson stated “My idea for the atmospheric theater was born in Florida. I saw the value of putting nature to work and so have borrowed the color and design that are found in the flowers and the trees. The inhabitants of Spain and southern Italy live under the sun and enjoy the happiness nature affords them. So I decided their architecture probably would provide the firm foundation for a theater.”

Eberson also devised a business model which saw his own studio, staffed with dedicated master plasterers, create statuary, moldings, and architectural components which he would then re-use across multiple theatres, rearranging the separate elements into different settings, thereby reducing the cost of building a theatre simply through the economics of reuse.

The model also meant that Eberson could control the quality of product from start to finish by using his own master plasterers. Construction on-site was simplified and therefore costs reduced because ready-made statues and architectural elements arrived in crated packages and just needed assembled on-site by Eberson’s traveling construction team, and then painted.

Eberson moved to New York in 1926. In 1929 his Chicago office was closed and all work was consolidated in the New York office. Around this time Eberson’s son Drew was formally brought into the business as a partner.

Eberson’s last atmospheric was arguably his best: the Majestic Theatre in San Antonio, Texas, designed for Karl Hoblitzelle’s Interstate Amusement Company and completed with a penthouse apartment on the top of the building designed specifically for Mr Hoblitzelle.

In March 1954 Eberson died after a long illness at the age of 79 in Stamford, Connecticut, and was buried at Ferncliff Cemetery and Mausoleum in Hartsdale, New York.

Theatres on this website in which this architect was involved:



















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