Liberty Theater

418 Pagosa Boulevard,
Pagosa Springs, CO 81157

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Mesa (Liberty)...Pagosa Springs Colorado

Opened as the Liberty Theater in 1921. It was renamed Mesa Theater in the 1950’s and retained this named into the 1970’s, when it reverted back to the Liberty Theater name. In July of 1988 the Liberty Theater was open and showing "Willow". It was housed in one end of a large white brick building and had a plain white marquee with no neon. The marquee sheltered an entrance and had "Liberty" spelled out on each side in block letters.

Contributed by Billy Smith / Don Lewis

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

Don Lewis
Don Lewis on May 26, 2008 at 5:19 pm

A 1988 view of the Liberty Theater in Pagosa Springs.

Roxane on August 16, 2009 at 3:45 am

This theater is still open and is showing “The Ugly Truth” and “G-Force” this weekend.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 4, 2009 at 7:33 am

I’ve found the Liberty mentioned in Boxoffice as early as the June 10, 1939, issue, when it was being operated by C.F. Runbaugh (some later issues of Boxoffice spell his name Rumbaugh.) The Liberty changed hands a couple of times in the later 1940s, and then July 17, 1948 issues says that it had been sold to Albert Petry (later issues of Boxoffice often spell his name Petri, and at least once it is Petrie.) The last time I find the Liberty mentioned is in 1950, though Mr. and Mrs. Albert Petri (or Petry) are named often after that year as operators of a theater at Pagosa Springs.

Then starting in 1960, the Petris are suddenly cited as the operators of a theater in Pagosa Springs called the Mesa. Then the Mesa is the only theater in Pagosa Springs mentioned, which happens frequently until 1972, (with a single exception in 1970 which names the Petrys as owners of the Pagosa Theatre in Pagosa Springs- probably an error) and after that Pagosa Springs drops from the pages of Boxoffice until 1993, when an unnamed 180-seat theater there is offered for sale in a classified ad. That’s the most recent mention of the town I can find.

Even though the theater’s official web site says that the Liberty has been operating under the same name since 1919, I’m wondering if the Mesa was an aka for the Liberty and the original name was later restored? Operators of small town theaters are often theater buffs who move there from other places and they sometimes get the history muddled. Pagosa Springs is, and has been, a very small and rather isolated town, and it seems unlikely that it would have supported two movie houses into the 1970s.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 15, 2010 at 2:13 am

The rewritten intro for this theater has the theater’s names out of order. The house opened as the Liberty (in 1919, according to the official web site,) was called the Mesa from sometime during the 1950s through at least the early 1970s, and the name Liberty was later restored.

This weblog post has a small photo of the theater from the late 1950s, and the name Mesa is on the marquee. The Boxoffice items I cited in my previous comment indicate that the theater was still called the Liberty at least as late as 1950. The last mention of the Mesa in Boxoffice was from 1972, but as no names are given for a theater in Pagosa Springs after that, I don’t know when the name Liberty was restored.

I don’t know why the theater’s official web site says that the house has been called the Liberty since opening in 1919, when that photo of the building with the name Mesa on the marquee exists.

The blogger who posted the photo uses the spelling Petry for the name of the operator during that period. Boxoffice used the spelling Petry a couple of times, but used Petri more frequently. I’m not sure whether Albert Petri or Albert Petry is correct.

Don Lewis
Don Lewis on January 24, 2011 at 7:20 pm

From 1961 a photo postcard view of the Liberty when it was still the Mesa Theater in Pagosa Springs.

DavidZornig on August 22, 2015 at 7:40 pm

Larger, crisper version of the 1961 photo added, courtesy of The Denver Eye Facebook page.

kpdennis on March 21, 2016 at 3:18 am

New pictures of the Liberty posted in the Photos section.

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