One of Fort Lee's Finest
Main and Linwood, Fort Lee, NJ
Active as a studio 1913-1918
Active as a lab until 1925
When it was first built it was the biggest in town consisting of two large stages and a film processing lab. Built by Carl Willatowski of The Willat Film Manufacturing Company, "Doc" Willat, as he was known, began buying real estate in October of 1913, buying a little at a time.
Eventually "Doc" assembled this large studio at the corner of Main and Linwood. extended 444 feet up Main Street, and 648 feet paralleling Linwood, adjoinging the Eclaire Studio and forming an "L" shape around the already existing World-Peerless Studio. It was completed in 1914 and was built at a cost of about $125,000, a large sum for the time. Construction began in December of 1913 and was backed by the New York Motion Picture Company (NYMPC), Willat eventually selling his interest to NYMPC owners Adam Kessel and Charles O. Baumann.
Willat almost immediately sold his interest to Adam Kessel and Charles Bauman of the NYMPC , who already owned several large studios on both coasts. They continued to operate the lot as Willat Studios.
Beginning in 1915 William Fox rented the stages. Fox was already producing in Edendale and bought a large studio in Hollywood. His move to Fort Lee was always meant to be temporary. That same year New York Motion Picture Company also landed here for a short time.
In 1916 Triangle Film Corp. (one of the companies owned/partnered by Kessel and Bauman) moved some of their production to the studio. Triangle Film Corp. was set up in partnership with D.W. Griffith, Thomas Ince, and Mack Sennett (the three legs of the triangle), as well as showman Harry Aitken for the purpose of distributing the films of the three biggest directors of the time. This was their fourth studio. The first, in Culver City, CA (which became M-G-M), the second in Riverside, NY., and the third on Sunset in Hollywood.
After 1917 the studio fell into disrepair but the lab continued to be used by Triangle until taken over by Nicholas Kessel, Adam's brother. It was being operated by National-Evans Film Laboratories when it exploded and burned down in 1925. After that, it existed only as a shell and was never used again.