• Then
  • Then
Frank Armstrong passes away and leaves a sizeable estate to his daughter, Lillian L Ashmun, who eventually specialized in commercial real estate development.

Lillian L. Ashmun purchases property 227–275 Fairfield Avenue from Thomas Taylor and hires architect, Ernest G. Southey to design a 3-story commercial building to include an opera house, a two story ball room and retail store. Ernest G. Southey designs an interesting and intricate Spanish style brick and mosaic façade. However, during construction the opera house was converted into a movie house in response to the growing popularity of silent films at that time.

Daniel J. Quilty, master dance instructor, conducted his College of Dancing within the two-story ball room, teaching waltz, polka, tap and ballet, until his death in 1950.

Peter Dawe, who was born in England in 1862, came to New York in 1884 and moved to Bridgeport in 1886. He leased, operated and eventually purchased The Bijou Theatre. He is officially listed in the City of Bridgeport directory as proprietor in 1912. Prior to owning the Theatre, Peter Dawe was a painting contractor and operated a decorating business.

Advertisement appeared The Bridgeport Post for the new Bijou Theatre, “High Class Vaudeville and Pictures, Three Shows Daily, Sat. and Holidays 4 shows. 2:30 afternoon, 7:30 and 8:50 Evenings. 600 seats for Ladies and Children, Matinees 5c. Nights Everybody 10c. Box Seats 20c.”
On a Saturday, a fire broke out in the Bijou's projection booth. 13 people were injured, 7 with serious burns. It was a miracle that no one died either by burns, exposure to toxic fumes, or by being trampled in the panic that resulted after an usher opened a fire shutter.

Athan G. Prakas, a Greek immigrant, operates the luncheonette and confectionary shop on Fairfield Avenue. He develops a spark for Helen, the piano player for silent films, at the Bijou Theatre. He woos Helen, by delivering lunch and ice cream, whenever she was working. Athan and Helen marry, he purchases the Bijou building, operates the theatre and changes its name to the Rivoli.
George Crist, married to Olympia, daughter of Athan G. Prakas, takes over managing the theatre for the next 46 yrs.
The Rivoli became known as Studio Cinema.
Theatre is vacant.

Phil Kuchma purchases the theatre building as part of his Bijou Square development.