Fairmount Theatre

17 Fairmount Avenue,
Boston, MA 02136

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The Fairmount Theatre in the Hyde Park section of Boston was opened in 1915 as a vaudeville and film neighborhood theatre. It was originally called the Everett Square Theatre and briefly the New Pixie Theatre.

During the 1950’s it was an ATC – American Theatres Company movie house. After it closed, it served as an auction house. Now, a group has taken it over, cleaned it up, and has plans to reopen it as a live theatre.

Contributed by Ron Salters

Recent comments (view all 24 comments)

HBI
HBI on February 9, 2010 at 7:48 pm

According to City of Boston building department records, the multi-use commercial building originally numbered 3-27 Fairmount Avenue (now 1-11 Fairmount) was designed by architect Harry M. Ramsay in 1914 and completed early in 1915. The cost of construction was $65,000 and the 1914 building permit notes that the building was to be used for “stores, offices, and motion picture exhibition.”

The original owner and developer was the Littlefield Trust, Walter S. Littlefield, Trustee/Manager. The Littlefield Trust’s application to the City of Boston Building Department to operate the “Everett Sq. Theatre” as a “moving picture house” was approved on April 14, 1915.

A March 23, 1915, building permit seeks permission to construct a projecting sign with “Everett Sq. Theatre” spelled out in metal pan letters and bare bulbs; a historic photo exisits of the building with this sign in place. As well, a plaster cartouche in the theatre’s proscenium arch features an intertwined “E” and “S” referring to “Everett Square.”

An August 11, 1934, building permit sought to replace the original sign and marquee. While the content of the sign was not specified, this probably corresponded to the change in the theatre’s name to the “Fairmount Theatre,” which took place by 1935. This name change was likely in reaction to the rededication of nearby Everett Square (at the intersection of Fairmount Ave. and River St.) as “Joseph A. Logan Square” in 1933. “Everett Square” became obsolete.

In spite of the emphasis in the building department records on movies, it is clear that from early on the theatre also hosted live performances, music, and events of various kinds. A combination of first-run movies, double features, and cartoons along with live actsâ€"particularly those featuring local amateur talentâ€"continued into the 1940s.

The theatre was again renamed in the late 1960s, becoming the Nu-Pixie Theatre. Apparently only used as a cinema, the Nu-Pixie operated into the 1980s.

(This building has been confused in other sources with “Everett Hall,” which was a third-floor gathering and performance space in a ca. 1875 building around the corner on Rvier St., and with the Riverside Theatre Works, which is a non-profit organization running performing arts educational programming (as well as performances) at the 1897 French’s Opera House down the block at 45 Fairmount Ave.)

The information above was uncovered as part of the work of Historic Boston Incorporated’s Historic Neighborhood Centers program, which has been working with Hyde Park Main Streets in Logan and Cleary Squares since 2008. A key project identified by the HNC program is to assist the Everett Sq. Theatre’s owner and the surrounding community with planning to rehabilitate this important Hyde Park building. Jeffrey Gonyeau, HBI

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on February 14, 2010 at 6:24 pm

Thanks to Jeffrey Gonyeau of HBI for researching and posting these details about the Fairmount Theatre.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on February 7, 2011 at 7:57 pm

In a 1918 Boston street directory, this theater, as the Everett Square Theatre, is listed at 17 Fairmont Avenue in Hyde Park. The location of French’s Opera House (now Riverside Theatre Works) at 45 Fairmont is listed as the “Masonic Block”.

danpetitpas
danpetitpas on October 13, 2011 at 7:30 am

There’s a short YouTube video of what the theater currently looks like here. And there’s a Facebook page here.

EdwardFindlay
EdwardFindlay on January 7, 2012 at 2:01 am

The theatre is in the process of trying to get restored through the efforts of Historic Boston, Inc. So far they have managed to get a recreation of the original marquee sign put in place: http://www.historicbostonblog.org/2011/11/bit-of-broadway-returns-to-hyde-park.html#more

The sign was dedicated on 1/6/12 with the mayor doing the honors. Hopefully it’s the start of a bigger preservation effort for the theatre.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on January 7, 2012 at 7:39 pm

The new sign looks great- a copy of the 1915 sign for the Everett Square Theatre, complete with working light bulbs. It’s something like the lighted sign which was on the Exeter Street Theatre in the Back Bay. Thanks to Ed Findlay for finding this link.

EdwardFindlay
EdwardFindlay on January 11, 2012 at 5:59 pm

Ron you might like this more- some shots from inside the theatre at the lighting event: http://www.boston.com/yourtown/boston/hydepark/gallery/everett_square_theatre_restoration/

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on January 12, 2012 at 7:25 pm

It’s nice to see the new sign and also the refurbished foyer. I was surprised when looking through the photos posted in the link above to see that the stage has some sort of fancy wood structures on it, something like the enclosed stage of Jordan Hall in Boston. I hope that this restoration project continues.

danpetitpas
danpetitpas on October 10, 2012 at 9:53 pm

Well, the last picture I saw of the theater interior in the 1990s, the ceiling plaster had collapsed from water damage. Looks like the owners have stabilized it, but it’s a long way off from being restored, and, quite frankly, it’s out of the way with no nearby parking in a congested neighborhood, so future use would be limited.

docsavage814
docsavage814 on February 7, 2014 at 3:37 pm

This was the movie theater that I frequented throughout my childhood and into my teens. We moved to Hyde Park in 1961 and my family rarely missed a weekend matinee. As it transitioned into the Nu Pixie Cinema in the 70’s I began attending the evening shows with my friends. This beautiful theater was a huge part of my childhood. The matinees were filled with kids from Hyde Park. They ran mostly genre films during the matinees but I especially remember the science fiction and horror film double features. I would love for them to restore the theater to its former glory. I remember that the entrance was a covered area with no doors. You would walk in and there were posters lining the walls on either side showcasing current films and the films that were coming mid-week. I believe that features ran Sunday, Monday and Tuesday with a change on Wednesdays. The ticket booth was on the right near the entrance doors. It was a rather small booth, only large enough for one person. You would walk through one set of swinging doors followed by a second set, I believe. Then you would be in the lobby proper. On the left was the concession stand and on the right on sandwich boards would be one sheets for the films that would be playing the following week. Right after the concession, the ladies room was on the left followed by the stairs that would take you up to the balcony, which was not always open. Opposite the stairs were two sets of swinging doors leading to the theater. The theater itself had three sections of seats divided by two aisles. On either side of the stage were the boxes, two on each side. These were never used as I recall although you could access them via stairs. The theater was managed/owned? by a wonderful gentleman and his wife. There were basically three melodies that played while we waited for the theater to start. They were The Lady From 29 Palms, Honeycomb and Can’t Get Use to Losing You. When the movies started we usually got a cartoon before the feature followed by a feature, an intermission, previews of coming attractions, another cartoon or short subject or a serial (Captain Video comes to mind) and the second feature. When we first starting attending I believe tickets were 25 cents for kids under 12 and 45 cents for adults. That is all that comes to mind off the top of my head. As I think of other things I will post.

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