Liberty Theatre

324 N. 5th Street,
Coalinga, CA 93210

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Liberty Theatre

The Los Angeles Times on March 12, 1910 reported that two unnamed theaters were to be built in Coalinga. According to a mention in the Bakersfield Californian, one of them, the Liberty Theatre, was in operation by January 1, 1911. The other theater was the California Theatre, which later became the State Theatre.

By 1923 the Sanborn Insurance Maps labeled the Liberty Theatre as not in operation. It did, however make an appearance in the Film Daily Yearbook of 1927 with 400 seats and by 1940 it was listed just plainly as a Hall. There was also a Liberty Airdome Theatre in Coalinga on the corner of the same block at 5th Street and Cedar Street.

Contributed by Ron Pierce

Recent comments (view all 3 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 31, 2013 at 12:32 pm

The October 17, 1936, issue of Motion Picture Herald said that the Liberty Theatre in Coalinga was being remodeled and would be reopened under the management of J. H. Partridge.

The June 8, 1935, issue of the same publication had named Partridge and George C. Moore as partners in Coalinga who planned to operate the new theater being built at Avenal. They must have been the operators of the State Theatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 31, 2013 at 1:25 pm

The Liberty Theatre is listed in the 1913-1914 Cahn guide as a ground floor house with 651 seats. The stage was only 25 from footlights to back wall, and 48 feet between side walls, and a proscenium 14x28 feet, which seems more suited to vaudeville than to traveling stage shows.

Nevertheless, an article called “Coalinga, a Workingman’s Paradise” in the June, 1912, issue of Western Engineering describes a single theater at Coalinga, though it doesn’t give the name:

“For amusements, the town has a theatre which is on the Cort theatre circuit of San Francisco. Such performances as ‘Polly of the Circus,’ ‘The Squaw Man,’ and ‘The Chocolate Soldier’ appear once or twice a week, while moving pictures and vaudeville run every night.”
The 1913 Cahn guide did say that John Cort was the New York representative of the Liberty Theatre. But prior to the opening of the Liberty, the 1909-1910 Cahn guide listed the Opera House in Coalinga, with 1,200 seats and a stage “ample for any productions,” but no other details. Perhaps the author of the article had been in Coalinga before the Liberty opened, and it was the Opera House he described.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 31, 2013 at 1:41 pm

Well, it wasn’t the Opera House that was described in the article. It burned in a general conflagration that wiped out much of downtown Coalinga in July, 1910, so the article must have been describing the Liberty.

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