Photo: Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum

Two local historic spots are in the running for $25,000 from the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

They’re among the 100 sites around the U.S. competing in a competition on the organization’s web site. The national contest includes country stores, an elevator and even the Houston Astrodome. The two Bay Area entrants happen to be old arts institutions.

In 17th place right now is the Niles Essany Silent Film Museum, in the Niles section of Fremont. From the National Trust site:

Once there were 15,000 of them. Now there are very few. There is one in Niles, California (by San Jose) that is carrying on just as it did when it opened 98 years ago in 1913. The Niles Edison theater is the only venue in the country that still regularly shows early movies with live musical accompaniment every week. With over 8,000 titles in its vault and with loans from all over this country and abroad, the Edison is keeping the roots of this influential heritage alive.

You can vote for the museum here.

Photo: Bayview Opera House

Not far behind is the Bayview Opera House, another historic site with a modern day mission, in Bayview/Hunters Point.

The Bayview Opera House is the cultural and physical “town center” for the BVHP community. We place a strong emphasis on youth arts education, but also present many cultural events for the whole family, as many local residents don’t get “downtown” to the symphony, ballet, theatre, etc.

You can vote for the opera house here.

The only other California entrant on the list is the Chinese Historical Society of Southern California in Riverside.

The voting started on June 1 and votes have to be cast by THIS THURSDAY, JUNE 30.

Fremont Silent Film Museum, Bayview Opera in Nat’l Trust for Historic Preservation Contest 27 June,2011Rachel Dornhelm


Rachel Dornhelm

Rachel Dornhelm has worked as a reporter, editor and producer in public radio for the last twelve years. She got her start in New York City at WNYC and went on to work with the national business program Marketplace, WBUR’s “On Point” and KQED News in San Francisco. Her work has been honored by the LA Press Club and the SF-Peninsula Press Club.

Rachel has a BA with honors in anthropology from Rice University and did graduate work at NYU.

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