Fogg Opera House

4 - 6 Columbian Street,
South Weymouth, MA 02190

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The large Romanesque Revival style Fogg Building, constructed in 1888 by a merchant named Fogg, is a landmark in Columbian Square, South Weymouth. There was a theater and stage on the second floor which opened in December 1888. Seating was provided on two levels, and the proscenium was 35 feet wide. The Fogg Opera House was used for drama, minstral shows, lectures, opera and vaudeville. Booker T. Washington was one of the star artistes to appear here. It eventually became a neighborhood cinema.

The plans for opening of the newly built Cameo Theatre right next to the Fogg Building in 1939 put an end to the Fogg Opera House. It was remodeled into apartments around 1938. Today the Fogg Building has commercial tenants on the ground floor with apartments above.

Contributed by Ron Salters

Recent comments (view all 5 comments)

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on October 31, 2011 at 5:24 pm

In old Film Daily Yearbooks it’s sometimes listed as “Fogg’s Opera House” or “Fogg Hall”, but I don’t believe such names are correct. For example, it was listed as “Fogg Hall” on a long list of theaters in Massachusetts which received state licenses for the period ending Oct. 31, 1914. Its condition was described as “Good” on that list.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on October 31, 2011 at 5:56 pm

The south elevation of the building was ruined about 1940 with the construction of a one-story commercial addition. This addition obliterated the series of Romanesque arches at ground level, as well as the driveway there. At that time, many more windows were punched into the walls. I believe that this is when the theater was deconstructed upstairs.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on November 1, 2011 at 5:31 pm

Maybelle Barcelo Drown (1905-2011), who was a “song & dance” girl in vaudeville, was involved in presenting dance shows at the Fogg Opera House around 1930.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on November 3, 2011 at 5:51 pm

I have not been able to find this theater listed in the Julius Cahn guides which means it was not a first-string roadshow house. The nearest theater listed in the Cahn guides was the Rockland Opera House, a short distance to the south in Rockland. That theater also later became a local cinema.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on November 6, 2012 at 7:21 pm

In the Ledger Archives section of the Quincy Patriot-Ledger of Nov. 5, 2012, there is an item from the Ledger of Nov. 10, 1937 which reported that the old Fogg Opera House was “doomed” because the building owner had decided to completely remodel the space occupied by the theater and convert it into apartments. This work was probably done in 1938.

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