Emerson receives National Preservation Honor Award

Allison Teixeira

October 18, 2011

The National Trust for Historic Preservation has given a National Preservation Honor Award to Emerson College -- along with several other Boston organizations – in recognition of their contributions to the revitalization of Lower Washington Street in Boston, where the College built its multi-use Paramount Center complex.

Paramount Center exterior
Located at 555 and 559 Washington Street, Emerson's Paramount Center is an important piece of the revitalized Lower Washington Street area in Boston. Photo by Peter Vanderwarker

The award presentation is being made at the Trust’s annual conference in Buffalo, New York, on Thursday, October 20, and will be celebrated locally at a Boston Opera House reception on Monday, October 24.

“We are deeply honored that the National Trust for Historic Preservation has chosen to recognize Emerson,” said President Lee Pelton. “Sixteen years ago the Trust listed Boston’s historic theaters among America’s most endangered historic places, and now the area is revived and bustling with students and arts lovers alike. We are proud to have been a part of this renaissance.”

Former Emerson President Jacqueline Liebergott, who led the College during its move to Boston’s Theatre District, and Trustee Ted Cutler, who was instrumental in the restoration of the Paramount Center, will represent the College and receive the award at the National Preservation Conference. They will be joined by Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and representatives of the Boston Opera House, Suffolk University, the Boston Landmarks Commission, and the Boston Preservation Alliance.

Paramount Center interior
Emerson's Paramount Center includes a renovated art deco 590-seat main theater. Photo by Peter Vanderwarker

In 2007, Emerson began the extensive renovation of the Paramount Theatre, which was built in 1932 and had fallen into disrepair since closing its doors in 1976. Construction was completed in December 2009. Historic finishes were restored and many of the art deco architectural details from the original theater were preserved and incorporated into the new space.

The Paramount Center at Emerson College now houses a 590-seat live performance space, a student residence hall, the 150-seat Jackie Liebergott Black Box Theatre, the 170-seat Bright Family Screening Room, nine rehearsal studios, six practice rooms for individuals and small groups, a sound stage for film production classes, a scene shop, several classrooms, a restaurant, and more than a dozen offices for faculty and staff.