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In the book about vaudeville: “No applause, just throw money,” the Columbia is mentioned as a ‘tryout’ theatre for vaudeville. People trying to break in to the business would go there to break in their acts. Apparently, such theatres were very rough on performers – the audience was ready to boo them off the stage, and the managers would run them off before they finished their acts.
Ron Salters – I just found this on a Roslindale Historical Society web page: “There was Rand’s Corner, and then there was the library where the Rialto Theatre is now, but that was moved, that was only a wooden structure. And there was also a movie place where we watched silent movies.” This silent movie house must have been the one at 4255 Washington street. The building was one in from Corinth street, but there’s no mention of a theatre on the fire insurance map. Perhaps just a small hall used for showing silents.
I just noticed in an online source that the Eagle was designed by Clarence Blackall.
That theatrical guide cited above was from 1913-14.
The Julius Cahn-Gus Hill Theatrical Guide says H.F. Wasserman, Mgr., Plays Loew vaudeville only, seating capacity 450 floor, 350 balcony, electric lights and A.C., Stage P.O. 24x38 ft., F. to B. W. 14 ft.; 4 dressing rooms.
Switching between a 1915 map and a satellite view does seem to verify that the building with the white panel above the entrance in Google View above is the same building.
Added a photo. The movie on the marquee was released in 1950.
The Apollo first shows up on a 1917 map. The building was owned by Arthur Stameris.
The Cobb shows up on a 1917 map. In a 1928 map, it’s Cobb Theatre, Apollo Theatres Inc. In 1938, both the Cobb and the Apollo up the street are owned by John A. Henes.
The Hub is listed as the Williams Market in 1873. It was owned or run by the Kittredge family – one of whom lived on Fort Hill in Roxbury – they’re restoring the house now. In 1883, it’s the Windsor Theatre, Williams Market, Proprietors. In 1902, it’s the Grand Theatre, prop. Williams Market. 1908, Hub Theatre, 1917, no theatre name on the property. So it seems as if it was either both a theatre and a market, or else the ‘Williams Market’ name was just the landlord’s DBA.
The Boston Globe – Boston.com – is running a slide show feature of South Station today (12/24/12). It says that the theatre closed and was replaced by a chapel in 1945. The chapel had daily and Sunday services until 1972.
I just added a fire insurance map that shows the location of the building.
Also from King’s book: in 1958, Sarah Caldwell, director of the Boston Opera Group, moved in to the refurbished Fine Arts, then the Little Opera House.
From The Theatres of Boston, by Donald C. King:
In October, 1922, the 656 seat Fine Arts Theatre opened as an upstairs house that was part of the uptown Loew’s State Theatre building with an ‘around the corner’ entrance. It had a small be fully equipped stage, planned as a rehearsal stage. It was Boston’s first art film house, opening with a British import."
Hedda Gabbler opened Oct 22, 1922, put on by the Henry Jewett company. Mr Jewett had run a company at the Toy/Copley sq. theatre in the late teens.
According to The Theatres of Boston, by Donald C. King, the Lancaster opened Feb., 1917.
The Castle Square was built in 1894, adding a rectangular stage on to the round cyclorama that had previously been used as a riding academy,
I looked in the Boston Globe archive, and found some info on the Toy. It was founded in 1911 on Lime st, between Mt Vernon and Chestnut, at the bottom of Beacon Hill in an old stable. There are photo of both the interior and exterior in two articles. It was an amateur theatrical group that put on plays that had not been professionally produced in Boston. In Jan, 1913, Mayor Curley censored the play “Across the Border” when he got complaints about cursing, although he allowed it to go on when he removed on line.
The new theatre was built in 1914, and got a big write-up as well. A 1937 article gets the move date wrong, but says the name changed to the Copley after the move, and was run by both Jewett and Clive. In 1937, it was refurbished as the Shubert Copley.
Ron – thanks for that clarification. The entrance was at the corner of Dartmouth and Stuart sts. The entrance led back the full depth of that row of buildings to the theater proper, which was set back quite a bit from Dartmouth st.
This is a tough audience. Now you know what it looked like.
I just added a photo from the BPL archive. A one act G.B. Shaw play was being presented at the time.
I just added a photo of an old post card, which shows the name Horatio on the marquee.
I searched Waldron Arkansas, and this theatre didn’t come up. I had to do a Google search before I found this page. Strange. Anyway, I’m adding a photo of a postcard from the Boston Public Library online collection.
Ron – you left out the Jamaica Theatre, which was on Centre st. quite near Perkins street. It is represented here.
I uploaded an enlarged section of a photo that shows the Strand marquee.
I added a from 1928 map to the Photo section that shows the State, the Fine Arts and the ballroom.
This photo comes from the book Boston in Motion,from the Images of America series. The camera is at Hanover and Court sts. looking across and down the square. It’s dated Nov. 28, 1912. I believe you can see the Theatre Comique just up the street – note the arch on the front of the building. To answer the puzzle above – it says “Admission 10 (cents sign).”