The Liberty Theater has long been a fixture on the Main Street of Dayton. Located at its present
day spot, the Dreamland Theater first opened in 1910.
In 1917, the Dreamland changed its name to
the Liberty. Fire burned the building in 1919,
but the theater reopened in 1921. During the
1930s, the Liberty brought "talkies" to
Different managers ran the Liberty until it closed its doors - temporarily in the late
1960s - and finally, in the early 1970s. For almost 30 years the building
was unused, except for storage or the occasional Halloween haunted house.
During the 1980s, while people began
talking about the revitalization of downtown
Dayton, one dream - that of seeing the Liberty Theater
reborn - was at the top of many local wish lists. Finally,
in 1994, a group of citizens under the title
Touchet Valley Arts Council (TVAC) approached
the owner of the building, the law firm of Nealey and Marinella, about restoring the building.
Terry Nealey and Scott Marinella
told the group they could have the building under two conditions. The group had to repair the building's leaky roof first, and the law office would retain the balcony for needed office space.
local donations and hundreds of volunteer hours
contributed by community members, the roof was repaired.
Nealey and Marinella followed through with their
promise, and added the use of the balcony.
Over the next seven years,
TVAC and other community members raised money
and were awarded different grants that allowed
the fully restored Liberty Theater to open its doors with a
live performance of The Music Man in November
the Liberty Theater continues to serve Dayton and the Touchet
Valley under the vision of TVAC's original goal.
First run family oriented movies are shown
at the theater four days a week. Each year, the theater hosts two film festivals, one designed to entertain local children during summer afternoons. Several live performances
are produced by TVAC Productions, and the Missoula
Childrens Theatre graces the stage each year.
The Music Man