Nestled away in a quaint area of Fremont, California, is where you find the Niles District. This unique area is home to an abundance of stores selling antiques, collectable and handmade goods, as well as an abundance of interesting sites, one of which is the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum. This is a must-visit if you are in the area, whether you are a fan of old movies or not (If you enjoyed The Artist, it’s a must visit!). The museum offers a unique experience; you can’t help but appreciate a simpler time while you are there.
The reason why this museum is so special not only to California, but all of America, is because it is not simply a building where old artifacts have been placed on display. The Essanay Film Company played a significant role in movie production. The train carried in 52 members of the Essanay Film Company into Niles on 1 April 1912, and the area would never be the same again.
Broncho Billy Anderson founded Essanay Studios alongside George Kirke Spoor. He acted in more than 300 films with 148 of them being silent western shorts. Due to the landscape in Alameda County, and the Western Pacific Railroad running through Niles Canyon, this area offered the ideal environment for western movies. Anderson and Spoor began making films in 1907, so by the time the massive film crew arrived in 1912, they had already made more than 200 films, and had created quite a name for them! [Read more…]