Van Buren Theatre

Main Street,
Cairo, NY 12413

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The Van Buren Theatre first opened in 1932, and was named in honor of President Martin Van Buren (1837-41), a native son of the region. One of his distant relations, Mrs. L.J. Van Buren, built the cinema because the Catskill Mountains town lacked one and had no competition for many miles around.

Cairo had a resident population of only 900 or so, but the area had a constant flow of tourists to its many hotels and boarding houses, especially in summer. How the Van Buren Theatre managed to survive the Depression is unknown to this writer, but it was still open in 1941, although closed by 1943.

More information is needed about its history and the current status of the site. According to one report, the building still existed as recently as the 1990’s.

Contributed by Warren G. Harris

Recent comments (view all 3 comments)

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on February 5, 2008 at 6:12 am

Here’s an exterior image copied from a trade journal. Much of the Main Street frontage was occupied by a store, which provided the owner with additional income. The arched entrance to the theatre had no marquee, just a sign overhead marked “MOVIES.” Posters and stills from current and forthcoming attractions were displayed in frames on the sidewalk:

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on March 25, 2008 at 7:25 am

The direct link to the photo posted above on 2/5/08 has been changed to: View link

Roger Katz
Roger Katz on February 11, 2011 at 9:26 am

also called Love Star Theatre

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