Alvin Theatre

2352 Ontario Street,
Cleveland, OH 44113

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Alvin Theatre

Cleveland’s first Nickelodeon. The Alvin Theatre was opened prior to September 1908 with 50 seats. It was later expanded into an adjacent saloon adding another 200 seats. It was closed in 1926.

Contributed by John Ivancic

Recent comments (view all 5 comments)

David_Schneider on December 3, 2016 at 11:41 am

A copy of the photo above is part of a collage of historic Cleveland photos adorning a stone bench that is on the sidewalk next to Quicken Loans Arena on East 6th Street as you walk towards Bolivar Road and Progressive Field (where the Indians play ball).

That copy of the photo has a handwritten caption at the bottom: “Cleveland’s first nickelodeon Ontario St., across from the old market house, 1913 (CP)”.

Wow, the address of where the Alvin had been is nearby the bench (assuming today’s address scheme is the same as 1913) if you make a right from East 6th Street onto Bolivar Road or Eagle Avenue and walk to Ontario Street. (Nothing there now.)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 3, 2016 at 2:03 pm

Here is a photo of Ontario Street dated November 22, 1923, with the Alvin Theatre still operating.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 3, 2016 at 2:38 pm

Historic Movie Theaters of Downtown Cleveland, by Alan F. Dutka, gives a bit of the history of the Alvin. It began as a 50-seat nickelodeon, but the owner later rented a space next door formerly occupied by a saloon, demolished the wall, and expanded.

The opening date is not given, but if the Alvin was indeed Cleveland’s first nickelodeon, it must have opened very early in the 20th century. Nickel movie theaters were fairly common even before the word nickelodeon was first applied to them, around the time John P. Harris opened his Nickelodeon in Pittsburgh in June, 1905. Dutka says that the Alvin closed in 1926.

David_Schneider on December 5, 2016 at 12:22 pm

Wow Joe Vogel, thanks for the info!

Cool photo from 1923. Gosh, the whole block pictured is just gone now and not replaced by anything in Google Street View.

jandrews23 on June 6, 2017 at 2:36 pm

I have an invoice from The People’s Film Exchange stating my grandfather purchased the Alvin Theatre in September of 1908.

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