Hub Theatre

1140 Washington Street,
Boston, MA 02118

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Hub Theatre, 1917

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Hub Theatre was located at the southeast corner of Washington Street and Dover Street in the South End. It is said to have been the first regular theater in Boston to present only movies, although that policy did not last long. It was located in an old building dating from 1850 which had served as a produce market.

The auditorium in the building operated under several different names and it had even served as a first-run legitimate playhouse at one time.

Contributed by Ron Salters

Recent comments (view all 35 comments)

EdwardFindlay
EdwardFindlay on August 27, 2011 at 4:46 pm

Partial view of the building taken roughly 1898/1899: http://billnoonanfirefotos.smugmug.com/Historicphotos/real-old-days/17392592_ZGP4wR#1328322578_NqLmRXP-L-LB

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on September 26, 2011 at 2:35 pm

The link didn’t work for me, so I went to the website and found on page 3 of the “Real Old Days” collection a nice shot of the Grand Opera House on Washington St. with a horse-drawn fire engine passing in front of it. This big theater was a few buildings to the south of the Hub Theatre.

EdwardFindlay
EdwardFindlay on September 28, 2011 at 4:57 pm

cut/paste the link, it’s a direct link to a large view of the photo…the one on page three is another theatre.

It’s definately part of the Hub in the far left, the entrance there leads to one of the first floor stores and just out of view above would be the decorative brickwork

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on October 6, 2011 at 2:19 pm

The link worked this time (the first time I just got Bill Noonan’s home page), but the photo (#26 of 209 in the Real Old Days collection) is the same one: a great shot, taken before the el was constructed, of a fire dept. ladder wagon in front of the Grand Opera House. The building to the left is not the Hub Theatre, which was a few buildings up to the north. The two theaters were not side-by-side.

MarkB
MarkB on February 14, 2013 at 8:13 pm

The Hub is listed as the Williams Market in 1873. It was owned or run by the Kittredge family – one of whom lived on Fort Hill in Roxbury – they’re restoring the house now. In 1883, it’s the Windsor Theatre, Williams Market, Proprietors. In 1902, it’s the Grand Theatre, prop. Williams Market. 1908, Hub Theatre, 1917, no theatre name on the property. So it seems as if it was either both a theatre and a market, or else the ‘Williams Market’ name was just the landlord’s DBA.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on February 15, 2013 at 2:41 pm

MarkB- I didn’t realize that Williams Market retained ownership of the building. Originally, the market was on the ground floor with a meeting hall above. The hall was converted to a small theater. The market closed in the 1880s, then its space became a “museum” with theater above. Still later, the entire building was converted into an enlarged theater. Apparently, Williams Market retained ownership thru all these changes.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on February 16, 2013 at 12:25 am

When did this close?

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on February 16, 2013 at 2:20 pm

Ron Newman- I’m flying on memory here, but I’m guess ing it closed sometime in the mid-1910s. Fred Allen played there in the vaudeville portion of a movie-vaudeville show around 1913; and the Hub Cigar company was there circa-1918. MarkB mentions above that there is no theater name for the listing in 1917. The building dated back to at least the 1850s, with Williams Market on the ground floor and Williams Hall above.

Suga
Suga on March 21, 2013 at 11:39 am

Hi I live in the Hub Building and am looking for cool old historical pictures that I can use for a wall I want to create dedicated to this building. Can anyone point me in the right direction to find quality prints that I can blow up? This site was a great find that I stumbled across in my quest for old pictures . Thanks!

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on March 21, 2013 at 1:53 pm

Suga- if you click on “All Comments” above and read thru the various comments in the past you will find some references to photos, but there really aren’t very many good photos of the original 1850s building which became the theater. You might be able to find photos of the current building at the Bostonian Society, or the BPL photo collection, or the Boston Landmarks Commission collection, etc.

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