Rivoli Theatre

33 West Avenue,
Fairport, NY 14450

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Additional Info

Previous Names: Shaw's Hall, Bijou Dream Theatre, Bijou Theatre

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Located in Fairport, to the east of East Rochester, NY. The Shaw’s Hall was opened in a former church by 1873. The Bijou Dream Theatre was opened in May, 1907. By 1914 it had been renamed Bijou Theatre. With 300-seats, on August 30, 1920 it was renamed Rivoli Theatre. The Rivoli Theatre was still open in 1929. By 1931 the Rivoli Theatre was still open with an increased seating capacity of 410-seats and was still a silent movie theatre. It was listed as (Closed) in the 1932 edition of Film Daily Yearbook. It was demolished in 1975.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 2 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 27, 2023 at 5:50 pm

The earliest mention of the Rivoli I’ve found in the trade publications is in the December 25, 1925 Exhibitors Herald, at which time it was being run by a Mr. H. A. Shelling. A brief note in the July 19, 1933 issue of Film Daily says “Fairport, N. Y. — Don R. Stevenson has closed the Rivoli.”

Early on, the Bijou had been called the Bijou Dream, which occupied a 19th century community building called Shaw’s Hall. The building began as a church in 1844. When the congregation outgrew the building and built a new church the building was moved to West Avenue and converted into Shaw’s Hall. This had been done by 1873. The 1889 Jeffrey guide lists Shaw’s Hall as a 549 seat house, but provides no structural details. Other sources indicate that the Hall was upstairs.

The Bijou Dream opened in May, 1907, though movies had actually been screened at least once the previous year when it was still called Shaw’s Hall. Originally a wood-framed building with some Classical detailing, sometime after 1913 it received a new brick veneer exterior with some Renaissance details. The building was razed in 1975 as part of an urban redevelopment project, though a couple of sources say it had suffered a fire before its demolition.

This two-page PDF from the local historical society has a bit of the theater’s history and a good photo of the building after the brick front was installed.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 30, 2023 at 10:37 pm

The PDF I linked to in my previous comment does confirm that the Bijou and the Rivoli were the same theater. The reopening of the former Bijou Theatre as the Rivoli took place on August 30, 1920, according to the September 2 issue of The Monroe County Mail that year.

An 1885 Sanborn map of Fairport shows Shaw’s Hall on the south side of West Avenue, just east of a point midway between Main Street and Perrin Street. The entire area has been redeveloped, but the site of the Rivoli was across the street and a bit east of a modern business called the Moonlight Creamery, which is at 36 West Avenue, so the Rivoli must have been at about 33-35 West Avenue. (I can’t read the address on the Sanborn map, as my computer fails to get it in focus.)

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