Scenic Temple

348 Meridian Street,
East Boston, MA 02128

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The Scenic Temple was located in East Boston across the harbor from downtown. It was one of several theaters with that name in the Boston area. Movies and small-time vaudeville were presented there. It was located just a short walk from the site of the Seville Theatre on Meridian Street. Further information welcomed.

Contributed by Ron Salters

Recent comments (view all 15 comments)

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on April 21, 2011 at 11:27 am

Yes, there was a Scenic Temple in Revere. But Fred Allen in his book makes it clear that he was talking about this one, in East Boston. It’s possible that he took a trolley from the ferry slip to the theater because he had to lug 2 suitcases with him to work.

Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois
Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois on April 22, 2011 at 6:46 am

Ron, thanks for the info on the Narrow Gauge ferry.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on April 22, 2011 at 11:59 am

The Bambino Musical site which Ed Findlay linked to above has an interesting copy of the program cover from Nov. 1897 of the Austin and Stone’s Museum in Scollay Square, Boston. The illustration of the exterior may be somewhat exaggerated, as I don’t think it was quite that wide. To the right-rear can be seen the peaked roof of the Old Howard Theatre. Austin & Stone’s was a very popular attraction in its day and contained a theater, either on the ground floor, or upstairs. I believe it had over 400 seats. Early movies may have been presented there, in addition to the Vaude shows, during the places’s final decade, after 1900.

EdwardFindlay
EdwardFindlay on April 22, 2011 at 8:57 pm

Ron, that information about the Austin & Stone is just the tip of the iceberg for Scollay Square information- it’s a gold mine for information about the long gone section of the city including the aforementioned Old Howard among other theatres.

EdwardFindlay
EdwardFindlay on April 30, 2011 at 2:17 pm

The building shows up as a huge apartment complex, and the apartment complex is from that era from the look of wear and brickwork on three sides…It even has a separate entrance in the front that has been bricked over where that address should be- perhaps the theatre wasn’t outright demolished simply renovated out of existence and it’s old space reused for apartments…

EdwardFindlay
EdwardFindlay on May 3, 2011 at 10:07 am

http://www.suffolkdeeds.com/east_boston_1901.asp

Plate 16, a 1901 map of the neighborhood from the Suffolk County Register of Deeds website- the building that housed the theatre.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on May 4, 2011 at 11:20 am

Note that in 1901 it was called “Music Hall”.

EdwardFindlay
EdwardFindlay on May 4, 2011 at 12:10 pm

It was back to being “Masonic Hall” by the 1912 map(plate 25): http://www.suffolkdeeds.com/Charlestown_1912.asp

Link says Charlestown but it’s both Charlestown and East Boston.

EdwardFindlay
EdwardFindlay on May 24, 2011 at 3:55 pm

According to the marker on the building(Bostonian Society’s plaquard?), the building was built in 1892 and was for decades the Masonic Temple. This confirms that the building in the linked maps is indeed the same building as theatre being discussed.

The building received a massive renovation in 1975 being turned into an apartment complex. This same renovation demolished the old Masonic Temple interior including the space in which the theatre lay.
The plaque is visible on Goggle Streetview for anyone interested, although it’s unreadable.

EdwardFindlay
EdwardFindlay on July 30, 2011 at 4:29 pm

Here’s a shot of the plaque which includes an old photo of the theatre when it was in use as a Masonic Temple… http://www.cinematour.com/picview.php?db=us&id=72755

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