Robins Theatre

50 South Main Street,
Niles, OH 44446

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ROBINS Theatre; Niles, Ohio.

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Another Robins Theatre Enterprises Company theatre headed by founder Daniel J. Robins and brothers Ben and David. (David was an in-law to the Warner brothers.) In 1969, a fire did damage estimated at $15,000 to the lobby area; a passerby noticed the blaze and summoned help, or the building would have been lost. The building is mostly vacant in 2013.

Contributed by Lou Rugani

Recent comments (view all 3 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 26, 2013 at 12:48 am

I wonder if the Robins Theatre could be the house that was built for the McKinley Theatre Company in 1921-1922? The new house was the subject of reports in several construction trade publications of the time, and was described as being 63x175 feet, which looks to be the size of the Robins in satellite view.

A couple of items in issues of The Film Daily in 1924 indicate that he McKinley Theatre changed hands at least once that year, though I’ve been unable to find any references to the Robins Enterprise Company Becoming the operators. But given the fact that Niles was a fairly small town it seems likely that it had only one large theater, so it also seems likely that the McKinley and the Robins were one and the same.

If the Robins was the house that opened as the McKinley, it would be an unusual theater. The construction journals said that the McKinley was being designed by the Pittsburgh architectural firm of Simons, Brittain, & English. That firm specialized in the design and construction of banks, and the McKinley Theatre is the only building of their design that I’ve found any reference to that was not a bank.

ShortyP on August 11, 2013 at 2:42 pm

The McKinley Theater was about 2 blocks north of the Robins theater on the same side of the street. Their is a Sparkle Market their now.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 11, 2013 at 7:02 pm

ShortyP: It’s probable that the McKinley Theatre on North Main Street was a later theater of the same name, and not the one built in 1921-22. The October 9, 1937, issue of The Film Daily had this item about a new theater in Niles:

“Niles, O. — A new corporation, McKinley Theaters, Inc., has been granted permission to issue $50,000 worth of stock for the erection of a new picture house here. Incorporators are George Delis, A. G. Cinstant and Angelo Alex. The new theater will be one of a chain of houses controlled by Southwestern New York Theater Corp.”
Another item said that National Theatre Supply Co. of Cleveland was equipping the new McKinley Theatre at Niles, Ohio, with Super Simplex projectors, Magnarc lamp houses, generators and a Walker screen. The November 6 issue of the same publication said that RCA sound equipment had been purchased for the McKinley Theatre. The November 23 issue listed the McKinley among theaters that had recently been opened.

In light of this, I’m still unable to eliminate the possibility that the Robins Theatre was originally the first McKinley Theatre. If I could find a source indicating that the McKinley Theatre of 1937 was an older house being reopened, that would do it, but so far everything I’ve found suggests that it was a new theater. It would also help if we could find a source giving the opening date, or at least the opening year, or perhaps the name of the architect, of the Robins Theatre.

Shorty, do you have any details about the McKinley Theatre, such as how long it was in operation, how big it was, and what it looked like? It should be given its own page at Cinema Treasures.

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