Tuesday, August 13, 2013

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.

This is the Stone Opera House on Chenango Street.  It was a grand old opera house once, but it's flag waving days are long over.   It's over 120 years old, and sits, neglected and possibly close to its final days.  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.

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


  1. The problem is that folks have to want to use it.
    Even if money is spent and it is preserved, will there be enough folks interested to visit?
    I am not saying NOT to do it- My question is how to insure it can be preserved long term.

    1. Hello -
      A restored historic theater can be an important anchor and drawing card toward reinvestment in any downtown. The restoration of literally dozens of historic theaters once scheduled for demolition has proved vital to recapturing market share for local downtown businesses in the face of suburban mall competition. In addition, restored historic theaters lure people downtown after the end of the normal business day for restaurants, theater, films and community events.
      Many of these theaters were in comparable condition to the Stone Opera House.
      Remember, the original Grand Ole Opry House, the Ryman Auditorium, was to be destroyed after new owners moved the show to a new site. Restored, it has helped recapture business and investment in downtown Nashville.
      The Stone Opera is worth saving from a purely dollars and cents business perspective. And it does not need to be completely restored all at once. Return the auditorium to usable condition, then restore the ornaments as money allows.
      Save it and they will come back to downtown.
      Greg Hubbard
      Chatsworth, Ca.

  2. What a grand and gorgeous old building. It takes concerned citizens (and lots of money) to rescue these old darling buildings. I hope somebody comes forward to save this one!

  3. Oh that is heartbreaking! I love old buildings and I love when people repurpose them and make them as beautiful as they were when they first opened. I wish I was rich too.

  4. Wow, that looked like an awesome building. What a shame that it's been closed and neglected for so long. I hope people join forces and restore it.

  5. Great old pix in the video. Loved what looked like old posters pasted on the side of the building. I could see it being repurposed as offices, an antiques mall, or some sort of retail downstairs and condos upstairs??? Not sure what the economy or population is like there but it sure would be great to see at least its facade saved.

  6. I love the look of that building, what a shame that it hasn't been restored....yet! There's still hope!


Your comments sustain me, as long as they are civil, are on topic, and do not contain profanity, advertising of any kind, links or spam. Any messages not meeting these criteria will immediately be composted, and my flowers will enjoy their contents.