Theaters in the early days were called "Nickelodeons" - "three good reels and a song, for five cents!"  The earliest moving picture show in Hillsdale was thought to be in a tent on what is now the Post Office  property, around 1907.  In 1908, the "Casino” was advertised as “the New Theater," at 18 S. Howell St.  Also in the early days was the Gem, the Washington (named in a contest), and the IXL, in 1913.  

The Alhambra Theater, located in the Lambert Block, ran in the 1930s and was replaced by the updated Hill Theater in 1940.  

Hill Thtre.jpg





The Hill boasted air conditioning, quite extravagant for the times. 





The Dawn opened on September 4, 1919, with the mayor presiding and about 750 present.  Besides moving pictures, vaudeville acts and college presentations were the order of the day at the Dawn.  The first stage production was "Robin Hood," and the performers found it necessary to dress among the tombstones in the Tasker Monument works building (today Smith’s Flowers) next door.


Carol A. Lackey