Franklin Park Theatre

616 Blue Hill Avenue,
Dorchester, MA 02124

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Another of the 30+ theatres operated by Boston movie pioneer Jacob Lourie and his partners, including Sam Pinanski (later to head ATC Theatres). Opened in pre-1920s. Currently is a church on Blue Hill Avenue at Ellington Street. This was originally built as a Yiddish theatre. Lourie was the original president of New England Theatres Operating Company (NETOCO).

Contributed by John Toto

Recent comments (view all 28 comments)

mcrichton on April 2, 2009 at 3:56 am

anyone remember CHARLE the door man at Franklin Park Theatre

DRADor on March 12, 2010 at 8:04 pm

Just rediscovered this site after several years. Thanks to you & Ron for the info about the Magnet Theater. While I remember going there, the name doesn’t ring a bell, but it was soooo long ago.
Do you still live in Cape Coral? I’ve been in Ft. Myers since ‘04. If you’d like to talk more about Dorchester, please contact me at

spectrum on November 14, 2010 at 6:41 pm

Well, in November 2010, they are listed in the on-line yellow pages at 616 Blue Hills Avenue, the address of the former theatre. I hope this means they have been able to repair the damage and move back.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on February 15, 2011 at 11:33 am

In a 1918 Boston street directory, the Franklin Park Theatre is listed at 618 Blue Hill Avenue, east side of street, south of Columbia Road.

EdwardFindlay on March 7, 2011 at 5:13 pm

I went by the theater today to take some photos, and thankfully it’s still standing and still looks great on the outside. There is clearly some fire damage around the old fire escape doors and vent but it looked great for what happened to it.

The old painted sign on the wall facing Columbia Road is still intact. “Franklin Park Theatre” and “Vaudeville” are faint but legible, amazing considering their decades of exposure.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 6, 2011 at 1:29 am

This theater is currently classified as Gothic Revival in style, but the round arch, dentilated cornice, fanlights in the doors and all are Classical elements. Was the interior Gothic? Funk & Wilcox usually favored the Adamesque or Italian Renaissance styles for theater interiors during this period.

The Franklin Park’s facade is very similar to that of the Strand Theatre in Columbia Street, which was also designed by Funk & Wilcox, and has the same sort of “triumphal arch” entrance. In fact, of the five Funk & Wilcox houses for which Cinema Treasures has either photos or street views available, all have designs firmly rooted in Classicism.

esymkus on May 14, 2012 at 7:00 pm

I was just talking with a friend about the Franklin Park a couple of days ago. It was two blocks from our home on Walcott St. I started going to Saturday matinees with my friends when I was almost 7. Films I saw there: “Invaders From Mars,” “The Mysterians,” “Not of This Earth,” “The 7th Voyage of Sinbad,” “It Came from Beneath the Sea,” “Old Yeller,” “The Ten Commandments,” “Tammy and the Bachelor.” It’s also where I was introduced to Jujubes.

jaboschen on June 2, 2012 at 8:55 pm

The Boston Archives has a terrific photograph of the Franklin Park theater and Blue Hill Avenue, during the late 1940’s uploaded on their flickr page.

PS-Be sure to check out that cupola on the theater!

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 2, 2012 at 9:44 pm

The photo (quick link) jacobschen found gives a clue as to why someone might have misremembered the Franklin Park Theatre as having been Gothic in style. The building next door, where Park Playland was located, had loads of Gothic ornament, and the open cupola that once graced the theater, though entirely Classical in detail, had all those finials that echoed the Gothic finials on the neighboring building. It’s too bad that the cupola has been truncated. It added a bit of playful spectacle to the block.

DRADor on June 3, 2012 at 5:58 pm

Thank you jaboschen & Joe Vogel for that great picture. I didn’t remember the Playland next door, but do remember it later as a lighting/electrical store.

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