Liberty Theater

428 Franklin Street,
Michigan City, IN 46360

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Additional Info

Styles: Beaux-Arts, Streamline Moderne

Previous Names: Starland Theater, Lake Theater

Nearby Theaters

Postcard view, LIBERTY Theatre, Michigan City, Indiana.

Originally opened as a silent house the Starland Theater around 1918. The name was changed to the Lake Theater in the late-1930’s, at which point it received a gleaming new streamline Moderne tile facade.

With the onset of WWII, the name was changed again, to the Liberty Theater, and a marquee with neon torch was added. Sadly, the Liberty Theater was destroyed by an overnight fire on January 22, 1959.

Contributed by Dale Swanson

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

KimEM on January 18, 2003 at 3:17 am

My dad was projectionist at the Liberty at the time it burned (and given that there were only two other open theatres in Michigan City at the time, he abruptly wound up in a new line of work). There was a men’s clothing store in the building. The store caught fire one night (Dad always called it an “insurance fire”, though at this late date that’s impossible to establish) and burned the theatre down. The site became a parking lot and drive-thru for Citizens Bank (who, incidentally, managed to accidentally burn down the Tivoli).

kencmcintyre on August 22, 2006 at 7:14 pm

Here is a 1950 photo. The address is listed as 428 Franklin:

dlswansonjr on October 19, 2012 at 8:59 pm

BTW – to KimEM – Citizens Bank didn’t “accidentally burn down” the Tivoli Theater. The Tivoli was bought by Citizens Bank – whose dignified old bank building was immediately next door to the Tivoli Building, at 505 Franklin – to be torn down for a new bank building, which is exactly happened, in November 1971. The new Citizens Bank that replaced these structures was about as ugly a postmodern 1970s building as imaginable, which more than vaguely resembled the old styrofoam containers that McDonald’s used to package their burgers in…

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 18, 2016 at 6:33 am

The Starland Theatre at Michigan City was mentioned in the January 23, 1915, issue of Motography. This photo of Franklin Street, dated ca.1915, from the Michigan City Public Library’s Facebook page, shows the Starland on the right, but the caption gives the address as 428 Franklin. I’m sure it’s correct.

dlswansonjr’s previous comment says that the site of the Liberty became a parking lot for Citizens Bank (though he gives the bank’s address as 505 Franklin, while a history of the bank gives it as 502) which must be the parking lot that still exists on the northeast corner of Franklin and 5th.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 18, 2016 at 6:57 am

The Starland Theatre was listed in the 1913 Michigan City directory at 426 Franklin Street. It was one of six theaters in the city at that time.

DavidZornig on October 25, 2017 at 11:23 pm

1949 image added via Dave Lasayko.

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