Lake Cinemas 8

588 W. Tuscawarus Avenue,
Barberton, OH 44203

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The Lake Theatre is located in downtown Barberton, Ohio and opened in 1938. It’s most unique feature was the huge well in the basement that pumped ice cold water through coils to help the Westinghouse air conditioning to cool the air in the summer. The water was then returned to the ground with another well drilled deep into the salt mines below the surface. The marquee’s neon is the State of Ohio’s colors, blue and gold.

Seating originally was about 900 seats. It closed in the 1980’s with many others, but the city purchased the property and leased it to a company in Cleveland who turned it into a multiplex by adding to the building. It’s main competition was the Park Theatre across the street who also ran second-run features. The Park is now a children’s theatre.

Contributed by Robert W. Inman

Recent comments (view all 2 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 22, 2009 at 5:53 am

The Lake must have been the as-yet-nameless theater listed as being under construction at Barberton in the October 9, 1937, issue of Boxoffice Magazine. Owners were named as F.N. Gaethke and Harold Makinson (though Boxoffice misspelled his name as Makeson. Many other issues give the spelling Makison.)

Makinson was Barberton’s theater magnate in those days. The June 3, 1939, issue of Boxoffice said that H. Makinson owned the Lake, Park, and Lyric Theatres in Barberton. In 1940 he bought the town’s other house, the Pastime Theatre. The May 25 issue of Boxoffice that year noted that Makinson then owned and operated all the theaters in Barberton.

The October 11, 1947, issue of Boxoffice lists four Barberton Theatres and two in Canton, all operated by Makinson and Gaethke, involved in a lawsuit filed by several major movie distributors. The Barberton theaters listed were the Park, Lake, Lyric, and Pastime. By that time, the Pastime had already been closed and converted to retail space, according to the January 25 issue of Boxoffice that year. I’ve been unable to discover if the Lyric was still in operation at that time, but Boxoffice contains no later mentions of it that I can find.

After 1947 I find no mentions of Makinson or Gaethke in Boxoffice, but quite a few of Vincent Lauter, operator of the West Theatre and the Magic City Drive-In (opened 1950) who apparently became Barberton’s new theater magnate.

Incidentally, the Lake Cinemas' web site says the house closed in 1980, not in the 1950s as the introductory information currently on this page states.

tradesman1400
tradesman1400 on September 12, 2011 at 3:23 pm

Nice place to see a flick.

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