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In its 170 years, the building which now houses the Bijou Theater and the Bistro Restaurant, has changed every few years to match its environment. The corner of Gay Street and Cumberland Avenue has been the site of: a general store, a fashionable tavern, the grandest hotel in the South, a flop house, a vaudeville theater, a used car lot and fruit stand, a flicker house where the early efforts of film pioneers such as D. W. Griffith and Cecil B. Demille were first seen, and a legitimate theater where Ethel Barrymore, George M. Cohan, Tallulah Bankhead, and the Marx Brothers have performed. The Bijou in its various incarnations, has been commercially active since 1817 and is Knoxville's fourth oldest building (third on its original foundation) predated only by James White's Home, Blount Mansion, and the James Park House. In 1975, the property was added to the National Register of Historic Places.