Fairmount Theatre

17 Fairmount Avenue,
Boston, MA 02136

Unfavorite 3 people favorited this theater

Showing 24 comments

docsavage814
docsavage814 on February 7, 2014 at 7:37 am

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.

danpetitpas
danpetitpas on October 10, 2012 at 1:53 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.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on January 12, 2012 at 11:25 am

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.

EdwardFindlay
EdwardFindlay on January 11, 2012 at 9:59 am

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 7, 2012 at 11:39 am

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 6, 2012 at 6:01 pm

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.

danpetitpas
danpetitpas on October 12, 2011 at 11:30 pm

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

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on February 7, 2011 at 11:57 am

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”.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on February 14, 2010 at 10:24 am

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

HBI
HBI on February 9, 2010 at 11:48 am

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

MPol
MPol on December 17, 2009 at 9:50 pm

That would be so cool to have the Fairmount Theatre restored as a movie theatre. If that be the case, here’s hoping that they don’t play the same sort of schlocky films that most movie theatres these days play, but a mixture of Classic films, independent films, etc.

robertlasala
robertlasala on December 17, 2009 at 6:29 pm

To Ron Salters: you’re right, Who ever Everett was, back in the day he was somebody prominent. We’ve got an Everett street,again back in the day an Everett School,an Everett building. The square is now called Logan. Current owners have had big plans to restore this theater. God bless them for hanging on. The best years of my movie life were in this theater.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on December 17, 2009 at 10:46 am

I think that an intersection near the theater is/was called “Everett Square”.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on December 16, 2009 at 10:46 am

Why was it ever called the Everett Square theatre since it is not in Everett?

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on December 16, 2009 at 10:40 am

Bob- the photo of the Premier Performance Theater which was posted above last June 11th is dated in 1983, so it would have been closed sometime after that, if the date on the photo is accurate. I’m not from Hyde Park so I didn’t know about the bridge closing for repairs.

robertlasala
robertlasala on December 15, 2009 at 3:23 pm

Ron: Not sure of exact date we closed down, will do some research. I have a ton of stuff relating to that theater. I just assumed you were from the Hyde Park area. The Fairmount Bridge closed for repairs for a year or so and that cut off traffic to that end of Fairmount Ave.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on December 15, 2009 at 11:14 am

to Bob La Sala- do you recall approximately when you closed down your Premier Performance operation? Also, what are you referring to when you say “…and then the bridge closed..” ?

robertlasala
robertlasala on December 15, 2009 at 6:34 am

Just found this site by mistake…It’s funny I just dusted off my reel to reel and listened to one of many rock concerts I recorded at the Pixie, the first was September of 1978. I first started working there in the mid 70’s, by 79 I was the manager and then the whole building got sold. New owner had no experience running a theater. Myself and the projectionist took the theater over (premier performance) We did live shows with Riverside. A labor of love, with friends and family helping out. No money for salaries and the landlord even waived the rent to keep it open. Couldn’t make ends meet and then the bridge closed…It was over then.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on September 18, 2009 at 10:51 am

danpetitpas – I had an idea that lack of $$$ was behind the end of refurbishing activity inside this theater circa-2004. Regarding what happened to all the entries on this Page, see the last sentence of the first posting above. There was a glitch here in CT that affected at least 10 to 15 or more theater pages, resulting in all postings being deleted. No one knew why. That has not happened in a while, that I know of.

danpetitpas
danpetitpas on September 13, 2009 at 12:15 am

In the ‘60s and early '70s this theater was known as the Nu Pixie Cinema and then the Pixie. During the late '70s and early '80s, it was rented out as practice space for bands. There use to be a lot more entries talking about it including links to some pictures of its deteriorating interior. All those entries seem to be gone now.

From what I can remember, the plaster roof collapsed from water damage in the ‘90s and the current owners would like to fix it up, but the cost is going to be more than $1 million. The owners were trying to find some grants to help pay for it, but chances are slim that the theater could attract audiences to make any kind of use work.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on July 22, 2009 at 10:53 am

I looked at the Google Street View for Fairmount Ave. in Hyde Park, at both #17, the Fairmount Theater, and #45, the Riverside Theatre Works. The Fairmount Th. building is definitely still standing, but there is no activity and no signage at the theatre’s entrance.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on July 5, 2009 at 10:46 am

That is definitely the Fairmount Th.; the marquee in 1983 was actually wider than the one on the theater in 1941. I never heard of the “Premier Performance Theatre” or its usage in 1983— I wonder if this was a short-lived endeavor?

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on June 11, 2009 at 10:29 pm

This appears to be a photo of the Fairmount from August or September 1983, when it was apparently renamed ‘Premier Performance Theatre’. The marquee advertises both an upcoming live stage show (Deathtrap) and a movie double-feature (The Warriors and Flashdance).

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on October 22, 2006 at 7:56 am

The Boston Globe of November 2, 2003 had a feature article with 2 color interior photos of the restoration project at the Fairmount. What has happened at this theatre in the 3 years since the article appeared? Nearby is another old theatre, French’s Opera House at 45 Fairmount Avenue, home of the Riverside Theatre Works. The Fairmount was included in the MGM Theatre Photograph and Report project. There is an exterior photo taken in April 1941. The Report states that the theatre has been a MGM customer for over 10 years; that it’s over 15 years old and in Fair condition, and has 530 orchestra seats, 250 balcony seats and 16 loge seats, total: 796 seats. (This posting replaces info in postings to this page which were somehow deleted last month.)