Paramount, Wurlitzer in recovery limbo - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Paramount, Wurlitzer in recovery limbo

CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) - Five months after a record flood that destroyed the inside of the historic Paramount Theater in Cedar rapids, the theater still sits empty. Its antique pipe organ, a Wurlitzer, sits several blocks away in a storage space provided by the History Center.

Mike Wilson, a volunteer with the Rockwell-Collins Retiree Volunteers, is spearheading the effort to replenish the organ's life.

"A lot of these pieces will have to be replaced," Wilson said, as he pointed to different parts on the instrument.

The wood components and innards were mostly destroyed, but Wilson believes most of it can be replaced. The president of the Cedar Rapids Area Theater Organ Society is not so optimistic. He says it's possible the organ may be scrapped, and replaced by a replica. The estimated cost: $130,000 to $150,000.

"The Wurlitzer looks like a wreck," Wilson admits. "But in my mind, I don't see why it can't be rebuilt.

Wilson's plans for the Wurlitzer are clear, but how it and its former home will be covered by insurance and federal relief is still a question mark.

"This was insured with the Paramount insurance, so who knows how that'll come out," Wilson said. "We would assume it'll be a year before we hear anything about it."

As of right now, the future is still uncertain for the Paramount theater itself, but a spokesperson hopes to know in the next month what options they'll have for repairing or rebuilding it.

Online Reporter: Brady Smith


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