New Linden Theatre

405 Evergreen Avenue,
Brooklyn, NY 11221

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The Brooklyn Theatre Index (published in 2010) provides the bare bones essentials about this old movie house – and little else. Specifically, the place operated as the Linden Garden Airdrome from 1916 through 1922; became the Linden Theatre sometime in 1921; and was then re-named the New Linden Theatre in 1922 – and then faded away. In all probability, the site is now a vacant lot, and has been such for many, many years.

Any additional information regarding this theater will be most appreciated.

Contributed by John Dereszewski

Recent comments (view all 20 comments)

Bway
Bway on January 7, 2011 at 4:57 am

Okay, I just did some more research, and the corner of Linden and Evergreen housed a large wooden frame Victorian looking building which housed the Brewery Restaurant, so the theater was not at the Linden and Grove corner where the empty lot is today. The small brick building between the mystery building and the wood framed building is still there today, and is seen in the photo of Linden and Evergreen shown here in 1907. This building burned down in another fire in the 1950’s and has been a vacant lot since. But now….where is the New Linden Theater? Is it the “mystery” building at Grove and Evergreen, or was it on the other corner of Linden, where Hope gardens is now? In any event, the small brick building surving in the middle is 403 Evergreen. Hmmmm.
See here for photo:

View link

Bway
Bway on January 7, 2011 at 5:00 am

The small building in the middle, still standing, was the brewery entrance. Here’s a link about it below. Could that mean the building on the left, at Grove and Evergreen was once the New Linden Theater?

View link

johndereszewski
johndereszewski on January 8, 2011 at 8:04 am

This is some really great history, Bway. If I can make it out there later today to view the the current site for myself, I will.

The evidence you provided clearly proves that the theater could not have been situated on the site of the current vacant lot at the west side of Linden. With this now off the table, there is precious little land on the rest of the block left to accommodate BOTH a brewery, which had to be a pretty substancial structure, AND the theater. While I certainly agree that the building at Grove very much resembles the other “nabe” theaters noted on your previous comment, one can also easily imagine a brewery operating out of it. Given all this, the possibility that the New Linden was actually situated on the EAST side of Linden increases, though obviously nothing difinitive can be stated at this time.

The fact that the actual address of the New Linden may not match the current one is not necessarily a difinitive disqualifier. Street number designations did change over time, and sometimes the occupants just used the wrong number. (For decades, the DeKalb branch of the Brooklyn Public Library used the Bushwick Ave. address actually assigned to the building situated across the street!) With this in mind, it is interesting to note that the first picture appearing on your B'klyn Genealogy (BG) link cites a 404 Evergreen Ave. address for the old Victorian building/restaurant. This address now clearly would place it on the Southside of Evergreen. So this citation either represents a prior address designation – or an outright error. The same could clearly have ocurred with the New Linden.

Also, if you look at the second picture in the BG link, which was probably shot in the mid-late 1920’s, and scroll to the right, you will see that the restaurant at the Linden corner had been re-named the Linden Garden at about that time. This was, of course, the same name as the Linden Garden Airdrome! Whether this provides some link to the old theater’s existence or is merely coincidential is an open question. But it is certainly worth mentioning.

Let me now end this long post with an innnocent off-topic tidbit. Just north of the restaurant on Linden is a small one story taxpayer building. In the late 1970’s – and probably even a bit later – it housed a pretzel factory. During my District Manager days with the community board, I would frequently pass by this place on my way to work and, almost as frequently, buy three warm and very tasty pretzels – for a quarter! While this provided no benefits to my waistline, I will always remember the wonderful taste of the pretzels, which I eagerly consumed with my morning cup of coffee.

Talk soon.

johndereszewski
johndereszewski on January 8, 2011 at 2:18 pm

I was able to visit the site today and have much to report.

Bway, I really think that the building at the Grove St. corner (403 Evergreen) was part of the brewery, and was never a movie house. At the second floor level, this structure and the adjacent building, which you referred to as the brewery’s entrance (405 Evergreen), are united by a common walkway. This does not appear to be a recent alteration and, as such, indicates a ong-term connection. More importantly, during my visit, I entered the 403 building, which is a VERY well maintained and recently renovated Pentacostal Church, and asked the attendant about its former use. He noted that its prior role as a brewery was known to the congregation. It is also clear that both this building and the brewery’s old entrance building (405 Evergreen) belong to the same church.

