Liberty Theatre in Northport opens on February 7, 1918.

  • By Eric L. Flom
  • Posted 11/30/2008
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 8814

On February 7, 1918, Melville L. Adams opens the Liberty Theatre in Northport, a small mining town located in Stevens County in northeastern Washington not far from the Canadian border. The initial feature is Polly of the Circus (Goldwyn, 1917) starring former D. W. Griffith actress Mae Marsh (1894-1968).

Although Northport was a small city, the Liberty was not its first moving picture theater;  at the time Wilbur H. Robinson also operated the Bijou. The Bijou was originally opened in November 1915 by B. W. Bickert and Minnie Liebrecht; Robinson appears to have been the second owner.

Wilbur Robinson may have had more to do with erecting the Liberty than Melville Adams. Reports from the spring of 1917 name Robinson as the man behind a proposed theater in Northport, to be of all-concrete construction and have a dance hall on the second floor.

The opening date for what would become the Liberty was originally scheduled for August 1917, but got pushed back for unexplained reasons -- financing or construction delays may have been the cause. At any rate, somewhere along the way Robinson appears to have sold his interest in the new theater to Adams, who had the honor of opening the Liberty to the public.


Sources: "New Theatres Hereabouts," Moving Picture World, November 6, 1915, p. 1179; "Washington," Motography, April 22, 1916, p. 957; "Washington," Motion Picture News, April 14, 1917, p. 2393; "Washington," Motion Picture News, April 21, 1917, p. 2544; "New Houses and Improvements," Moving Picture World, July 14, 1917, p. 273; "New Houses and Changes in Management," Moving Picture World, March 2, 1918, p. 1265; "Washington," Motography, March 16, 1918, p. 539.

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