Movie Theatres in Niles Ohio

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The Garden Theatre was a forerunner of the modern drive-in theatre.
Garden Theatre, 1916

From the first time the Warner Boys showed silent ‘flickers’ at Deibel’s Grocery on Mill(State) Street in 1896 with their sister, Rose, playing accompaniment on the piano until the 1960s, Niles has had a variety of movie theatres located throughout the downtown.

The Garden Theatre was a forerunner of the modern drive-in theatre. Movies were shown in the evening, weather permitting.

It was located on North Main Street about where Sparkle Market is now (2019). Later on this site, the McKinley Theatre would be built, the McKinley Theatre closed in 1960.

It was located on North Main Street about where Sparkle Market is now (2019). Later on this site, the McKinley Theatre would be built, the McKinley Theatre closed in 1960.
McKinley Theatre

Niles Opera House with arched windows.
Niles Opera House with arched windows.

Exploding film cannisters caused a fire in the Opera House on September 16, 1920.

Ben Warner, father of the Warner Brothers, directed everyone to safety.

The third floor level was removed when the Warner Brothers built their new theater on the same site which opened in 1921.

The Warner Theatre was built in 1921


The Stafford Theatre was listed in the Burch Directory of 1912 at 125-133 Furnace Street (East State).

L- The Stafford Theatre was listed in the Burch Directory of 1912 at 125-133 Furnace Street (East State).

R- Glass slides with campaign advertisements were often projected onto the screen between movies. (The first commercials?)

Glass slides with campaign advertisements were often projected onto the screen between movies. (The first commercials?)

The Butler Theatre on South Main Street would later become the Robins Theatre.

L-The Butler Theatre on South Main Street would later become the Robins Theatre. It also would close in the 1960s. Photo ca 1935.

R-The Warner Theatre also fell into disrepair.

By the 1960s all the movie theatres in Niles were closed. All were demolished except for the Robins Theatre which stands empty and unused on Main Street.

The Warner Theatre also fell into disrepair.

Howland Drive-In Screen and Marquee
Howland Drive-In Screen and Marquee

On the 422 corridor a different type of movie theatre was built, an outdoor Drive-In theatre which projected the movie onto a white background vertical surface. The Howland Drive-In was located across from the main entrance to Eastwood Mall and is no longer in operation.

In the earliest drive-in theatres the sound was broadcast through directional speakers atop of a pole centrally located in the parking area. Later technology had the sound supplied to individual speakers the hung from each car window. Drive-in theatres nowadays project the sound into each car radio on different frequencies, this allows the playing of multiple movies in the theatre parking lot.

Usually the price of admission offered prevues of coming attractions, sometimes a short comedy and two different main features with the first film being shown again.

 


Playground Area
Playground Area

Before the movie parents would take the children to the play are where they could try the Round-about spinning wheel.

The biggest source of income for the theatre owners was the refreshment stand where popcorn, hot dogs, soft drinks, ice cream, chips and more were sold.

Food Service Area
Food Service Area

 
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