The Liberty Theater was built in 1922 by brothers Frederick and Michael Scrano on Main Street in Madera.
The men were born in Italy and were listed as stone masons on several census reports.
They built the theater at that time for the astronomical price tag of $200,000. It was large for its day, as it could seat close to 2,000 people.
During the construction of the Liberty Theater, tragedy struck when the Clearfield Progress published the following article on Nov. 19, 1921:
INJURY RECEIVED IN FALL FATAL TO PLASTERER
Oscar Lawhead Falls to Death from Scaffold on New Theatre Building at Madera
SCAFFOLD CHAIN LINK GIVES WAY
Dies despite Attempt of Physicians to Save His Life – Brother Workman Also Hurt
Oscar Lawhead, age 34 years, and son of Milton Lawhead of Hyde City, formerly of Clearfield, died in the Cottage State Hospital at Philipsburg at 1:55 o’clock Wednesday afternoon as the result of injuries received in a fall from a scaffold at the new Liberty Theatre building in Madera.
Chain Gives Way
The deceased, who was a plasterer by trade, in company with his nephew, John Lawhead, was working from a swinging scaffold plastering the ceiling of the theatre building.
A link in the chain supporting one end of the scaffold gave way and when the end dropped down the men were dropped to the concrete floor below, a distance of about 40 feet.
The Scrano brothers operated the Liberty until the World War II era. This theater continued to show movies into the late 1950’s.
As early as July 3, 1952, the Madera Girl Scout Troop was holding a bake sale in the Novelty Shop at the theater building and likewise by 1961 surplus food was being distributed from the premises.
After the Liberty closed as a theater, it was then made into apartments. The building was razed in 2000 after many years of neglect and disrepair.
The first movies shown were silent films – “7th Heaven” and “The Big Parade.”
The Liberty would feature cowboy movies on Saturdays. Many of the moviegoers would dress up in their cowboy clothes.
Tom Mix (DuBois native) movies were a favorite. Memories were noted of the life-like wax figures of Jesse James and the Dalton Gang that were displayed in the lobby of the theater back in the early days of the doors opening.