Lake Theater

4 N. 4th Street,
Clear Lake, IA 50428

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Lake Theater

The Lake Theater is a traditonal family owned and operated theater that never closed. It is still operated in the same way that theaters were run in the 1950’s. The buliding once housed an opera house, but a fire destroyed the interior. The building was turned into a movie theater at least 50 years ago and it remains the same today. The prices are very reasonable and the interior is very clean and comfortable.

Contributed by Ray Karcher

Recent comments (view all 9 comments)

kencmcintyre on March 27, 2010 at 12:27 pm

Here is a chilly photo of the Lake:

Trolleyguy on November 7, 2014 at 7:37 am

No website for this theater, but they do have a Facebook page.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 7, 2014 at 11:37 am

This web page has a few photos of the Opera House/Lake Theatre, with some reminiscences by local residents. The Opera House was built in 1890, and was a movie theater by the 1930s. It was listed as the 500-seat, second floor New Opera House in the 1897 Cahn guide, and as the Halvorson Opera House in the 1909-1910 guide.

A Clear Lake Chamber of Commerce page about the Lake Theatre says that the Opera House was damaged by a fire in the 1920s, and the building was reopened as the Lake Theatre in 1936. The house has been equipped for digital movies since 2012. A photo shows a very modern, curtain-wall, mostly stadium-seated auditorium, so I suspect that a rebuilding much more recent than 1936 has also taken place.

Clear Lake also once had a movie house called the Park Theatre, operating from at least 1930 into the 1950s, which we don’t have listed yet.

Lake Theatre
Lake Theatre on September 21, 2016 at 2:29 pm

We’re the new owners of the Lake Theatre (Purchased from the Sherman family in April 2016). We’d love to see more old photos, programs, etc. as we look for ways to enhance or restore the theatre!

Trolleyguy on September 21, 2016 at 3:20 pm

Congratulations and good luck. This little theatre is a great asset to the community. I would like to respectfully request that you also set up a theatre website for those of use who are not on Facebook.

Lake Theatre
Lake Theatre on December 29, 2016 at 7:15 am

You can check out our website at or for those that might misspell it.

Trolleyguy on December 29, 2016 at 7:53 am

Nice website. Thanks.

StanMalone on March 11, 2017 at 10:16 am

This is a link to an article about the career of Bob Endres, the long time head projectionist at Radio City Music Hall. It includes a picture of Bob in the booth of the Lake Theater taken when his family was vacationing in Clear Lake from their home in Chicago. It is a good article for anyone interested in the projection end of the theater business.

I have been to this theater while attending the Winter Dance Party on Buddy Holly weekend at the Surf Ballroom. 1999 I think. A nice looking small town theater so much more welcoming that the 24 screen megaplexes that I avoid in Atlanta. Very nice people too.

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