Jefferson Theater building still stands on Main Street

Before bypasses, four-lane highways, toll roads and interstates took a lot of traffic away from downtown in cities and towns, Main Street was the vital hub. Many of the old roads, such as the Lincoln Highway in Goshen, went right through the heart of downtown. And Main Street was where people went to shop, eat and be entertained. For many years in Goshen, the Jefferson Theater on South Main Street was an entertainment hub. It originally open in 1905 on multiple lots that had stood vacant for 20 years. The theater was named after actor Joseph Jefferson, who had recently died. But in 1906, a fire consumed the building. Firefighters came from Elkhart by train to help Goshen firemen fight the fire. However, a new Jefferson Theater was rebuilt and opened Oct. 10, 1907. It served the city for several years before closing. Television was too much to compete with for some theaters, but Jefferson stayed open longer than other theaters were able to. After it closed, it was used for various purposes including a church at one time. A not for profit group purchased the building and is in the midst of a fundraising campaign to restore it. Someday, it may again be a downtown hub for Goshen.

Former Jefferson Theater in downtown Goshen.

Former Jefferson Theater in downtown Goshen.


About historynut11

My name is Tim Ashley and I am a newspaper editor/reporter/photographer in Milford, Indiana, and live in nearby Goshen, Indiana. A deeply held and sincere passion of mine is history and learning from the past. I enjoy a wide variety of history topics, but particularly local history, noted American highways (Lincoln Highway and Route 66), railroad history and the Civil War. I believe we can learn much from the past and that past shapes who we are today. I also enjoy visiting museums and historical sites, as well as taking photos of remnants from the past still standing.
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