Lerner Theatre

410 South Main Street,
Elkhart, IN 46516

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Showing 1 - 25 of 27 comments

sam siklas
sam siklas on June 9, 2013 at 11:10 am

A lot of the voicing for the Kimball organ was done by Clark Wilson, house organist at the Ohio Theater in Columbus.He is an excellent musician, and last March he played this instrument, accompanying a silent movie presentation. He preceded that with a series of numbers on the organ to show off it’s capabilities. I hope he returns to play it again!

organut on August 26, 2012 at 10:02 am

The installation of the kimball theater organ started this week! It is up and running, but needs final finishing which could take an additional 4 weeks. I’ve been watching for this since the 90’s and now here it is, finally!!!!

sam siklas
sam siklas on December 16, 2011 at 7:40 pm

As mentioned on this site’s listing for the South Bend (Ind.) Granada theater, the architect for both theaters was K.M. Vitzhum, who also designed several buildings in Chicago, including a bank, and another building 24 stories tall.

Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin on September 12, 2011 at 10:00 am

Bryan, one correction to your excellent description at the top of this page: the 4 tall center columns and the frieze are Ionic, rather than Doric. The pilasters to each side are Renaissance Doric inspired. Not that this makes one whit of difference. Does this make me the architectural equivalent of one of the “grammer police?”

Broan on August 6, 2011 at 2:39 pm

Here is a nice early view

Tinseltoes on July 17, 2011 at 7:51 am

Activating Sam’s link: lernertheater

sam siklas
sam siklas on July 17, 2011 at 2:17 am

The Lerner Theater had it’s grand re-opening in June. It’s expanded facility includes a new ball room, and larger lobby. It has had a complete restoration, and everything I have seen online and in local media shows a job nicely done. As far as I am aware, the only thing missing is the Lerner’s Kimball theater organ, which was sent for rebuilding, and was not expected to be ready for the main re-opening. I hope to post here when that happy event happens. It will make the Lerner one of a lucky group of theaters to have their original organ playing in it’s original setting. Makes you think of the glory days of the N.Y. Roxy, which had not one, but 3 Kimballs! The Lerner Theater website is : lernertheater.org. C-y'all l8r! ==Sam==

CSWalczak on July 20, 2010 at 9:29 pm

This article about the ongoing restoration work and the official website both indicate that this theater is again being referred to as the Lerner Theater: View link

nkb on June 9, 2009 at 10:01 am

trying to contact ms. kathy burns as john joseph burns is my great-grandfather on my father’s side – is this “aunt kathryn” or a different kathy I am unaware of – I’m just starting my research on J J Burns – I would greatly appreciate any info you could provide me –

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on October 19, 2007 at 7:40 am

Here is another recent photo of the Elco Theater.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on July 7, 2007 at 10:50 am

This is a recent photo of the Elco Theater.

kburns2 on May 21, 2007 at 6:04 pm

I think strongly that there is only one firm and that the name is Karl Martin Vitzthum. I have letterhead with his signature dated May 16,1927. K M Vitzthum & Co. Inc., K M Vitzthum Architect. At that time their office address was 307 N Michigan, Chicago, IL.(aka the Bell Building, built by them in 1923 for Herbert E Bell) In the upper left corner: K M Vitzthum, President and John Joseph Burns, Vice-Pres & Treasurer. They were partners from about 1923 to 1956 when J J Burns died.
I also have a copy of the 1918 WWI draft registration in Chicago of Karl Martin Vitzthum with his signature again
It is unfortunate that somewhere along the line, the name was misspelled and has been repeated. I have seen it misspelled in a number of articles and will try to contact them all.
Aside from skyscrapers, they built banks, churches (see St Peter’s in downtown Chicago), theaters, court houses, jails, and commercial buildings. Also before becoming partners, they both worked for 15 to 20 odd years for Eames and Young of St Louis.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on May 20, 2007 at 10:55 am

The question that we have been trying to answer is, who was the architect of this theater. Was it K.V. Vitchum or was it K.M. Vitzthum? A number of websites have information on both of these names but most give the architects name for this theater as K.V. Vitchum. Do you know if your grandfather’s partner Karl Vitzthum designed this theater?

kburns2 on May 20, 2007 at 10:02 am

I believe that you have misspelled the architects name for the Lerner Theatre in Elkart, In. You have the name as Vitchum, K. V and it should be VITZTHUM. My grandfather was John J Burns, who later was a partner to Karl Vitzthum in Chicago. I have lately been doing research of my own about my grandfather and I have been researching his partner at the same time, since he was more well known. J J Burns was a silent partner for years, when he died in 1956, Vitzthum continued with another partner named Kill.
Probably the best know building by Vitzthum and Burns is 1 North LaSalle, which also has landmark status. It was built in Chicago, in 1930. They also built the county courthouse in Sheboygan, WI .which is on the National Register.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on May 1, 2007 at 7:51 am

Here is one more source naming K.V. Vitchum as architect of the Lerner Theater. I found the following about Vitzthum & Burns, Although Vitzthum & Burns are not a well known name in Chicago architecture, they did design several important skyscrapers during the 1920s and 1930s. Typical of many of the buildings of this era, the Old Republic Building (Bell Building) is clad in terra cotta with classical ornamentation.

I don’t rule out anything. If Vitzthum & Burns did design the Lerner Theater, I can’t find another source to corroborate the information given in the link posted by Ken MC.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on May 1, 2007 at 4:43 am

Well, the National Register has the name as Vitchum,K. V. and this link claims that the Lerner Theater was designed for vaudeville by K.V. Vitchum, a Chicago architect. Scroll down on that link to page 9 for the Elco Theater.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on May 1, 2007 at 12:27 am

Lost Memory; You are correct. K.V. Vitchum was an architect based in Chicago.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on April 30, 2007 at 4:12 pm

Shouldn’t the spelling of the architects name be K. V. Vitchum?

kencmcintyre on March 24, 2007 at 6:17 pm

Here is an interesting site concerning the Elco:

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on January 15, 2007 at 4:57 pm

Here is a vintage photo of the Warner Theater.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on December 31, 2006 at 9:15 am

Added to the National Register of Historical Places in 1980

Lerner Theatre (added 1980 – Building – #80000036)
Also known as Elco Theatre
410 S. Main St., Elkhart
Historic Significance: Architecture/Engineering, Event
Architect, builder, or engineer: Vitchum,K. V., Lerner,Harry E.
Architectural Style: Beaux Arts
Area of Significance: Performing Arts, Entertainment/Recreation, Architecture
Period of Significance: 1900-1924
Owner: Private
Historic Function: Recreation And Culture
Historic Sub-function: Theater
Current Function: Recreation And Culture
Current Sub-function: Theater

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on November 2, 2005 at 8:15 am

A Kimball organ Size 2/8 was installed in the Lerner (Elco) Theater in 1924.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on September 17, 2005 at 1:41 pm

A photo of the Elco Theater can be seen here.