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Bessemer is a small, formerly industrial town 7 miles west of New Castle, PA. Famous for old style, European brick making and a huge limestone and cement company, the turn of the century town was mainly populated by Austrian, Croation and Italian immigrants. The Bessemer Theatre was located in a store front near company row housing and The Croatian Club, a popular gathering spot.
Like many hurriedly set up, store front nickelodeons at the beginning of the 20th century, the Bessemer Theatre was little more than a dark room with a hand-crank projector on one side and a screen on the other. As the word of mouth history goes ‘a man named Rudy played violin for the movies’. Although the building eventually was used for retail space, the tiny Bessemer Theatre never made it into the sound era.
The town of Bessemer is a relatively sleepy community of legacy dwellers and commuters to New Castle and Youngstown. Although the limestone and cement company and brick factory ovens are gone, much of Bessemer remains unchanged by time.
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