Lerner Theatre

Also known as: Elco Theatre
401 S. Main St., Elkhart, Indiana


The portion left of the Lerner sign is a 2011 addition.

Photo taken by Jim Allen in June 2013



Street View 


The Elkhart Downtown Commercial Historic District, created later, includes this theater.

Originally the Lerner, renamed Warner in 1930, then Elco in 1934. The Lerner Theatre opened in 1924 as a vaudeville theatre, but was a motion picture theater by the late 1920s. When built, water powered direct current generators provided the electricity, and river water ran through coils in the walls to cool the building during the summer. [per NRHP nomination form]

The theater was restored in 2008-2011, and the name changed back to Lerner. During restoration the building to the north was replaced with a connecting building having the same architectural style as the theater. This new extension contains a ballroom, the box office, & the rest rooms. Tho the theater lobby was changed, the rest of the theater was restored to its prior appearance.

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on October 2, 1980
Reference number
Architectural style
Late 19th and 20th Century Revival: Beaux Arts
Areas of significance
Entertainment/Recreation; Architecture; Performing Arts
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
A - Event; C - Design/Construction
Property type
Historic function
Current function
Period of significance
Significant year

Update Log 

  • June 23, 2015: New photos from Jim Allen
  • July 16, 2013: Updated by Jim Allen: Added description
  • July 16, 2013: New photos from Jim Allen
  • December 27, 2011: New Street View added by Bill Eichelberger

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