Cinema Art

208-210 N. Main Street,
Mishawaka, IN 46554

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DavidZornig on September 10, 2018 at 5:42 pm

3 images added courtesy of Peg Strantz.

Matthew Prigge
Matthew Prigge on November 9, 2012 at 11:54 am

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!

kevyzim on July 11, 2012 at 8:39 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.

Patsy on November 6, 2006 at 5:26 am

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

abbyworld on November 5, 2006 at 5:30 pm

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

Patsy on March 17, 2006 at 5:07 am

And what is there now?

Patsy on March 17, 2006 at 5:06 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 on March 17, 2006 at 5:03 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.

kencmcintyre on February 9, 2006 at 4:56 pm

Here is a link from the city of Mishawaka:

Kylbr on November 12, 2005 at 6:59 am

I read some posts wanting to see interior photos of the Tivoli. I have the next best thing. If you go to 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.

Patsy on November 7, 2005 at 7:29 am

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

Patsy on November 7, 2005 at 7:28 am

Diana L: Thanks for the update on the Tivoli Theatre. I do recall emailing someone in the town about some of the theatre’s artifacts. I sure hope the signature window was saved and is in storage somewhere though because of its size I don’t know where its location is now. Someone in that community who is a CT member should look into this. I would like to think that the signature walls were salvaged and saved. I watched and read about this theatre’s demise last winter and felt truly terrible about what this community allowed to happen. It’s one thing to bring down a theatre, but to not save some of its important and historical artifacts is even a worse crime! Doesn’t the community of Mishawaka have a museum or library that could have stored these theatre items?

tabbycat1264 on November 6, 2005 at 9:27 pm

Several years ago, I was lucky enough to help out with one of the preservation groups for this theatre. Even then, the seats were long gone, as was the marquee and original entry doors. Despite those losses, there was still much of interest inside the theatre. The lobby had its original tiled floor, as well as lots of decoratve plaster work.

In the theatre itself, much of the plaster had fallen from the walls and ceilings, but I spent several hours scraping black paint from intricate plaster around a doorway. To the side of the stage were three dressing rooms, stacked on top of each other like little apartments. The walls of these were covered in pencil grafitti; names, dates, signatures, and poetry were scribbled on the walls by visiting actors and actresses. Some of these dated back to the late 20s.

Undeneath the stage were several rooms, one of which had been used for coal storage. The original coal furnace was still there as well. Passages under the theatre floor led to the lobby and underneath the storefronts.

Upstairs was the balcony (which was structurally damaged), a control room, and some offices.

To me, the greatest tragedy of this theatre was that none of its finer details were salvaged (at least not that I know of). The glass window was beautiful, as were the lobby tiles and terra cotta and plaster ornamentation. The “signature walls” could have made excellent museum artifacts. So much more could have been done to preserve this theatre’s memory, if not its physical structure.

Patsy on October 12, 2005 at 5:34 pm

lostmemory: Thanks for the recent photo. As I look at it I think the best part of the Tivoli was the signature curved window as the marquee and front doors were rather plain and nondescript! If you can provide any interior photos, please post!

Patsy on February 12, 2005 at 7:27 pm

Would love to see some interior photos as I found only one on a news site.

Patsy on February 12, 2005 at 7:27 pm

Did the Tivoli still have seats when it was demolished?

Patsy on February 10, 2005 at 8:12 pm

After reading most of the previous Tivoli posts and what was attempted by local residents ie. Susan Baxter and others to save this theatre I have come to the conclusion that, for me, this story of demolition/death to a theatre has been the hardest to accept and to understand yet I will continue to enjoy this cinema site for what it offers to its members. One only has to look at the smiling face and sad face that is a theatrical symbol to know that when exploring these theatre pages one puts on a smiling face and a sad face!

Patsy on February 10, 2005 at 8:05 pm

Below is my personal letter to Susan Baxter, MSCT (Mishawaka Coalition to Save the Tivoli) as I wanted her to know how I felt about the Tivoli becoming only a memory now.

I hardly know where to begin other than to first send you via this email my sincere condolences in the loss of the Tivoli in Mishawaka Indiana. My husband and I visited your town several years ago on our way to Chicago to pick up a vintage 1941 Chris Craft boat so we have an appreciation for old things such as furniture, boats and cinemas. I guess what bothers me the most is that the curve front signature window was not saved and also read on my cinema treasures site that there was a signature wall that was signed by many troupes/actors and actresses that ever performed on its stage which was not saved either! I hope I’m wrong, but have a feeling I am not. This window and that wall should have been saved and somehow incorporated into the new river development or whatever is going to be built on that downtown site.

I only became a member of CT this past November so was not aware of your May ‘04 post telling the members about the Tivoli and its possible fate. I guess it comes down to money issues and not owning the building that doomed the Tivoli which is such a sad commentary, but unfortunately true.

I hope to hear from you in regards to ‘your’ Tivoli and some personal thoughts. Again, my sincere regrets and sympathies go out to you and anyone involved in trying to save the Tivoli. God Bless.

Patsy on February 10, 2005 at 7:47 pm

I think I found my answer to how a building that is on the National Registry of Historic Places can be torn down. Thanks Jim Rankin though it saddens me, greatly! As they say….“There otta be a law.” :–(

Patsy on February 10, 2005 at 7:41 pm

Susan: Since I’ve only been a member of CT since late November I was not aware of your May ‘04 post concerning the effort to save the Tivoli. I will be sending you an email (at the address you have provided) in the coming days which will include my thoughts and my sincere sympathies.

Patsy on February 10, 2005 at 7:38 pm

“When they torn down our Capitol Theatre, they saved a bunch of the architecture to put on display. It would’ve been nice if that grand window could have been saved.” and “Mishawaka politicians voted to destroy this theater this past Monday 10/25/04. This theater will die shortly.” I thought these 2 quotes were worth repeating as they show that perhaps that window should have been saved and the mentality of Mishawaka politicians on October 25, 2004! So very very sad and the folks of Mishawaka who felt this theatre was beyond hope and use should hang their heads in shame! Yet I have read other posts on this popular page and realize that much effort was done to try and save this theatre back in ‘04.

Patsy on February 10, 2005 at 7:30 pm

And thank goodness we have a photo of this theatre as it is gone forever now. Sad to see a photo though of boarded up windows. :–(

Patsy on February 10, 2005 at 7:29 pm

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

Can anyone answer a question for me? How can a building that has been named to the National Register of Historic Places be torn down? I know this has happened in other cities and find it very disturbing.

Patsy on February 4, 2005 at 7:32 am

“Sadly, after a valiant struggle since the early 90s to save the Tivoli by several groups, the theater was razed in February 2005, to clear the site for future redevelopment.” Such a sad statement!

Patsy on February 4, 2005 at 7:30 am

Bryan: Not the cinema news that I wanted to read first thing this a.m.! I recall being in the City of Mishawawka, Indiana several summers ago while visiting Notre Dame and other local sights and since I wasn’t ‘into old theatres’ then I completely missed seeing this theatre that is only a memory now! :–((