Capitol Theatre

422-32 Union Street,
Lynn, MA 01901

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Central Square Theater circa 1912

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Central Square Theatre was located in Central Square at the very end of the downtown area (Union Street ended at Central Square) under the railway tracks. It opened December 29, 1910, and was renamed Capitol Theatre in 1920.

While the Paramount Theatre and Warner Theatre in town were grand and more upscale, the Capitol Theatre was on the ‘sleazy’ side under the tracks. The Capitol Theatre was the smallest and least esthetically pleasing to look at of the three theatres.

Contributed by Jim Powers, Christina Mixson

Recent comments (view all 10 comments)

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on May 1, 2006 at 8:03 am

The MGM Theatre Photograph and Report form for the Capitol on Union St. in Lynn has a facade photo taken in May 1941. There is an elaborate marquee under an equally-elaborate arch. The attractions are a movie, “So You Won’t Talk”, plus a stage show. The Report states that the theatre is not a MGM customer; that it’s over 15 years old; that it’s in Fair condition; and has 650 seats on the orchestra floor and 600 in the balcony, total: 1250 seats. Competing theaters in Lynn are listed as the Paramount and the Warner. The 1940 population of Lynn is given as 98,100.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on February 10, 2007 at 7:04 am

The 1942-43 edition of the Motion Picture Almanac lists the Capitol in Lynn, as well as the Lynn Open Air Theatre, as being operated by the E.M. Loew theatre circuit.

barrygoodkin on September 2, 2007 at 9:57 am

According to information from the Lynn Public Library the Capitol opened in 1912 as the Central Square and became the Capitol in 1920. It was the last theatre operating in Lynn in March 1972. It was operated by E. M. Loew at that time.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on February 17, 2009 at 11:04 am

The photo on the MGM Report, taken in 1941, is a tight shot of the entrance and marquee. Lost’s photo, posted above on Feb 16, shows more of the facade. But it is almost certainly the same theater. In 1941, there was a very elaborate marquee which was mounted only over the entrance and under the arch. There was also very fancy stained glass within the arch.

JonMontgomery on January 7, 2010 at 12:20 am

Went to the Capitol many times as a kid in the late 50’s and early 60’s. My mom would drop us off and pick us up after the movies were over. The theater was old looking inside with lightbulbs everywhere but always well kept and painted. It was almost under the huge B & M railroad trestle and station so when a train came over, it made the theater vibrate. I remember when I was older it became an X-rated movie house.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on November 13, 2010 at 11:07 am

The Capitol in Lynn is listed in the 1927 Film Daily Yearbook as having 1,100 seats and open daily.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 10, 2011 at 6:22 am

The March 23, 1910, issue of The American Architect had the following item datelined Lynn: “Plans have been prepared by Architect E. W. Maynard, 1226 Tremont St., Boston, for erection of proposed Central Square Theater.”

unomyname on February 10, 2014 at 2:39 pm

My favorite memory of this theater was going to see The Beatles in “A Hard Day’s Night"in 1964. The cost of a movie then was between 35 and 50 cents. "A Hard Day’s Night” was a whopping $1.00. The line to get in went around the block. We entered the theater and took our seats. As soon as the lights went down and just before the movie started, all the girls in the theater started screaming in anticipation……. Beatlemania!!

pnelson on June 11, 2015 at 7:39 pm

Exterior pic shows it to be quite elaborate and stylish.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 11, 2015 at 9:39 pm

The vaudeville program at the Central Square Theatre in Lynn starting October 23 had done good business, according to an item in the October 28, 1911, issue of The New York Clipper.

An item from an issue of The Moving Picture World earlier that year (which I’ve been unable to date exactly) had said that the Central Square Theatre had opened on December 29. A late 1910 opening matches up nicely with the item in The American Architect of March 3, 1910, which said that plans for the proposed Central Square Theatre in Lynn had been prepared by Boston architect E. W. Maynard.

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