The old stomping grounds…

…but from well before they were my stomping grounds!

This is a photo of downtown Olean, NY, from I assume 1954, since that’s when Sabrina came out. This is seventeen years before I was even born, and twenty-seven before I lived there. I saw this on a Facebook group for history and nostalgia of that town, and I really liked this photo for the datedness of it, as well as just a look of Olean when it was newer. When we moved there in 1981 the town still had some vibes of what it had once been (a decent-sized town that was the heart of a large rural region, with some manufacturing and a good population base). The decline was already underway, from a population that peaked around 25,000 around the time this photo was taken to under 14,000 today.

The theater there is one that I visited several times, before it eventually closed and was demolished. It was once a beautiful “movie palace” type of place, hence the name–but by the time we lived there it was run-down and only got worse, to the point where it was virtually impossible to actually enjoy a movie there (broken seats, popcorn from a coin-operated machine, terrible sound, a projector with a dim bulb). But still…Olean was once a place worth being. A place the trains ran to, instead of being a place the trains run through.

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One Response to The old stomping grounds…

  1. Roger says:

    I LOVE movie palaces. There are actually two in our area, though they don’t show movies all that often. The Palace in Albany, where I saew the last Albany Symphony concert. And Proctors, a vaudeville theater that fell on hard times by the 1970s, but they fixed it up with federal money and local contributions. The last movie I remember seeing in the big theater was Braveheart, but there are Broadway touring companies there regularly.

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