Tivoli Theatre (razed)


Street Address: 208 North Main Street

Year Built: 1925

City Ordinance:

National Registry #:

Built in downtown Mishawaka for the Mishawaka Theater Corporation, the theater was designed by Chicago architect Edward P. Rupert. The Tivoli opened in May 1925 and was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1998.

Reflecting the ornate Italian Renaissance/Neo Classical opera houses of the era, the Tivoli featured a red brick façade nearly 35 feet in width and decorated with cream colored terra cotta eagles, crests and garlands. It was highlighted by a large arch-shaped window with a stained glass insert. Two smaller windows flanked either side and five lanterns illuminated the roofline.

The interior was accessed through art glass doors. Elegant plaster moldings decorated the lobby entrance. There was a nursery where children could be dropped off during performances. Stairways to the 450 seat balcony were located on either side of the lobby. The main floor was divided by two aisles with three seating sections seating 950 patrons. A 35' by 28' stage was located over the music pit that was utilized during the era of silent films. The theatre also featured a Marr and Colton Golden Throated Concert Organ, and the walls were decorated in red velvet. Six dressing rooms for live performances were located around the stage area and venting located on two side walls allowed for heating and fresh air. At the center of the main floor ceiling hung a large decorative chandelier.

Earlier in 1924, then Mayor Duncan Campbell and other investors formed the Mishawaka Theater Corporation and sold $110,000 worth of stock. A Chicago architect E.P. Rupert was contracted to design the theatre and general contractor R. Levine and Company built the theater for a total cost of $275,000. Two houses on the site were demolished to provide space for the new construction. The Mishawaka Theater Corporation named the theater the "Tivoli" after an ancient Roman villa and in May, 1925, the Tivoli Theatre was opened to the public.

The Tivoli entertained the movie-going and live performance community for many years. It featured movies with the most popular cowboy of the 1920's Tom Mix and comedies with Charlie Chaplin. Live performances by vaudeville acts were presented on the large stage area. Movie Matinee shows were shown on weekends to the enjoyment of the children. By the 1960's though the viability of the grand movie houses was threatened by the popularity of television, and the Tivoli's function as a live performance and major movie house came to end. The building saw varied usage before being shuttered in 1991. After years of disuse the Tivoli was razed on February 2, 2005.
 

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