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Liberty Theatre - 3/15 Wurlitzer, Style 260
Great Falls, Montana
305 Central Ave.
Organ installation timeframe: 1921 - 1944
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View from 1st Ave., looking South on 3rd St., c.1920s. On the left is an establishment called The Persia and down the street is the Liberty Theatre building.
The Liberty Theatre opened on August 23, 1921 and was designed by architects George Shanley and Henderson Ryan. The theatre is a combination of the Beaux Arts and Italianate styles. Rounded Italianate windows with terra cotta surrounds are complimented by terra cotta banding, egg-and-dart and leaf motifs, peace bundles, and torches. These fanciful Beaux Arts elements were commonly employed in the design of theatres nationwide during the 1920s.
The Liberty Theatre had a 3/15 Style 260 Wurlitzer (opus #404) shipped from the Wurlitzer factory on Nlorth Tonawanda, New York in March 1921.

News item in the Great Falls Daily Tribune August 12, 1920 announces construction plans for the new Liberty Theatre to be operated by C.S. Jensen and J. von Herberg of Seattle.

News item in the Great Falls Daily Tribune January 6, 1921 describes installation of steel girders and plans for organ loft.
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Looking North on 3rd St., c.1920s

News item in the The Great Falls Tribune April 19, 1921 describes the Wurlitzer's arrival in Great Falls. Note reference to "Julius Wurlitzer Co" which is erroneous. The correct company name is Rudolph Wurlitzer Co.

News item in the Great Falls Tribune July 10, 1921 describes the "Giant Wurlitzer Organ." Click for the full article.

Postcard view of the Liberty Theatre, c.1920s

News item in the Great Falls Tribune August 21, 1921 describing the upcoming opening of the "State's Most Beautiful Theater."

Opening ad in the Great Falls Tribune August 21, 1921. Click for a larger version of the text.

Postcard view of Central Avenue looking East. Liberty Theatre, on left c.1920s.

News item in the Great Falls Tribune August 23, 1921. "$47,000 WURLITZER ORGAN" and "Arnold D. Leverenz will be the organist."

Ad in the Great Falls Tribune November 11, 1921. "THE LIBERTY $50,000 MIGHTY-VOICED WURLITZER ORGAN which equals a 30-piece band, presided over by Arnold D. Leverenz and Roscoe Kernan."
Roscoe Kernan continued at the Liberty Theatre until the Fall of 1926 when he accepted a position as organist at Seattle's Liberty Theatre.

In 1944, the Liberty Theatre Wurlitzer was donated to the Montana State Hospital at Warm Springs near Anaconda. The instrument's move to Warm Springs is not listed in any of the pipe organ databases or opus lists.
- Great Falls Tribune May 27, 1944 - State Hospital Get Liberty Theatre Organ
- Montana Standard May 28, 1944 - Helena Residents Donate Fund
- Great Falls Tribune July 9, 1944 - State Hospital Will Dedicate Organ July 20
In 1972, the Wurlitzer was purchased by Cal Christensen and Mike Ohman of the Salt Lake City area. Current status is unknown.
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Central Avenue looking East, c.1962
The Libery Theatre building was later converted to office and retail space.

A 1920's Fox Liberty Theatre program printed by the Montana Printing Company. On the back of the program is an advertisement for a General Electric (GE) refrigerator.

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