Mishawaka’s Tivoli Succumbs to Wrecking Ball
MISHAWAKA, IN — The Tivoli Theatre, Mishawaka’s 1925 movie palace, gave one last show February 2nd to a crowd of about 75, who watched the decrepit theater withstand several blows by a wrecking ball before it finally gave in and crumbled in a cloud of dust.
According to the South Bend Tribune, for one of the bystanders, Jeremy Unruh, whose theater company might have been one of those to have used a restored Tivoli, seeing the wrecker’s ball slam through the arched window framed by terra-cotta on the brick facade gave him mixed emotions. “I’m sad to see it torn down, but at this point, it’s like seeing a dying animal being put out of its misery.”
Mishawaka mayor Jeff Rea announced the Tivoli’s demolition in last year’s State of the City address. The theater had been in decline since the 60s, when, as the Cinema Art, it began showing adult movies until it was shuttered in 1991.
Attempts to save the historic theater since that time proved unsuccessful, mainly due to lack of funds. In the end, the city acquired the property, though even then, the drive to save the Tivoli continued. Within a couple months, the theater site should be totally cleared for future redevelopment.
Another bystander to the theater’s destruction, Bob Martin, hopes that even though the Tivoli is now history, “We still hope to find a home for the arts in Mishawaka, whether that’s here where the Tivoli was, or somewhere else. We won’t stop trying”.
“Bill of South Bend” wrote in to Cinema Treasures as well:
“The Tivoli theatre of Mishawaka, Indiana was demolished yesterday to the amusement of city officials who refused to save it. Both WNDU television and WSBT television covered the demolition with one of the stations even featuring live helicopter footage of the destruction. Their plans for the site…green space (i.e. a weedy, litter strewn field) or alas, the quintessential parking lot. Wow, I can now park somewhere & visit a city that has been mostly demolished. Actually, I hope to never set foot in that miserable city again. Have a wonderful day, folks.”