Oldest Operating Art House/Rep House in the US?

posted by Ross Melnick on September 8, 2005 at 4:25 am

“A question— would anyone happen to know what the oldest still-in-operation art house/ rep theater in the US is…? I have a feeling it might be my local favorite, Cambridge MA’s Brattle Theater, and wonder if anyone could confirm or correct this notion.



Paul Monticone

Comments (7)

teecee on September 8, 2005 at 5:58 am

Oldest as in oldest building or oldest as in oldest in continuing operation?

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on September 8, 2005 at 7:43 am

As a movie theatre, the Brattle goes back only to 1953. (The building is much older, but was used for live shows before that date.) So I bet there’s an older one out there somewhere.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on September 9, 2005 at 3:52 am

The Avon Cinema in Providence opened as an art house in 1938 with Abel Gance’s The Life and Loves of Beethoven and has been operating ever since. Perhaps there are other older ones. I don’t know. But this one certainly deserves consideration. It is a single-screener and and currently a first-run art house.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on September 9, 2005 at 6:35 pm

The oldest still-in-operation art house in New York City, I would guess, is the Paris Theatre, which opened in 1948 with Symphonie Pastorale.

Tillmany on September 11, 2005 at 4:18 pm

The Clay Theatre in San Francisco opened in 1913, became the “Clay International” in 1935 and is still in operation as a single screen theatre specializing in foreign films. It’s featured in my book,
Theatres of San Francisco, presently available from Arcadia.

maxzilla2005 on September 12, 2005 at 9:44 am

The Elks Theatre, located in Middletown, Pennsylvania was opened in 1911.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on September 12, 2005 at 10:18 am

Max, but when did it become an art or repertory house? This thread isn’t about the oldest neighborhood theatres, but specifically about those theatres that have been art/repertory movie theatres for the longest time.

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