Dryden Theater

12 Historic Small Movie Theaters

Many of these small movie theaters first opened during World War I and in the Roaring ’20s. All have since transitioned to digital, with the intentional exception of Eastman Museum’s Dryden Theater.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m truly pleased with the luxurious recliners available in mega-plex theaters these days, but there is something about a 100-year-old movie house that enhances your experience and transcends you through space and time.

Quick List of Movie Theaters

  1. Strand Theatre
  2. Cinema Theatre
  3. Geneseo Riviera
  4. Ohmann Theatre
  5. Star Theatre
  6. Glen Theater
  7. Aurora Theater
  8. Palace Theater (Lockport)
  9. Little Theatre
  10. Palace Theater (Wolcott)
  11. Spotlight Theater
  12. Dryden Theatre
Historic Small Movie Theaters Around Rochester Strand Theater Brockport
The Strand

1. Strand Theater

1908 – Brockport

First-run, single-feature movies. Second oldest active movie theater in the country. Changed name from Lyric Theater to Strand Theater in 1916 when remodeled.

Historic Small Movie Theaters Around Rochester Cinema Theater Rochester
Cinema Theater

2. Cinema Theater

1914 – Rochester

A double feature every night starting at at 7:00 PM. The City of Rochester’s oldest theater.

Historic Theaters: Riviera Theater Geneseo
Riviera Theater

3. Geneseo Riviera

1914 – Geneseo

Shows seasonal favorite and classic single-feature movies. Originally opened as The Rex Theater, changing its name in 1936.

Ohmann Theater Lyons NY
Ohmann Theatre

4. Ohmann Theatre

1915 – Lyons

First run, single-feature movies. Owned and operated by descendants of the original Ohmann family.

Star Theatre Dansville 1921
Star Theatre in Dansville

5. Star Theater

1921 – Dansville

Cash only, single-feature, first-run movies.

Historic Small Movie Theaters Around Rochester Glen Theater Watkins Glen
Glen Theater

6. Glen Theater

1924 – Watkins Glen

First-run, single-feature movies.

Aurora Theater
Aurora Theater

7. Aurora Theater

1925 – East Aurora

First-run, single-feature movies.

Palace Theatre Lockport
Palace Theater

8. Palace Theater

1925 – Lockport

First-run and seasonal favorite , single-feature movies.

The Little Theater Rochester NY
The Little Theatre

9. The Little Theatre

1928 – Rochester

Independent and foreign films. Many films accompanied by formal discussion with experts.

Historic Small Movie Theaters Around Rochester Palace Theater Wolcott
Palace Theatre

10. Palace Theater

1938 – Wolcott

First-run, single-feature movies, cash only.

Historic Small Movie Theaters Around Rochester Spotlight Theater Warsaw
Spotlight Theater

11. Spotlight Theater

1948 – Warsaw

First-run, single-feature movies.

George Eastman House Museum Dryden Theater
Dryden Theater

12. Dryden Theatre

1951 – Rochester

All films shown in their original format, including nitrate films, initially opened to screen the museum’s film collection. Many films are accompanied by formal discussion with experts.

Make sure you visit the George Eastman Museum while you’re there.

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Which are your favorite small movie theaters?

Share your thoughts with us in the comments. Your insight and experience is invaluable!


1 thought on “12 Historic Small Movie Theaters”

  1. The Little Theater in Rochester is my favorite! Real butter on their popcorn with an adjoining cafe/music/gallery space. Special screening events such as upcoming Oscar nominated animations and short films. The Little has it all!

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