448 W. 3rd Street,
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Previous Names: Family Theatre, Liberty Theater
According to the archives of the San Bernardino Sun from the Arda Haenszel California Room at the San Bernardino Public Library, the Isis Theater was in operation from 1914-1932. The Sanborn Insurance Maps of 1906 listed a bowling alley at the location, on the north side of the street. However, the Family Theater was opened on August 16, 1911. On February 2, 1912 it was renamed Liberty Theater. On August 6, 1915 it was renamed Isis Theater. The Film Daily Yearbook of 1927 listed the Isis Theater with 350 seats.
Chuck Palmer, writing in the San Bernardino Sun in 1984, noted that the five-cent Isis Theater was located in the shady part of the city. Bordellos were about a block away and its cliental consisted of men down on their luck or who needed a place to sleep off a hangover. It most famous connection to Western lore was Virgil Earp of the famous Earp brothers, who once used the upstairs as gambling den.
The Isis Theater was closed on December 2, 1929. It became a shoe repair shop, and probably many other concerns, and was demolished in the 1970’s. The 600 block of W. 3rd Street, where the Isis Theater was located, is no more and its approximate location today would be the City Hall building.
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With all due respect to the San Bernardino Public Library, the theater opened as the Family Theatre. The original Family Theatre had opened in 1899 elsewhere in downtown. But this venue’s theatrical history dates back to when the Family Theatre converted here launching August 16, 1911 with Luigi Romano Borgnetto in “The Fall of Troy” and supposedly the West Coast premiere of Mutt and Jeff in “Mutt and Jeff Break Into Society.” The theatre became the Liberty Theatre on February 2, 1912. On August 6, 1913, it relaunched as the Isis Theatre with “The Long Strike,” Baby Earle in “An Energetic Member,” and “The Fear.” Even though it was still listed in the 1932 directory, it appears that Mrs. E.H. Loring closed up after showings on December 2, 1929 as more modern showplaces were getting the audiences - if not superior sound reproduction and presentation.