A friend, his daughter & i visited Niles, California, in the South Bay at the foothills by Fremont & Union City. It's a place with a rich cultural history -- the first capitol of the silent film era where Charlie Chaplin helped establish the West Coast satellite of Chicago's Essenay Film Studios before Hollywood became Tinsel Town. It's chock-a-block with Antique stores and a great many stories to tell.
The heyday only lasted from 1912 through the early 1920s for this small and intense town but made Movie History and launched the careers of not only Chaplin -- The Tramp was filmed here in 1915 -- but also the first cowboy film star, 'Bronco Billy' Anderson; leading lady Edna Purviance; cinematographer Rollie Totheroh, among many of cinema's first wave of actors and innovative technicians.
The Essenay Silent Film Museum and Cinema stills shows rare films each Saturday night in this petit Entertainment Capitol an railroad terminus where Niles Canyon meets San Francisco Bay.