In 1914, Theodore Wharton and his brother Leopold opened Wharton Inc., a silent film studio in Ithaca, NY. Between 1914 and 1919, the studio produced over a 100 different short and feature length movies. The majority of the films were action-adventure and comedy serials, featuring stars such as Pearl White, Oliver Hardy, Irene Castle, and Lionel Barrymore. The Wharton Brothers also utilized Ithaca storefronts and the majestic gorges and waterfalls of Tompkins County as the backdrops to many of their films. Sadly, the studio fell into tough financial straits and had to close its doors in 1919.
Today, the Ithaca Motion Picture Project has plans to convert the former Wharton studio building, which still stands in Stewart Park, into a museum. Boarding Cayuga Lake, Stewart Park offers visitors a number of different amenities and is an ideal jumping off point from which to explore the Cayuga Waterfront Trail.
Here in Ithaca, the Wharton studio building in Stewart Park stands as a silent reminder of the area’s rich history, and is another essential stop on New York’s Path Through History.
Photos Courtesy of:
The History Center of Tompkins County
Ithaca Motion Picture Project