Bijou Dream, Main Street E., Rochester, NY 14614

Opening its doors in 1906, the Bijou Dream was the first theatre in Rochester devoted exclusively to motion pictures.

dream5_Snapseed_pe (Medium)

Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, July 31, 1906:

“Since the Bijou Dream was revealed to the public people have been attracted to it by the raucous tones of a phonograph. At first the machine was placed in the open collonade and later it was placed over the entrance inside the building, but the horn spread outside the building and emitted ‘all the latest’ band music and other popular airs.

“For the first few days the phonograph was an attractive feature, but for the business houses in the neighborhood the novelty soon wore off. Above the noises of the street even were heard the piccolo and the comic song of somebody’s military band. Finally neighbors descended in a body upon the mayor and demanded that something be done to abate the alleged nuisance.

“So a warrant was sworn out for Jay Matsbaum of No. 106 Main street east, manager of the Bijou. He is charged with  maintaining  a mechanical instrument called a phonograph which produces loud and constant noises, tending to endanger and disturb the public comfort and repose and create a nuisance.’

Violation of the ordinance is not a misdemeanor but there is a fine of not more than $150 for [?] or a penalty of not more than $500 to be recovered by the city in a civil suit. It is likely that there will be an interesting contest as to the proper [?] of the ordinance.”

The Bijou Dream went dark on February 28, 1913.

Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, March 2, 1913:

“There was a time in the history of Rochester when there was not a picture theater on every corner and when a [?] to the ‘movies’ was an event in most families. The passing of the Bijou Dream, the first picture theater in town, recalls the fact that the day is only seven years back.

“On Friday night the last ‘Good Night’ was thrown on the screen and early this week workmen will start remodeling the building for the United Cigar [?] Company.”


Above photo: Moving Picture World, July 11, 1909


Cezar Del Valle is available for theatre walks and talks in 2013.

He is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, chosen 2010 Best Book of the year by the Theatre Historical Society.


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