Skip to Main Content

Fremont, California: Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum

Before Hollywood, a silent film studio convenient to San Francisco produced hundreds of "Chasers." Five films starred Charlie Chaplin, who devised his Tramp character here. Museum runs silent films with live piano music every weekend.

37417 Niles Blvd., Fremont, CA
Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum. From San Francisco, take 880 South, exit at Alvarado Niles Road and head east about six miles. Between G St. and H St.
Sa-Su Noon-4 pm, Sa night silent movies. (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

Visitor Tips and News About Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum

Reports and tips from visitors and Roadside America mobile tipsters. Some tips may not be verified. Submit your own tip.

Trouble by the refreshment stand.

Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum

This past weekend the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum conducted their annual Charlie Chaplin Days event. Chaplin films ran in the museum's theater all day, and special screenings were accompanied by a live score from a pianist. There were tours by characters in period costume, games for kids, and a Chaplin lookalike contest. Chaplin shot five films here in 1915.

Charlie Chaplin Days is scheduled sometime in May or June each year, but the museum runs silent films every weekend with live piano.

[ Team, 06/06/2011]
Silent Movie Walk of Fame

The Niles district prides itself as the home of the movie making industry BEFORE Hollywood. The District used to be called Niles Station and was a busy rail junction. In the silent film days, many films were shot in Niles featuring legendary actors Ben Turpin, Fatty Arbuckle and even Charlie Chaplin. The district hosts an annual Charlie Chaplin Days celebration. You can't swing a dead cat in Niles without hitting something that resembles Chaplin. On the sidewalks around town they have painted markers noting where different movies were shot, and a Niles version of the Hollywood walk of fame, with painted stars enclosing the name of famous silent film actors.

[Kelly Doren, 03/28/1999]

The Walk of Fame, which was spray-painted, vanished when the town replaced their sidewalks.

Nearby Offbeat Places

Mini-Forest of Crate-Bound Oak TreesMini-Forest of Crate-Bound Oak Trees, Fremont, CA - < 1 mi.
Pacific Bus MuseumPacific Bus Museum, Fremont, CA - < 1 mi.
Horse-Drawn TrainHorse-Drawn Train, Fremont, CA - 4 mi.
In the region:
Cayuga Park Folk Art - Demetrio Braceros, San Francisco, CA - 27 mi.

Latest Tips Across Roadside America

Catch up on the latest discoveries from the road.

Explore Thousands of Oddball Tourist Attractions!

Unique destinations in the U.S. and Canada are our special obsession. Use our attraction recommendation and maps to plan your next road trip.

My Sights

My Sights on Roadside America

Create Your Own Bizarre Road Trips! ...Try My Sights

Mobile Apps

Roadside America app: iPhone, iPad Roadside America app for iPhone, iPad. On-route maps, 1,000s of photos, special research targets! ...More

Roadside Presidents app: iPhone, iPad Roadside Presidents app for iPhone, iPad. POTUS landmarks, oddities. ...More

California Latest Tips and Stories

Latest Visitor Tips

Sight of the Week

Sight of the Week

Cooter's Place, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee (Sep 18-24, 2023)

SotW Archive

USA and Canada Tips and Stories

More Sightings