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Lowville theatre entrepreneur Ernie Wolfe built the New Bijou Theatre, after working at an early nickelodeon theatre in 1911, the “old Bijou”. His obituary claimed that the construction was after a stint in World War I but online archives of the Black River Democrat make clear the Bijou Theater was actually opened on Monday, February 2, 1914, with the last show at the older theatre being given on Saturday night. First film exhibited was “Daughter Of Pan”. A flashlight photo of the audience of the new theatre in the grand opening was taken, with postcards being sent to all patrons. This photo of the interior has survived and is online. An early promotion at the new theatre was the giveaway of a new automobile!
Some time later he leased the operations while he ran the Plaza Theatre in Syracuse. He returned to Lowville around 1930, remodeled the Bijou Theatre and renamed it the Avalon Theatre. The interior of the theatre was torn out and the exterior was remodeled in a Spanish design. The Avalon Theatre was again remodeled in 1940, replete with flourescent murals and UV-responsive carpet!
The Avalon Theatre burned to the ground in 1948, at which time Wolfe took over the Lowville Opera House and remodeled it and renamed it the Town Hall Theatre, which is still in operation today. The lot apparently remained vacant for some time, as the local newspaper carries a story in 1953 of a deer being trapped in the former theatre’s cellar.
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