Saturday, February 18, 2017

Local Saturday - One Building at a Time

I originally blogged this in 2013 and reran this in 2014.

The years have not been kind to the area of upstate New York where I live.  Nor have they been kind to many other areas of our country.  Major employers have downsized, moved operations overseas, or disappeared. (By the way, did you know that IBM and Whirlpool both got their start in Binghamton, New York?)

What follows is the story of one of many historic buildings in Binghamton, New York that still, despite urban renewal, sit in ruins.  Patiently, this building waits for its fate.  Some four years after I first published this post it still sits, empty.   Some would call it a symbol of our country.

I say this in a non partisan way:  our infrastructure badly needs to be rebuilt.  We need to concentrate on local buildings and road, and on bringing back local jobs.  The question, of course, is "how"?  And, at what cost?

Perhaps doing it one building at a time will start the journey.

Here's my post:  

"From Edward G. Robinson to Ruin".

What do Eddie Foy, Ethel and John Barrymore, Sara BernhardtGeorge M. Cohan, Teddy Roosevelt and Edward G. Robinson's first professional stage performance have in common?

Answer:  this building in downtown Binghamton, New York.
Stone Opera House in 2013
This is the Stone Opera House on Chenango Street.  It was a grand old opera house once, but its flag waving days are long over.  This 120 year old plus building, neglected and possibly close to its final days, patiently sits as passerbys walk by without a glance.  It's the shame of Binghamton.

In the 1930's it became the Riviera Theatre, and closed for good in 1973.  Now it sits, rotting and boarded up.

This is what it looked like once.

Actually, there are abandoned theaters all over this country.  Can we ever hope for someone to rescue this building and do something for it?  As of today, to the best of my knowledge - nothing has happened.

Even as crumbling buildings downtown are renovated and turned into student housing, the Stone Opera House waits.  And waits.

Sometimes, I wish I was very rich....


  1. It is so sad when these beautiful old buildings fall into disrepair. They are such a part of our history and need to be reclaimed. It would be good thing to do in Binghamton, to reclaim the architectural history of the city. It would be a gift to future generations.

  2. It does seem to be a huge problem everywhere and it is sad. This building you featured is gorgeous, really too bad no one is will to restore a beauty like that vs. building a new strip mall :(

  3. I know in our community it hard for a lot of down dist...which I like to call main of street of America is hard to keep there door open.
    I try a lease couple time during the month to stop in purchase something even if it a cup of coffee and biscotti.
    Coffee is on

  4. Yes what an old beauty that building is! Most of the old houses are torn down here and a condo will go up. I wish we could save some of the history before it is all turned into little boxes.

  5. I feel the same way about many monuments in our city just falling into ruins.

  6. The building looks so beautiful... it would be a shame if such a piece of history is lost.

  7. Old monuments are such an important part of our history. Isn't it? I also agree that they need maintenance. Rebuilding not so much.

  8. Wouldn't it be great to be rich? I would join you in your quest to save these beautiful buildings.

  9. Saw movies there while growing up. There was a movie theater next door too. Then there was the Capitol -- wow-- the grandest theater but it was torn down to provide a parking lot next to a bank ( next to the old Carnagrie Library.)

  10. It is terribly sad to see such beautiful, interesting buildings sit in ruins, while we continue building square, concrete monstrosities to replace them. I absolutely love history, and it's great that you are trying to draw interest to older building by reminding us of what they meant to us in the past. Thank you:)

  11. This structure has a fantastic facade-the likes of which we certainly do not see here in California. Would that it could be restored to its former glory & put to good use!


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