67 S. Market Street,
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Some have said the Liberty was San Jose’s first purpose-built major movie theater, others maintain it was the earlier Theatre DeLuxe, built about two years before the Liberty. (I am of the opinion that the Liberty should get the honor, since although both theaters had stages as well as screens, the Liberty was lower, longer, and narrower—less suited for stage fare.)
The Liberty opened in 1914. For a time in the mid 20th Century, it was the National, a foreign film venue, later it showed Spanish language films under the name Mexico, operated by local exhibitor Jose Borges.
Prior to the theater’s Fall 1982 demolition, the "Mexico" name plate was removed from a 1940s vertical sign on the facade, revealing the name "Liberty" one last time. Also during demolition, a sturdy wooden organ console lift platform was discovered, buried in the covered-over orchestra pit.
Although the original proscenium and organ grilles had long ago been removed to accomodate a wide screen, the auditorium ceiling of ornamental pressed tin survived until the end, with much of it and surrounding cornices and coves being salvaged and reused in Teske’s Germania Restaurant on North First St., where they can be seen today. Much of the brick shell of the theatre was recycled for ornamental brickwork in various area houses.
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