Vail-Leavitt Music Hall
18 Peconic Avenue,
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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.
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