Franklin Park Theatre

616 Blue Hill Avenue,
Dorchester, MA 02124

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Showing 1 - 25 of 33 comments

RickB on March 30, 2018 at 7:22 pm

The FCC paid the theater a visit the other day; seems it had been serving as the transmitter site for a pirate radio station.

Matt Lambros
Matt Lambros on March 24, 2017 at 7:44 am

The Franklin Park is one of the 24 theaters in my new book, “After the Final Curtain: The Fall of the American Movie Theater,” which is available on Amazon or your local bookstore

Patsy on October 15, 2014 at 8:24 am

Such a shame the boxes were removed by the church.

Patsy on October 15, 2014 at 8:23 am

Matt: Please post an exterior photo.

Matt Lambros
Matt Lambros on October 8, 2014 at 9:38 am

I recently photographed the Franklin Park Theatre – Check out the post at: After the Final Curtain

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

mcrichton on April 2, 2009 at 3:56 am

anyone remember CHARLE the door man at Franklin Park Theatre

mcrichton on March 27, 2009 at 11:25 am

My name is Marty Crichton and i grew up at the Franklin Park Theatre.
My farther Charlie worked there as a doorman. I would like to hear from anyone who remebers him or myself.

spectrum on February 26, 2009 at 6:18 am

More info: Boston Herald has related articles that you can link to from the one above (links on right). One of them:

View link

has a good photo from the back of the auditorium showing ceiling to be intact. The sunlight I referred to in my previous post may simply be from the media lighting. Fire officials are suspecting arson.

I certainly hope the insurance settlement is generous so they can restore this wonderful place.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on February 26, 2009 at 6:15 am

One of the newspaper articles said that this was first called the Pilgrim Theatre, something I’d never heard anywhere else. Does anyone know if this is accurate?

spectrum on February 26, 2009 at 6:11 am

The Boston Globe article (linked above) has a better picture shoring the roscenium and left side wall. It is definitely restorable – the decorative plasterwork is singed, but largely intact, although sunlight is clearly coming in through the parts of the roof that collapsed.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on February 23, 2009 at 7:22 am

The Boston Fire Department now says this fire started in multiple locations and was deliberately set.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on February 22, 2009 at 8:17 am

The Boston Sunday Herald today has an article about the fire written by Laura Crimaldi which twice refers to “the Web site” There is a photo taken inside yesterday which shows the stepped boxes on the right auditorium wall. The interior was damaged by the fire but not destroyed. The congregation will meet next door at 618 Blue Hill Avenue where the church kitchen is located. They are awaiting word from their insurer before making plans “about the site’s future”. This article, on page 2, also quotes the Boston Fire Dept. spokesman as estimating the damage at $250K. There was a choir rehearsal in the church which ended about 8PM on Friday night, and the fire alarm was struck at 120AM on Saturday morning.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on February 21, 2009 at 8:30 pm

A longer Boston Globe article on the fire. $250,000 in damage, ouch.

The article says that in the 1960s, the theatre was called the Robert Gould Shaw House, “hosting theater productions and big name performers such as Ike and Tina Turner.”

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on February 21, 2009 at 8:57 am

The former Franklin Park Theatre, now home to New Fellowship Baptist Church, was seriously damaged in a 5-alarm fire early this morning.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on August 23, 2008 at 7:13 pm

The old painted FRANKLIN PARK THEATRE signs, though faded, are still quite visible and readable on this building.