Is it time for a Fremont Center for the Arts?

The City of Fremont was incorporated 1956 bringing together the five historic districts of: Centerville, Irvington, Niles, Mission San Jose and Warm Springs. Since that time there have been many discussions and movements to garner support for a performing arts center. This is just another attempt to create a central place where Fremontians can come together to enjoy the performing arts, events, speakers and more.

And this isn’t a new idea:

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Center Theater in Centerville

(Museum of Local History)

Built in 1946 by the Salih Family (members of the family still live in Niles) the Center Theater opened in 1947 to serve Washington Township (Centerville, Irvington, Mission San Jose, Niles, Warm Springs as well as Newark and what is now known as Union City).

Although many of these communities had smaller movie theaters, the Center Theater had the largest seating capacity of any theater in the area. It was... read more here.

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Leal Theater in Irvington

(Cinema Treasurers)

“This theatre was built in approximately 1915 in the town of Irvington (now a part of Fremont). Long closed as a theatre, the building is now used for small retail stores.”

The Leal Theater occupied the upper floor.


Niles Essanay Movie Studios in Niles

(Museum of Local History)

Niles was known as a Pacific railroad hub and was home to the Essanay Movie Studios from 1912 to 1916. Bronco Billy and Charlie Chaplin starred in many silent films that were made in Niles. See below: Essanay Comes to Niles

The spotlight (a Klieg light) and the wooden door (from the barn that was used for filming different scenes) were from the Essanay studio days.

Other items in the exhibit include... read more here.


And there are other performing arts venues that have come and gone.