Constructed in the Neo-Renaissance style, the structure was built in 1879, and transformed into a hotel in 1890. In 1891, it housed the Gaiety Museum and Theatorium, a popular Victorian-era curios showcase. In May 1896, it starting housing the Palace Theatre, and on June 27 showed the first movies in North America, making it the first cinema in North America. The cinema system used a projector system developed by the Lumiere brothers, the cinématographe, and had a screen the size of a towel. The first films shown were of a train, a ship, a cavalry charge, and demolishing a wall. The show continued for two months, and were presented by Louis Minier and his assistant Louis Pupier. In September 1896, continuous showings with the cinematographe lumiere started.