Cinema Art

208-210 North Main Street,
Mishawaka, IN 46554

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The Tivoli Theatre was opened on May 21, 1925 by the Mishawaka Theater Corporation, as the city’s premier entertainment venue of its day for both vaudeville acts and silent films.

Designed by Chicago architect Edward P. Rupert in an Italian Renaissance/Neo-Classical blend, it could originally seat 1,400.

Its facade, made of red brick decorated with ornate cream-colored terra cotta, was highlighted by a large arch-shaped window with two smaller windows on either side.

Besides the theater, the Tivoli Building held several stores and apartments upstairs.

In 1929, the theater was wired for sound, and from then on, it featured movies only.

It remained Mishawaka’s largest and most popular movie house for nearly three more decades, until closing in 1958.

The Tivoli Theatre reopened in the late-1960’s as an adult theater called the Cinema Art and remained so until closing in 1991.

It was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1998 and its exterior retained most of its original decorative elements.

Sadly, after a valiant struggle since the early-1990s to save the Tivoli Theatre by several groups, the theatre was razed in February 2005, to clear the site for future redevelopment.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 41 comments)

Patsy
Patsy on November 7, 2005 at 9:29 am

That signature window, alone, had to have been worth more than a few pennies on the open antique market!

Kylbr
Kylbr on November 12, 2005 at 8:59 am

I read some posts wanting to see interior photos of the Tivoli. I have the next best thing. If you go to www.washingtoncentral.org and click on “theater brochure” you can see old interior shots of the Washington Theater in Quincy, IL which was a near twin to the Tivoli. I had peeked through the windows of the Tivoli before it was razed. The lobby of the Washington looked quite similar, though it was a one-story vs. the Tivoli’s soaring two-story lobby. And judging from a photo of the Tivoli’s auditorium, I think the Washington’s was quite similar as well.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on February 9, 2006 at 6:56 pm

Here is a link from the city of Mishawaka:
www.mishawakacity.com/histivoli.asp

Patsy
Patsy on March 17, 2006 at 7:03 am

Lost Memory: Thanks for the Tivoli photo that really shows off the top facade that was simply beautiful though the doors and surrounding area were not kept the same….sure would love to see a photo of what that area looked like before the bad changes were made. It would be interesting to see what type of original doors were part of the original theatre facade. There are many theatres that have appeared on CT in various stages and I had great interest in this one being saved, but unfortunately it was not.

Patsy
Patsy on March 17, 2006 at 7:06 am

While viewing the March 16 photo I clicked on ‘copy’ and pasted it into an email window then enlarged it to see the facade tile work and to my amazement it ‘was’ very ornate. The folks of Mishawaka should be ashamed of themselves for letting this architect be lost, forever in their Indiana town!

Patsy
Patsy on March 17, 2006 at 7:07 am

And what is there now?

abbyworld
abbyworld on November 5, 2006 at 7:30 pm

I was in Mishawaka today, and it appears that they’re building a condo complex or apartment building of some sort.

Patsy
Patsy on November 6, 2006 at 7:26 am

abby: Thanks for this update since my post of last March.

kevyzim
kevyzim on July 11, 2012 at 10:39 am

I grew up watching sci-fi/horror movies (especially Roger Corman’s Poe series) at the Tivoli with my Dad on Sunday afternoons. Most times it was a double feature! My favorite memory is of convincing my Dad to take me to see 3 Poe movies (Pit and the Pendulum, Tales of Terror and Premature Burial, as I recall). My Dad would fall asleep in the cool air-conditioning, so he didn’t mind! I made it through the first 2 but when the opening scene of Premature Burial started with the gravedigger whistling, I had to wake him up and tell him I wanted to go home!

Since I was born in 1957, and these movies were made in 1961-62 (and probably didn’t get to the Tivoli until I was at least 7 or 8) I know for sure that the theater did not close in 1958, but continued showing family movies until the mid-60’s at least.

Matthew Prigge
Matthew Prigge on November 9, 2012 at 1:54 pm

If anyone has any stories about going to/ working at this threatre in its adult days, I would love to hear them. I am chronicling the histories of adult theatres in the US. Please contact me at Thanks!

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