Avon Theatre

193 Clinton Street,
Binghamton, NY 19305

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The Hider Theatre on Clinton Street was opened by the Hider Brothers in 1916. There is some evidence that after a strong start the the theatre went into decline as ownership changed to John Kozak (the theatre was the only one cited during fire inspections in 1928, and a film in fact did catch fire in 1929, damaging the projection booth). Kozak had his own problems; his wife was arrested for his daughter to prevent her from getting married in 1928!

Bygone Binghamton indicates the Hider Theatre evolved from an earlier theatre called the Avon Theatre, but the reverse appears to be true, as the Hider Brothers announced the opening of the theatre in a 1916 brochure and advertisements for the Avon Theatre appear in the Press throughout the early-1930’s, until about 1934. The Avon Theatre advertisements are the smallest in the paper and the theatre appears to have been the absolute bottom of the local pecking order. There were advertisements for live performances as well as movies during this time, seemingly along the lines of local talent shows.

193 Clinton Street is consistently given as the address at the beginning of the theater’s existence; the Press in 1929 gives the address as being 227 Clinton Street. Bygone Binghamton gives the address as “193, then 231 Clinton Street”. Whether the theatre had two locations or it is just a confusion resulting from the street renumbering that took place in Binghamton around that time, the answer is the same: the Hider/Avon Theatre is now a parking lot.

Contributed by Adam Marsland

Recent comments (view all 1 comments)

adamghost
adamghost on February 1, 2016 at 1:52 am

It is hard to track down the immediate post-theater history of the building because 193 Clinton Street (the 227 and 231 Clinton addresses seem to be eroneous – the Jan. 1934 licensing notice for the theater still shows its address as 193 Clinton) is associated with various business, particularly the restaurant business, both during its tenure as a theater and after. There’s reference to a nightclub/restaurant operating here in 1936, and the sale of restaurant fixtures in 1941, but based on the description to the latter this does does not appear to have been in the theater portion of the building.

Local book publisher Vail-Ballou had its warehouses in this vicinity; in a major 1944 expansion they purchased several lots, including the lots (said to be a garage and service station) at 189-191 Clinton. Since these were directly across from Charles Street this appears to be the same numbering then as now, and thus probably the same as the time the theater operated. It seems probable the theater building was also swallowed up in the 1940s as part of the Vail Ballou expansion of its plant, which included much of the block up to and including 193 Clinton. That plant’s subsequent demise almost certainly gave rise to the immense parking lot that now occupies most of the north side of this block. Vail Ballou went out of business, after 112 years, in 2012.

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