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Walking in Charlie Chaplin's Footsteps


[caption id="attachment_626" align="aligncenter" width="400" caption="This is how I felt when I heard it was going to rain on Flea Market day. If I had a dog, he's be sad too, I'm sure"][/caption]

I planned on going to the Alameda Flea Market on Sunday- that is- until I heard it was going to rain. The Flea Market is open year 'round but I've gone on rainy days thinking I'd score bargains. But, very few vendors brought their goods out on that wet day. Of course, it makes perfect sense now.

So, I jumped online to see what other cool vintage-y thing I could do instead. And right away I found this little surprise!

[caption id="attachment_625" align="aligncenter" width="400" caption="Annual Charlie Chaplin Days in Niles- a well-preserved little district of in Fremont California"][/caption]

Turns out, Charlie Chaplin lived in this tiny district of Fremont, California- just 30 minutes away from me- for a few short months in 1914 while he filmed 5 movies including his most famous, The Tramp! I had to check it out. So I grabbed my Flea Market partner, Dave, and headed to Niles Canyon.

[caption id="attachment_627" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="We started at The Nile Coffee Shop..."][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_628" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Get it- the NILE coffee shop?- bah duh dum"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_629" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Then Charlie Chaplin's ornery cop jumped out of the movies and came after me- I think I'm in trouble!"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_630" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption=" So, we ran to the Niles train station for a ride back in time"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_631" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="This little station was once part of the Transcontinental Railroad!"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_676" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Then we headed to the Essanay Theater where they played Charlie Chaplin movies all day for 50¢ each!"][/caption]

Niles Canyon was the perfect place to film the early silent western movies. The Essenay Theater was build in 1913 by George Spoor and Gilbert M. Anderson, movie moguls of the time who paid Charlie Chaplin $1,250 per week. Most movie starts made about $150-$250 per week. Charlie also received a $10,000 signing bonus and bought a house in Hollywood. At the time, no one in Niles was sad to see him go. Apparently he was a little too mischievous for this quiet little town.

[caption id="attachment_632" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="I didn't notice I was actually sticking my head in a bean bag toss game- Dave's expression says it all"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_633" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="That's better.... I think"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_634" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="After the movie we hit the antique shops. The Iron Dog Antiques was my favorite. It's a darling shop with good prices and an adorable mix of pieces perfect for both vintage and steampunk decor"]

Niles Canyon was the perfect place to film the early silent western movies. The Essenay Theater was build in 1913 by George Spoor and Gilbert M. Anderson, movie moguls of the time who paid Charlie Chaplin some $1,250 per week. Most movie starts made about $150-$250 per week. Charlie also received a $10,000 signing bonus and bought a house in Hollywood.
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[caption id="attachment_636" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Charlie Chaplin memorabilia dotted every shop- this was one of my favorite displays"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_638" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Don's Antique Auto Parts is packed to the gills with carborators, steering wheels, and everything else you can imagine for your old auto project"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_639" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="I think this was Dave's favorite stop!"][/caption]

This was a special event, but you can head over to Niles anytime for silent movies, charming antique shops, and fun for this kids on the restored train car. Trains do still leave from the stop, so check out their mini tours and other old fashioned fun stuff. I have a feeling this is a great place to visit at Christmas time...


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