State Theatre

617 Washington Street,
Boston, MA 02111

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Paramount Pictures Inc., Trans-Lux Movies Corp.

Architects: Clarence H. Blackall

Previous Names: Park Theatre, Minsky's Park Burlesque Theatre, Hub Theatre, Trans-Lux Theatre

Nearby Theaters

Photo courtesy of the Dirty Old Boston Facebook page.

Opened on April 14, 1879 as the Park Theatre in a conversion of the Beethoven Hall. It was across Washington Street from the RKO Boston (Cinerama). It had around 700-seats located in two balconies and four boxes adjacent to the proscenium. It was renovated during the summer of 1889. The Park Theatre screened its first motion picture in May 1912.

It was taken over by Adolph Zukor and was remodeled, gutting the interior and removing the two balconies and stage boxes, and inserting a single balcony. It reopened as a 1,200-seat movie theatre on December 7, 1914 with Bessie Barriscale in “The Rose of the Rancho”. The theatre was decorated in an Italian Renaissance style. It was equipped with an Austin organ.

In 1929 the Park Theatre was given another remodel and classed itself as a movie palace. In November 1933 it became Minsky’s Park Burlesque Theatre. In 1937 it received another remodel and reopened as the Hub Theatre with 764-seats. By 1950 it was the Trans-Lux Theatre and finally State Theatre.

Always an adult house since I remember it from 1960. It was around the corner from the Avery Hotel and I believe there was an underground tunnel to the hotel for performers way back when it was a live house. The Strand Theatre was demolished in 1990 and the site became a temporary parking lot. It has since been redeveloped.

Contributed by Richard Dziadzio

Recent comments (view all 56 comments)

dickneeds111
dickneeds111 on March 30, 2012 at 5:59 pm

The State(Translux) was showing aduly material in the late 50’s. Most of the material were films shown at Nudist Camps. This was the beginning of so called Porn. I remember walking and looking at the promo pics with black lines across many nude bodies and saying I can’t go in there because I was young and if my miother had found out I probably wouldn’t be here today.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on September 1, 2012 at 6:46 pm

The pair of 1939 photos from Boxoffice trade paper illustrate why the Boston Landmarks Commission around 1985 did not consider this theater for inclusion, despite its great age. They felt that the theater interior had been ruined by renovations, and these photos prove their point.

Matthew Prigge
Matthew Prigge on November 11, 2012 at 10:46 pm

If anyone has any stories about going to/ working at this threatre in its adult days, I would love to hear them. I am chronicling the histories of adult theatres in the US. Please contact me at Thanks!

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on June 20, 2015 at 5:49 am

1954 photo as the Trans-Lux added courtesy of MIT Libraries.

adamghost
adamghost on August 27, 2015 at 10:01 am

Another photo:

https://scontent-lax3-1.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xpf1/v/t1.0-9/11898594_1110474998979960_3840942760175300174_n.jpg?oh=0175cdf8bddeb912253b54b44b46475f&oe=566DC376

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on November 27, 2015 at 9:24 pm

Two 1965 photos as the State Theatre added, photos credit Boston City Censor.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on June 14, 2017 at 6:55 pm

In the photo section there are 2 photos taken of the Park’s fancy facade in its early days as a “motion picture” theater. This facade was part of the building which preceeded the Crabtree Building – that’s why it doesn’t look at all like the facade in the later State Theatre photos. I once saw a photo of the Park entrance taken after it was built in 1879 and the entrance was through an old house-like structure something like the old Boston Globe Corner Bookstore at the northwest corner of Washington & School streets.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on February 12, 2020 at 8:39 pm

Katz- It did not have rear projection in its later days, at least. I knew someone who worked there in the 1970s and I’m 99% sure that he was in the booth at the rear of the balcony.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on February 18, 2020 at 7:23 pm

Katz – I have seen the floor plan from when the Trans Lux first opened in the late-1930s and it definitely looks like it had a rear projection booth at the rear of the stage. But at some point they must have got rid of it in favor of a regular balcony projection booth. The Park was a live theatre for many years, then in the 1910s it became a movie house; in the 1930s it reverted to stage use as the Boston outlet for Minsky Burlesque. Then a total remodel as the Trans Lux.

rivest266
rivest266 on March 17, 2021 at 4:59 pm

December 7th, 1914 grand opening ad as Park posted.

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