Every Monday we share a vintage image on the Essex on Lake Champlain Facebook page and invite our viewers to play some Vintage Essex Trivia. Thanks to Rick & Karen Dalton for sharing the photo above with us!
Do you recognize this building? What changes do you notice compared to how it appears today? Can you tell us some of its history? When do you think this photo was taken?
Here’s what the community has already had to say:
Mary Wade: When I was young it was a movie theater in the middle Post Office on the right and snack bar on the left.
Christine Herrmann: Diner on the left; Essex movie theater in the middle; and post office on the right! Photo is probably from mid-late 1940s.
Liz Wilson: I remember the diner run by a lady named Myrtle (?) well into the late ’60s.
Rich Warner: Still have my Lake Champlain pennant I got from Myrtle McDougal’s shop in the ’50’s, first time I heard of Jimmies on ice cream. She had a plaque hanging near the door, “I used to complain that I had no shoes til I met a man with no feet.”
Christine Herrmann: After Myrtle’s, I think it was Kelley’s Dinette.
Jeremy Estus: Why did they change it so drastically!!! That’s just what Essex needs now!!!
After learning about the separate businesses in the building I was very interested in learning more (espcialy about the movie theater). We posed the question: “Does anyone know why the movie theater portion closed?” and got a few responses:
Christine Herrmann: Not sure. The Van Ornams built another movie theater in Willsboro. Maybe the Essex theater was too small and/or not up to code.
Mary Wade: I agree with you Christine, I went to both theaters in my teens. Think they wanted to get more Willsboro people. I used to work part time for Mr Van Ornam in his insurance office.
Can you fill in the gaps? I vaguely remember my grandmother telling me that the post office building in Willsboro was once a movie theater. Is that correct? I wonder if there was some historical precedence for movie theaters and post offices occupying the same building or if that was just a local quirk?
The date this photo was taken must be after 1937, since that is when this building was built. So Christine’s estimate of the mid/late-1940s may be correct. What do you think?
Share what you know in the comment section below!
Share Your Essex Artifacts
If you want to share your old photos of Essex (or brochures; postcards; menus; tickets; any artifact) on the blog please email us at editor [AT] essexonlakechamplain [DOT] com.
- Vintage Photo: St. John’s Church (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Vintage Postcard: Sherwood Inn Waterfront (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Vintage Postcard: Essex Main Street Looking North (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Vintage Postcard: Essex, NY from Lake Champlain (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Vintage Postcard: Camel’s Hump (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)