The Indian Theater

Shawnee was home to many social, civic, and fraternal organizations that helped construct a large portion of the buildings still seen on West Main St today. These were the catalyst for downtown buildings all throughout the Little Cities of Black Diamonds microregion, many still stand today serving as a testament to those who built them. Today’s Tecumseh Theater wasn’t always known as such. As a result of the Great Fire of 1907 destroying the O’Bare Hotel, the current building was built by the Improved Order of Redmen, a fraternal organization in Shawnee, constructed Indian Theater (as it was then called) in 1907 and completed it in January of 1908. As a result, the organization’s membership swelled to 230 members. The IOOR had their organizational offices and grand ballroom on the third floor of Tecumseh Theater. However, the organization took on more than it could and the building was sold at a Sheriff’s auction in 1910. When built, the Indian Theater served as an early example of the I-Beam structure. Thus from an architectural standpoint, the building was ahead of its time, as it is a great example of the early American Skyscraper and was Perry County’s tallest building until the County Courthouse was built in New Lexington.

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