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Liberty Theatre - 2/8 Wurlitzer
Lewiston, Idaho
611 Main St.
Organ installation timeframe: 1927 - 1934
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Main Street, downtown Lewiston, c.1940s
The Liberty Theatre was built by Issac Binnard and opened in 1921. A 2/8 Wurlitzer (opus #569) was installed in December 1927. This instrument was previously installed in the Whiteside Theatre Corvallis, Oregon in 1922. After a fire at the Whiteside in 1927, the instrument was removed and refurbished for installation at the Liberty.
The Liberty installation is not listed in the Judd Walton Wurlitzer opus list, most likely because it was not an original installation and the move from Corvallis may have been performed by a local Northwest organ firm such as Balcom & Vaughan. Interestingly the move to Lewiston is included in David Junchen's The Wurlitzer Pipe Organ, an Illustrated History on page 634. Author Dave Junchen and later, Editor Jeff Weiler collected many updates to the Walton opus list for inclusion in the Wurlitzer book.
According to the Judd Walton Wurlitzer opus list, in 1934 the instrument was moved to Portland's Apostolic Faith Mission and then later to Franklin Butte's residences in Oregon and Alaska with a stop in a Juneau church along the way!
Pipe organ installation records for Lewiston are ambiguous. The Judd Walton Wurlitzer opus lists have a 2/5 Style 170 Wurlitzer (opus 387) shipping to to "A.H. Hilton" in Lewiston in January 1921. Hilton was associated with the owner of the Liberty, Issac Binnard, and it is curious that the Liberty would not have had an organ at the time of opening in 1921. Therefore it is possible that Wurlitzer opus 387 was installed at the Liberty in 1921 at the time of opening. Then, when the larger 2/8 instrument (opus 569) became available in 1927, it was installed to replace the smaller instrument. This is just a theory and has not be verified. However there are many references in the PSTOS Bill Bunch/Eugene Nye records clearly stating that opus 387 was relocated in 1931 to the Hollister Sprague residence in Burien WA directly from Lewiston.
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