Vail-Leavitt Music Hall

18 Peconic Avenue,
Riverhead, NY 11901

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This has only occasionally served as a movie theater in its 125-year history, but that history could hardly be more distinguished: Thomas Edison used the theater for early experiments in sound movies in 1914.

The main theater, upstairs, is an astonishing gem – a miniature opera house designed and embellished by J. W. Flack. It was abandoned and forgotten for decades. In the late 1970s, restoration efforts began, and they’ve been slowly continuing ever since. From 1984 to 1998 or so, old movies were shown on a small screen in a cramped downstairs space in an effort to raise funds and involve the community in the restoration crusade. The shows included live organ music and exhortations to volunteer.

See website:

http://vail-leavitt.org/history.htm

Contributed by chelydra

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

longislandmovies
longislandmovies on October 16, 2004 at 8:17 pm

If you love theaters this is a must you will not see this style oftheater in the country anymore.This is a MUST MUST TO SEE plan a trip……………..

longislandmovies
longislandmovies on July 24, 2006 at 4:15 pm

Any theater historian,fan,should put this second floor theater on the must see list!

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on July 24, 2006 at 4:36 pm

Vail-Leavitt Music Hall

18 Peconic Ave
Riverhead, NY 11901
(631) 727-5782

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on August 14, 2007 at 12:44 pm

Here is a recent photo of the Vail-Leavitt Music Hall.

sameegrl
sameegrl on February 4, 2009 at 4:48 pm

I remember when they had the Mini Cine downstairs and showed some great old films.

PaulLD1
PaulLD1 on March 16, 2009 at 12:30 pm

I never went to the Mini Cine myself, but I do remember looking every week in Newsday for the listings for this theatre, a sample below:

Mini-Cine: Top Hat Fri. Sat. 8

I remember how that single listing just stood out among the multi-listings of the multi-plexes, and how I said to myself “One day, I will go!” Sadly, one day never came for me….

chelydra
chelydra on February 24, 2013 at 9:40 pm

Just made some comments on the page for the Suffolk Theater (around the corner) which apply equally to this one… Some half-baked thoughts on how to make this theater-restoration thing really work…

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