Scollay Square Olympia Theatre
3 Tremont Row,
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Architects: Clarence H. Blackall
Previous Names: Scollay Square Theatre
The Scollay Square Olympia Theatre opened on November 17, 1913 as a vaudeville theatre. It was one of the places where Milton Berle and other vaudeville performers began their careers. Later, it switched to movies.
According to David Kruh’s book “Always Something Doing: A history of Boston’s Infamous Scollay Square”, the Scollay Square Olympia Theatre was Boston’s first building constructed with steel-reinforced concrete.
Almost all of Scollay Square, including all of its stage and movie theatres, was demolished in the early-1960’s to make way for Boston’s Government Center.
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Recent comments (view all 26 comments)
Although Warren’s photo was taken in 1943, the area was little changed in 1948-50 when I first remember it. It was sort of honky-tonk, but not dangerous. Full of sailors on weekends. Also lots of “wise guys” from the North End and West End. You expected to see the cast of “Guys and Dolls” out on the sidewalk. That kind of place.
Parts from the Scollay Square Theatre’s Wurlitzer organ are incorporated in the “Mighty Wurlitzer” now being installed in the Hanover Theatre in Worcester.
Interesting website about Scollay Square. I remember it as a young kid in the early to mid-1960’s, before the new Boston City Hall was put in. That was sort of the tail end of the “old” Scollay Square.
The West End was a cool place, before it got bulldozed out of existence. The theatre looked cool.
In a 1918 Boston street directory, the Scollay Square Olympia Theatre is listed at 4 Tremont Row. At 3 Tremont Row were offices for the Scollay Square Olympia Company, Gordan Brothers Amusement company, and Olympic Theatres, Inc. At 5 Tremont Row was the Star Theatre.
I assume this is the same theatre taken what looks like after closing but before demolition: View link
Side view from Pemberton Square taken in the mid 50s: View link
And yet another of the theatre from the same 50s era: View link
The map doesn’t really show this in the correct location. There is no longer a street called Tremont Row, so to be accurate the map should probably show the Center Plaza building.
Yes, it was located at about the far-right north end of the Center Plaza building.
I found this page through the Fallout wiki (because the exterior was used for one of the locations in Fallout 4, fyi) and I just noticed whose name is on the marquee— Buck Jones was killed in the devastating Cocoanut Grove fire in Boston in December 1942. The movie on the marquee, The Flying Buckaroo, came out in 1926, but it would make sense for them to be playing it in 1943 in tribute.