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A good starting point would be to search the specific search string “Whitney Point Opera House” into the database of old Binghamton Press issues that you found on the Fulton Postcards site. That should assure you that such an opera house did, indeed, exist (and as Joe and I have suggested, was very probably the same hall that later housed the Point Theater).
Sigh The 1961 closing date was a possibly inaccurate memory from 30 years ago. I said as much, above. That said, I am pretty sure the recollection of the 1967 closing date (the date of the fire) is not correct. The reasons are that the Binghamton Press article about the building burning down does not mention a theater at all, and I am clear that when I did the research in ‘78, the Greene theater, which closed in late spring '67, was the last small town theater around. Having said that, all the rest of the stuff I have posted is easily confirmed by searching online. It is from primary sources; a gazeteer from the era, the Whitney Point Reporter special edition from after the fire, and the Binghamton Press database which you have already found (which also has listings for the other area papers, which also has information about the theaters in Whitney Point. I did multiple searches on the internet to gather this information. Meaning no disrespect to your research team, but none of them were alive (or at least past infancy) during the period in question, pre-1931 or so. Do the same searches I did, and you’ll find the same information. I think you have done a great job solving the mystery, but all the information I have posted above is easily verifiable. I recommend you check it all out, because you’ve done a terrific job completing the picture on this theater and the People’s Theater. If you are in the area, the Whitney Point Reporter archives should be searchable on microfilm in the local library. All the definitive answers lie there. Good luck!
Incidentally, my dad used to run the paper in Whitney Point, I grew up in Greene, and I made a study of old theaters when I was a kid…so I do know the area pretty well. :)
I don’t follow you; as I said above, the information about the opera houses was not derived from advertisements, and they were very specifically about opera houses in WHITNEY POINT. As I said before, all the sources are posted above in comments and you can check them yourself. I’m not sure about how the Peoples' Theater factors in but I know it well — because I posted a page for it some time ago. What I couldn’t find was the newspaper article about the opening, so I was glad to see you did and could add to the information. Nice job! But there was definitely an opera house in Whitney Point (actually, two, or three, depending on how you count…plus apparently opera houses in Lisle and Center Lisle as well)…and it most likely became the Point Theater.
A picture of an earlier theater in Danville is shown here:
None of the theaters from the above Moving Picture World article are listed here. The Danville one looks particularly interesting.
Definitely looks older than 1921.
The section under “Susquehanna” implies a second theater on Main Street called the Star Theater, in operation in 1910.
I love your detective work, Joe!
Sorry, should have said great FIRE in the comments above. It’s among the perils of posting on the phone and from memory! But all of the sources i just roughly synopsized are posted upthread in detail in this comments section…just click “view all comments” above.
Btw, the Binghamton Press references should be found on the same website we both found the Tyler Theater article you posted. Just use the search function.
Definitely not confusing with the Stone. I think I might have put the sources above, but you can double check as I found these all via google:
1. Binghamton Press has periodic references to “Whitney Point Opera House” from around 1900 to 1936.
2. Whitney Point Reporter special edition about the great flood rebuilding makes it clear there was an opera house destroyed in the flood and a new one has just been constructed. It was either there or in another article just afterward where they made reference to it being in the municipal building.
3, A gazetteer of the area from 1924 makes reference to “two opera houses” in Whitney Point.
4. There’s a postcard photo online of the village hall from the turn of the 20th century, and it’s the same building in this photo (except no outward indication of an opera house).
It doesn’t surprise me no one remembers an opera house; if we have this right, it was known by another name from the 20s. Probably only old timers were calling it the opera house by 1936. Everyone living today would have known it as a movie theater. Incidentally, I’ve also found references to opera houses in Lisle and Upper Lisle! Smithville Flats had two!
Wow, great to see the new research on the theater. I had come to suspect pretty strongly that the Point was in the village hall building, but it struck me as odd no mention was made of its former use…which indicates it had been closed for some time by ‘67 (which was incidentally the year the theater closed in Greene, which was the last of the small town ones in the area).
One thing we can be fairly sure of is that the Point was in the space formerly occupied by the Opera House built in 1899. The Crescent’s being open in the ‘20s (when we have contemporaneous accounts of “two opera houses”), and closed in the early '30s dovetails with it having been the Point, since we have the article specifically stating Byron Gosh was bringing in sound equipment to open up a talking theater in the village hall in 1934. That makes sense, since all of the silent movie houses in the area pretty much folded by 1930. So the chronology does strongly suggest the Point Theater, the Crescent, and the Whitney Point Opera House are all one and the same.
As for the Tyler-Peoples' situation, since the 1932 combined seating of the two theaters is almost the same as the original seating of the Tyler, could this have been the world’s first twin?
According to wikipedia, Levering Hall (also still standing) was the town’s opera house until the 1940s, probably superseded by the current theater. It would seem this town’s theater history could stand a closer look.
Still operating as of March 2014. The building is dated 1894, which means this could be a continuing operation of an opera house, which would be extraordinary. The auditorium appears to be an add-on to the original building however. It does have one unusual feature in the back, a chimney. It’s a little surprising more doesn’t seem to be known about this theater.
I’m looking right at it, and this theater is open for business. The Nutcracker Suite is playing.
Incidentally, Hamlin’s/CVS itself is in an old theater building, the Hippodrome/Court (1908-1927).
The early Royal Theater was only one block away from the Regus, but apparently was a different building.
The only part that still looks like a theater is the restroom area on the second floor.
Ad in Cincinnatus newspaper indicates Point Theatre was operating, by that name, no later than March 1940.
Still standing as of 2009, picture here:
The first movie theater I ever went to, in 1971.
Correction: two fires. Does seem a bit improbable…until I look at the building! Looks like it might have been through a fire or two.
The building as shown in the ‘70s photo says “1907” over the door and the architecture looks more typical of a store of that era (the article above says the original Cozy started life as a store built in 1907) than of a rebuilt theater in the '20s…it may well be that the fire gutted the building but left at least some of the original brick/stone (hard to tell) walls standing.
What a trippy place.
Well, that picture is different!