Court Square Theater

11 Elm Street,
Court Square,
Springfield, MA 01101

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jsullivan on November 21, 2013 at 6:44 am

My father grew up in Springfield in the early 20th century and talked so often about vaudeville and the Court Square Theater. He played banjo for Gatchell’s stringed orchestra. Any info on Gatchell, Professor Gatchell and that stringed orchestra/band would be appreciated.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 18, 2013 at 11:44 am

An 1893 Springfield Republican article about the opening of the Empire Theatre in Holyoke noted that the new house resembled the Court Square Theatre, which had been designed by the same architectural firm, J.B. McElfatrick & Son.

Balasch on January 19, 2012 at 6:10 pm

I have a poster from the Gilmore Theatre and also The Court Square Theatre from 1800’s. I’m interested in parting with them.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on May 1, 2011 at 1:55 pm

The Court Square Theatre was one of 9 downtown Springfield theaters on a long list of theaters and halls in MA which received state licenses during the 12 months ending Oct. 31, 1914. The others were the Bijou, Broadway, Gilmore, Globe, Hudson, Nelson, Plaza, and Poli-Palace.

Beepa on July 29, 2007 at 2:46 pm

It is my understanding that Ed Gardner (Archie of “Duffy’s Tavern”) was a manager of the Court Square in the late 30’s. I recall seeing many plays there, including “Diamond Lil” with Mae West, “Harvey” with Frank Fay and “Mr. Roberts” with John Forsythe, as well as many vaudeville/film combination shows, all in the late 40’s. Great theater, many memories!!

spectrum on May 14, 2007 at 1:12 pm

In the 1980’s occasional live performances and/or outdoor movies in the parking lot on the site of the theatre. They actually had a marque with twinkling lights, and when you walk through the entrance and into the parking lot, there was a large screen off to the right just about where the back wall of the stage would have been. Every time I saw it, I regretted I wasn’t around when the building still stood.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on November 22, 2006 at 9:15 am

The Court Square Theatre is listed in the 1897-98 edition of Julius Cahn’s Official Theatrical Guide, an annual publication for roadshow producers and stage managers. The seating capacity is given as 1,865. Ticket prices were 25 cents to $1. The theatre was on the ground floor. The building was served by both gas lighting and electricity. The proscenium opening was 35 feet wide, and the stage was 50 feet deep. Nearby hotels were: Gilmore, Haynes, Cooley, City, and Mansion Hotel. The 1897 population of Springfield was 50,000.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on November 21, 2006 at 10:58 am

The MGM Theatre Photograph and Report form for the Court Square Theatre in Springfield has a facade photo taken in May 1941. There was a rectangular multi-bulbed movie marquee with the E.M. Loew logos on either side of the name on the front. A card with something about “Vaudeville” is posted above one of the double entrance doors. The address is listed as “Elm Square” and the person who did the Report wrote “2 doors off Main St.” on it. The Report states that the Court Square is not a MGM customer, that the theatre is over 15 years old; that it’s in Fair condition; and has 700 seats on the main floor and 398 in the balcony, total: 1,098 seats. (Since it was an old 19th-century legiter,it may have had 2 balconies). It was a live road-show house in Springfield for many years.

AlLarkin on January 24, 2006 at 3:23 pm

Addendum to the above. I recall my father telling me that in his single days he and his buddies would pay a dime and go up to the top balcony and sleep off a night on the town on long church type pews prior to going home.

AlLarkin on January 24, 2006 at 3:16 pm

Sorry that I cannot provide the previous poster with additional information since my parents, who attended performances regularly, have passed on. But I do have an update on the hotel. Part of the roof collapsed. However, the owner claims he is still going ahead with renovation plans.

Bellspeed69 on December 19, 2005 at 6:28 am

My mother-in-law grew up in Feeding Hills, Mass. She has many memories of the Court Square Theater in Springfield, Mass. She has a very fond memory of winning “Pin Up Girl of the Week” when she won a singing contest there. She said her picture was posted in the lobby of the theater for the whole week. This contest took place in 1943. Do you know if there is any memorabilia and/or history written about these contests? I know that my mother-in-law would thoroughly enjoy reading and/or seeing any pictures which may have survived the years. Her name is Barbara French. My name is Karen and my email address is Thank you. I hope to hear from someone about this. That would be wonderful!

AlLarkin on May 3, 2005 at 2:53 pm

My only recollection of attending live performances at the Court Square were a variety show featuring a comedian who totally bombed and seeing Bill Haley And The Comets at a later time.
Adding to my original post, apparently the botique hotel is on hold due to the death of the developer, Peter Picknelly and a dispute over property taxes.

Gargantua on March 8, 2005 at 11:45 am

Hello All
Does anyone remember an act at the theater, his name I think was Eunis he stood on one finger on the globe of a light pole.
I have never seen anything like it since.
Thank You

EdwardShear on December 3, 2004 at 6:50 pm

Adding to Mr. Larkin’s summary, the Court Square, during the early 1900’s, had many great names grace it’s stage. Some were Al Jolson, Will Rogers, George M. Cohan, the Barrymores and Sarah Bernhardt.
1920-1928 were it’s golden years. In 1936, E.M. Loew leased it as a movie house. In 1941, the Playgoers of Springfield took it over for Broadway and road shows until they disbanded in 1953.
On April 22, 1956, the curtain came down for the last time following the final performance of “Tea and Sympathy” starring Martha Hyer.
In July, an onsite public auction was held and equipment, seats, curtains, etc. were sold. The theater had 700 seats on the main floor and 398 in the balcony.
In March, 1957, the Court Square was torn down to become a parking lot, meeting the same fate that The Broadway Theater met four years earlier. The 1950’s brought to a close Springfield’s two historic playhouses. It’s movie theaters would meet their fates a decade later