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Digging deeper into old newspaper clippings, I finally have more information on the Avon, and it apparently predates the Alhambra Opera House, albeit under a different name.
Opening date for the Avon itself was June 26, 1920 with “Turn Of The Wheel” hosting a packed house for two shows at 7 and 9 p.m. However, the theater was housed in a building known previously as Halbert’s Hall, which was described in 1913 as a functioning theater “with good stage scenery” (no doubt a diplomatic local boosting nod upon praising the stage at the new Alhambra).
There are myriad listings for various talent shows, rummage sales, dances, vaudeville and minstrel shows, meetings, political rallies, plays and, yes, movies for Halbert’s Hall dating back to at least 1896. A ticket office was put in in 1897. Several articles refer to the hall adjoining the I.O.O.F. lodge rooms, with the I.O.O.F. meeting there on occasion. An article about a narrowly-averted fire in 1913 indicates it was located “in the main business center of the town.”
After the Avon closed (probably in 1929 or 1930 with the changeover to sound), there is mention of the Hall being purchased in 1935 and being remodeled (with a new addition added) into a bowling alley called “the Bowl.” A change of ownership and reopening of the Bowl is noted in 1944. In 1947 the Cortland paper states that “The Cincinnatus Bowling Alley is closed for repairs.” In 1964 the Cortland paper further states that a “new bowling alley” is under construction on Taylor Avenue. Here the trail of the Halbert’s Hall/Avon Theater building ends.
I visited Cincinnatus today looking for possible buildings that could have housed the Avon Theater; the only candidate I could see is the former town hall building, which does have the right dimensions.