Harvard Theatre

2313 Massachusetts Avenue,
Cambridge, MA 02140

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 25, 2017 at 1:37 am

This item from the July 3, 1915, issue of The American contractor probably is about the Harvard Theatre:

“Theater: 1 sty. & bas. 72x130. Massachusetts av. Cambridge, Mass. Archt Geo Nelson Jacobs, 6 Beacon st. Boston. Owner Harvard Amusement Co., Max Keezer, treas,. 12 Dover st., Cambridge. Gen. Contr. M. S. Williams, 19 Milk st.”
This would have been a very early project for architect George Nelson Jacobs, who had been working as a draftsman in the offices of A.L. Darrow and E.B. Stratton as recently as 1913. He went on to become a prominent architect specializing in residential buildings, though with a number of commercial projects to his credit.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on September 12, 2007 at 1:40 pm

The Cambridge Historical Commission lists the period of existence for the Harvard Theatre as 1914 – 1955.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on January 23, 2007 at 11:10 am

Thanks. Please add it to this site, with whatever information you have.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on January 23, 2007 at 11:05 am

In 1941 there was a Porter Square Theatre included in the MGM reports and it was on Mass. Ave. (no street number given). Built in 1930, 1000 seats. The marquee says only “Porter”, not “Porter Square”. Looks like a little “nabe”.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on January 23, 2007 at 10:33 am

By the way, do your references have any listing for a movie theatre in Porter Square, with an address of (or near) 2000 Massachusetts Avenue? A martial arts studio now occupies the building at that address, but people who know Cambridge history have told me it is a former theatre.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on January 23, 2007 at 10:26 am

The Harvard Theatre in North Cambridge was included in the MGM Theatre Photograph and Report project. There is an exterior photo dated May 1941. The buildings then were all on the edge of the street. The theatre had a fancily-decorated facade 2 stories high. There was a rectangular marquee with “Harvard” across the top front. Attractions were “Western Union” and “She Couldn’t Say No”. The Report states that the theatre has been a MGM customer for over 10 years; that it’s over 15 years old; that it’s in Fair condition and has 1,052 seats. It’s described as a “Neighborhood” theatre. The 1927 Film Daily yearbook lists the Harvard with 1200 seats and open 7 days per week.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on January 23, 2007 at 3:58 am

A Century Bank branch now stands on this site. It is not a very good use of the land, being set back quite far from the street behind a parking lot.