Buffalo: Home of the First Movie Theater?
The above photo is of the Ellicott Square Building in Buffalo, New York, circa 1896. If one was looking for a cosmopolitan night on the town, you could enter the Edisonia Phonograph Parlor, head downstairs, and walk into Vitagraph Hall - one of the earliest, and possibly THE earliest, movie theater in the U.S., having opened in October, 1896. All the details are in this article in the Buffalo News. According to the president of the Theatre Historical Society, "We have no evidence of any earlier movie theater." Regardless of whether it's actually the first, it's assuredly among the first, making this an incredible discovery, adding just another reason for Buffalo to restore some of the old theaters that are still standing around town. The city's great strength is its architecture - and whatever budget is available should be flooded into restoration. And aside from its newfound historical import, the Ellicott Square building is pretty. Enjoy: