Early Nickelodeons in Passaic County, New Jersey

by Robert P. Brooks
Bulletin of the Passaic County Historical Society, April 1959

“We Furnish nickelodeon
Complete Outfits
5-Cent Theaters
Traveling Exhibitors
Street Advertising
Lodge Work
Church Entertainments
Public Schools
at the Very Lowest Prices”

(1908 Sears Roebuck Catalog Advertisement)

In 1906, there were several nickelodeons licensed in Paterson, NJ.  Among them were:

The Elite at 201 Market Street.

The Gem, at 136 Market Street.  This house was operated by Peter A. Adamopolis.  From 1907 to 1915, this house operated under the name Paterson Show and it was operated by James A. Campbell in  October 1907 when it was closed for a short time by the City as it was a  fire hazard because the projector was covered with a cotton flannel cloth.

Daly’s, at 269 Main Street; known as The Royal in 1913-14.

The Pleasant Hour, 213 Main Street; later called The Lyric with Walter Sibley the proprietor.

The Bijou, 34 West Street (later called West Broadway), Butler, Jacobs and Lowry,  proprietors.

The Nicolet, 162 Main Street on the S. W. corner of Van Houten, with Harry Metz and Harry Gold.  Here French pictures changed daily were shown for five cents in 1910.

Cuff Show, opposite Daly’s on Main Street and in the Red Flag Dry Goods Store at Main and Ward Streets.

Another place was in Charles Feder’s Clothing Store at 213 Main Street at the corner of Ellison.

An open-air theater, one of the first in the United States opened in 1907 or 1908 at 68 Ward Street (site of the Ward Street Presbyterian Church)…

In the period between 1909 and 1915 many moving picture houses
sprung up in the city (Paterson), and among those well known were:

Palace, 122 Main Street.

Star Confectionery Company, 137 Main Street.

The Paterson Show, 136 Market Street advertised in 1910 in The News, It’s a    comfortable place to spend an hour in.

The Theatres:

 Lyceum, 123 Van Houten Street.

Empire, 150 Ellison Street.

Opera House, 284 Main Street.



Orpheum, on Van Houten Street, built by Billy Watson who broke from his partnership with Ben Leavitt as operators of the West Street Bijou.  At the Orpheum, Watson conducted a burlesque and picture theater.

The Washington Show, 137 Main Street.  In 1913 the Washington Show advertised that it had the longest, best and coziest moving-picture theater in the city.

Lyric, 213 Main Street.  In 1913 the Lyric advertised up-to-the-minute motion picture for 5 cents.

New Grand, Main and Ward Streets.

Majestic, on Main Street, with vaudeville by Keith circuit and Edison’s talking pictures was operated by Metz and Gold.

The Strand, 128 Main Street with its 800 seating capacity; Gold and Connor, proprietors.

United States Photo Play, Main Street, later the U. S. Theatre.

During the nickelodeon days in the City of Passaic there was
an abundance of show places.  Among the earliest recalled are:

 The Nickolet, on Main Street

Nickolet, Second Street.

Nicolet, 187 Passaic Street.

The Theatorium, Main Avenue, near Jefferson Street.

Bijou, 58 Second Street.

Gebbel and Rettinger’s, at Rettinger Hall, Passaic and William Streets.

Nickeldrome, Dayton Avenue, Clifton, near the Passaic City line.

The Little Wonder, 332 Passaic Street, where 300 feet of film is shown every day with the latest illustrated songs.

(Note:  Graphics were not included in the original publication.)