Empire Theatre

101 Court Street,
Binghamton, NY 13901

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Empire Theater

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Opened on Saturday, May 18, 1907; closed early-1909. It’s not clear whether an “old” Empire Theatre preceded this early Nickelodeon (there’s some evidence there was, but the article for the opening doesn’t mention it), but it did not last long, briefly changing its name to “Nickel Theatre” late in its existence, but that name does not seem to have caught on. It advertised “moving pictures and illustrated songs” from the beginning of life until its end. An edition of The Billboard on March 21, 1908 lists the Empire Theatre with 200 seats and Alfred Hill as the manager. Programmes were screened continuously.

This otherwise nondescript footnote in Binghamton history may have outlasted its competition in one respect, though; not only does the building (which predates the theatre) still stand, but the Nickelodeon facade may yet survive, with a wide arch and ornate design (adorned with two “B”’s — for Binghamton??) gracing the garage door storefront next to 103 Court Street. Or does the facade date from the occupancy of Brotan’s Store, located at 103 Court Street in the 1940’s? Who knows…but it certainly looks like a Nickelodeon entrance, and the address is almost identical to the old “new” Empire Theatre.

Contributed by Adam Marsland

Recent comments (view all 3 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 14, 2013 at 12:50 am

The New Empire was apparently an “old” Empire itself. Bygone Binghamton, by Jack Edward Shay, mentions a later Empire Theatre located at 120 Washington Street, but doesn’t give its years of operation.

adamghost on September 14, 2013 at 4:25 am

Interesting. I’ll check it out. In one other case Jack Shay got the order of theater names backwards, so that also may be the case here.

adamghost on May 26, 2015 at 2:32 am

Great picture! The arch in the photo does indeed closely match (though is not the same as) the facade at what is currently 103 Court Street. Other building features seem to line up as well. It looks like a match. Chances are today’s arch and garage door facade are a remnant from the remodeling after the theater closed.

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