Liberty Theatre

132 W. Holly Street,
Bellingham, WA 98225

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The famous photo of children attending a November 1921 Charlie Chaplin look-alike contest (with, in the full size version of the picture, Chaplin himself seen in one of the upper floor windows) at a showing of Chaplin’s short “The Idle Class” was taken at this theatre.

According to a Bellingham Herald article about the photographer, the theatre was located at the current site of something they just call the Parkade, whatever that is. This was an average, modest theatre for its day, but still on the higher standards for theatres (and everything else) at the time, better than your average new theatre today.

Contributed by Dominic

Recent comments (view all 3 comments)

Kristy on October 31, 2010 at 10:12 pm

The PARKADE is a four-story concrete structure built specifically to provide downtown parking. There are various businesses located at street level, but it’s rather an ugly structure just the same. Unfortunately, the Parkade turned out to be something of a folly for the city, as it is not as well-used as some thought it would be, people preferring to park closer to the businesses they intend to patronize. I would expect the majority of current clients to be the employees of downtown businesses.

DavidZornig on April 18, 2014 at 1:40 pm

This website had 2 J.W. Sandison photos of the Liberty Theatre. The famous 1921 shot of the Chaplin contest mentioned in the Overview. Plus a second photo from 1921 with D.W. Griffith’s “Dream Street” appearing at the Liberty.

DavidZornig on April 18, 2014 at 1:50 pm

It should also be noted that on the description of the J.W. Sandison Chaplin contest photo in the link above, it was taken November 5, 1921 not 1919 as stated in the Overview. The film was released on September 25, 1921. There is no mention of Chaplin being in the window. Sandison’s own studio was next door to the Liberty at 126 -½ W. Holly. So he was often hired to take the theatre’s PR photos.

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