If the old movie house did exist on this block, the only possible candidate is that “mysterious” v-roofed building that was situated between the old Victorian house and the brewery’s entrance. Perhaps the brewery owned this building and packaged it as either an airdrome or a “very” small silent movie house – the type that could not remain economically viable after the early 1920’s. This might also provide further support for the theory that the Linden Garden restaurant and the similarly named airdrome have something in common. Finally, common ownership of the entire site might also have something to do with the unclarity of the street addresses.

So, hopefully we are making someprogress on this issue – or not.

Bway
Bway on January 9, 2011 at 12:05 pm

John, I have also took up the speculation that the movie house may have something to do with the Restaurant/Brewery. Perhaps a way to bring people to the Restaurant/Bar. It’s very possible it was a very small theater space, a part of the Brewery property. Back then of course movies were sort of a novelty, so it would not be surprising that they thought it would be good to entertain with some mugs of beer, etc, while watching a movie on a small screen. The unity of all the buildings under the same Brewery ownership would also explain the multiple addresses, as if it was one entity with several buildings, for ownership purposes, it may have had only the one main office address used. Most properties with multiple lots only use one mailing address.
This also may explain the “Linden Garden” name, another “coincidence” too large to ignore.

Bway
Bway on January 9, 2011 at 12:23 pm

Here’s a photo taken from the other direction in the 1920’s:

Click here for photo

Bway
Bway on January 10, 2011 at 4:07 am

Someone at BB found that photo, but I don’t know where they found it. It may be from the Brooklyn Library’s Brookly Eagle archive.

vikrok
vikrok on February 2, 2011 at 4:40 pm

GREETINGS… MY NAME IS VICTOR. I WORKED AT 403 EVERGREEN AVENUE FOR 16 YEARS… AND DID SOME EXTENSIVE RESEARCH ON THE HISTORY OF THE BUILDING FOR AN ANNIVERSARY PROJECT… I WAS ABLE TO CONTACT THE GREAT GRAND DAUGHTER OF FRANK IBERT, WHO OWNED THE IBERT BREWERY ON THE PROPERTY…. SHE SENT ME SOME AMAZING PICTURES…. WOULD LOVE TO SHARE THOSE WITH YOU…. AS FAR AS I KNOW THERE NEVER WAS A THEATER ON THE SITE, BUT I MAY BE MISTAKEN, THE CAFE ON THE CORNER OF LINDEN STREET WAS CALLED THE HOFFMAN CAFE AND WAS OWNED BY A RELATIVE OF FRANK IBERT…. THANK YOU AND HOPEFULLY WE WILL CHAT SOON…

vikrok
vikrok on February 2, 2011 at 5:10 pm

here is a link where you can see various stages of the property…. if you look closely there is a small building in between both larger buildings it appears to maybe have remnants of a marquee… i could be wrong …. that area is very small, but who knows….

thanks,

Vic…

View link

johndereszewski
johndereszewski on February 5, 2011 at 6:09 am

Vic, great hearing from you and I really enjoyed reading your comments. If you can post any of the pictures that you mentioned on this page, I hope you will do so. (I have never been able to master this process.)

If a theater ever did exist here – and the documentation of an old theater that I relied on did not come out of nowhere – I would opt for the small, “v” roofed building, that was once situated just east of 405 Evergreen in what is now part of the parking lot. It provided a link between 405 and the big residential cum restaurant building at the Linden St. corner. You can find it pictured in at least one of the photos that Bway posted above. Did you ever find out anything about this building as part of your research?

Also, did you work here as a member of the church community or was the site being used for anything else during your time there? Finally, do you remember whatever happened to the Mt. Horeb Lodge, which used 405 as its headquarters during the 1970’s and allowed the Bushwick Block Captains to hold their meetings there. I attended many meetings in that building, which the Block Captains for some reason insisted on holding on late Sunday afternoons.

Second finally – Do you remember the old pretzel factory once located around the corner on Linden St?

Hope to hear from you very soon.

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