How ‘New Blood’ Brought Beverly’s Historic Movie Palace Back To Life

posted by ThrHistoricalSociety on April 1, 2016 at 9:39 pm


Great news from our friends in Beverly, Massachusetts and Boston NPR: “Once there were more than 20,000 grand movie palaces in the United States. Think the Coolidge Corner Theatre in Brookline, the Somerville Theatre, the Strand Theatre in Dorchester.

Today, though, the National Trust for Historic Preservation estimates only about 250 survive. The Cabot Theatre in Beverly is one of them.

Not too long ago it seemed to be on the verge of joining the list of lost classic movie houses. But the community here banded together to save the Cabot for 21st century audiences.

In its heyday, Kevin O’Connor says the Ware Theater — as the Cabot was then called — brought vaudeville acts and silent movies to Beverly.

He takes me up to the balcony for a fuller view and demonstrates some quirky ways the sound moves around inside the historic structure.

O’Connor claps his hands a few times. “Hello. Hello,” he says. “Great acoustics in an old theater. They don’t build them like this anymore.”

Two brothers with the last name Ware built the Cabot in 1920 using the same architects who designed the Strand in Boston’s Dorchester.

“We are looking down on what I would consider to be a majestic stage,” says O’Connor, who hosts the PBS renovation show “This Old House.”

Read the Boston NPR article here:

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ABOUT THEATRE HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA: Founded by Ben Hall in 1969, the Theatre Historical Society of America (THS) celebrates, documents and promotes the architectural, cultural and social relevance of America’s historic theatres. Through its preservation of the collections in the American Theatre Architecture Archive, its signature publication Marquee™ and Conclave Theatre Tour, THS increases awareness, appreciation and scholarly study of America’s theatres.

Learn more about historic theatres in the THS American Theatre Architecture Archives and on our website at

Images: The Ware Theater Courtesy of the Beverly Historical Society & Museum and Boston NPR, Cabot interior courtesy of the Cabot and Boston NPR


Comments (1)

MPol on April 7, 2016 at 7:29 pm

It’s heartening to learn about the recent restoration of more old Classic movie theatres that show classic films. It’s a good omen…and a real good step in the right direction, if one gets the drift.

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