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Midwood's Historic Vitagraph Studios Gets Wrecking Ball

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[Photo via © Frank H. Jump/Fading Ad Blog]

Vitagraph Studios—the historic Brooklyn film studio that dates back to the silent era—will soon be no more.

Despite a valiant preservation effort led by various neighborhood groups in Midwood and film and history buffs alike, the complex that served as the epicenter of Brooklyn's early film production industry is in the process of being torn down. Beginning on April 13, initial preparations took place; a day later, the Avenue M building was gutted, according to Untapped Cities.

[Photos by Ellen Levitt for Untapped Cities]

Vitagraph Studios was one of the first film production companies in America when it began in 1897, pioneering the art form under the leadership of J. Stuart Blackton and Albert E. Smith. At its peak, the company was producing up to eight films a week on the Brooklyn lot. The complex that is currently being demolished is the neighboring Warner Bros. sound stage, which was built in 1925 when the company bought Vitagraph.

There are still no concrete plans for the iconic smokestack that was once part of a small power plant on the site. Back in 2012, the Landmarks Preservation Commission ruled that the structure "lacked architectural merit" and declined to grant landmarks designation.

The site was formerly owned and occupied by the Shulamith School for Girls and was recently sold for $20 million.
· Vitagraph Studios, An Early Pioneer of the Film Industry, Is Being Demolished in Midwood Brooklyn [UTC]
· Save the Smokestack [FB]
· Previous Shulamith School for Girls coverage [Curbed]