The Studios of
Chicago and Philadelphia
and other studios in the Midwest and the Rust Belt
In the early days of movie making, before there was Hollywood, Fort Lee or Edendale, the industry was spread across the Country. Chicago, as the country's second biggest city, was the second biggest film center, after New York. Chicago had several of the largest companies of the day, while Philadelphia's biggest movie mogul had several studios scattered across the state.
Many of the original, large movie studios were based in Chicago. Those include Selig Polyscope, Essanay, and American Film, as well as early movie lab and documentary film maker, Rothacker. Read more at Chicagology.com
Philadelphia, on the other hand, was the home of the early movie industry's biggest studio, Lubin Manufacturing Co., who had 3 studios in Pennsylvania and eventually moved to California. As well there were several small studios in and around Philadelphia. There were also many smaller companies that worked out of the Midwest and Rust Belt whose histories are lost to time.
The Midwest and the Rustbelt were rich in their movie heritage. Their history is a little hard to find and document.