Hoosier Theatre

1335 119th Street,
Whiting, IN 46394

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Hoosier Theatre, Whiting, IN

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Opened in 1924, the Hoosier Theatre shared a three-story building with the Illiana Hotel (now apartments)and storefronts. It could seat around 650 and originally featured both vaudeville and movies.

In 1963, the Wurlitzer organ from the massive Uptown Theatre in Chicago was moved into the Hoosier but it was never installed. It eventually was broken up for parts.

In 1987, the theater was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Today, recently refurbished, and still a single-screen movie house with a huge, two-story tall screen (one of the only classic movie theaters still in operation in all of Northwestern Indiana), the Hoosier now seats just over 600, and screens both second-run and classic films, as well as hosting the occasional concert or other live entertainment on its stage.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 3 comments)

BoxOffice70MM on October 11, 2005 at 2:59 am

I have a few exterior pics of this gem.

kencmcintyre on May 21, 2006 at 2:49 am

Here is a most illuminating link describing the long history of the Hoosier:

kencmcintyre on December 12, 2006 at 10:46 pm

The Hoosier closed in December 1959 for an unspecified period. An article in the Hammond Times, excerpted here, mentions three other Whiting theaters, the Star, Princess and Capitol.

Top Stars Showed Youthful Wares In Hoosier Theater

Oil City Once Had 4 Showhouses

Closing of Whiting’s Hoosier theater, the city’s only remaining theater and an entertainment center in the Oil City for the last 35 yearsâ€"because there just wasn’t enough revenueâ€"opens the door to a past, brilliant with its glitter of stars, both in the vaudeville and movie worlds.

Although of late movies played to more empty seats than filled ones at the Hoosier, former stage manager William Schulte recalls the days when people lined up outside waiting to get in to see such hits of the past as “Birth of a Nation”, “What Price Glory” and others.

When the Hoosier theater opened its doors in 1924 it was under the ownership of Jack and Margaret Bennett, who prior to construction of the Hoosier had operated the Princess theater near the new show place. In 1929 the Hoosier was taken over by Warner Brothers, with Mrs. Bennett and a new partner, Roy Green, Whiting attorney, as operators.

Passing of the Hoosier theater temporarily or permanently, brings to a close a Whiting theater era that had its start shortly after the coming of Standard Oil Co. refinery to the town in 1889. The Star theater on 119th Street near New York Avenue was recognized as the first “modern” movie house in Whiting, although there had been one earlier place that catered to the public in the early history of movies. Opening of the Princess theater, also on 119th street, near Sheridan Avenue, and west of the Star, gave the Oil City two theaters.

For a short time Whiting was a town with four theaters. The town enjoyed this distinction when the Capitol theater, on 119th Street near LaPorte Avenue, opened its doors, Hoosier came into existence about a year laterâ€"and the Star and Princess theaters were still operated by the owners of the new Capitol and Hoosier theatersâ€"A. J. Obresk and Margaret Bennett, respectively. Both Obresk and Mrs. Bennett are now dead.

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