Olympia Theatre

1849 Westminster Street at Olneyville Square,
Providence, RI 02909

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Olympia Theatre 1926

Viewing: Photo | Street View

A balconied neighborhood theatre in the Olneyville section of Providence opened in September 1926. It survived into the 1950’s and had installed CinemaScope before closing and being razed that same decade to make way for a low-income residence building.

Contributed by Gerald A. DeLuca

Recent comments (view all 15 comments)

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 30, 2006 at 12:42 am

The 1949 Film Daily Yearbook lists the seating capacity of the Olympia as 1383.

melbedewy on January 29, 2007 at 3:42 am

Is this site now the “Olney Towers” high rise?

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on January 29, 2007 at 8:04 am

“Is this site now the "Olney Towers” high rise?“
Yes, it is.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on November 23, 2008 at 12:06 pm

From Temples of Illusion by Roger Brett, about Jacob Conn’s building of the Olympia Theatre:

“Shortly after leasing the Weybosset Street house [Gaiety] and changing its name to Conn’s City Theater, he built Conn’s Olympia Theater in Olneyville Square. This edifice included an office block and in it he installed a radio station, WCOT. All this he accomplished in 1926 and 1927. By now he considered Olneyville to be his personal fief, his base of power…”

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on February 3, 2009 at 11:03 am

Here is a set of some recently found photos of the Olympia dating to 1926, around the time of its opening and during a presentation of a Valentino film following the death of the star. They are the first photos of the Olympia that I have ever seen. Thanks to theatre owner Jacob Conn’s great-granddaughter Laura Frommer.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 25, 2010 at 7:07 am

CinemaScope capability comes to Olympia. Item in Boxoffice magazine, January 15, 1955:

“E. M. Loew’s Olympia, Olneyville neighborhood house, will soon reopen, completely redecorated and equipped with CinemaScope.”

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on January 15, 2011 at 6:08 am

This newspaper ad appeared the day of the theatre’s opening, September 5, 1926. The first films shown were the silents The Grand Duchess and the Waiter, with Florence Vidor and Adolphe Menjou, and The Runaway, with Clara Bow and Warner Baxter. Admission prices ranged from 10 cents to 25 cents. Reference is made to the theatre’s organ. A photo of owner-builder Jacob Conn appears in the ad.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on January 22, 2011 at 10:32 am

This newspaper ad from September 19, 1926, a few weeks after the Olympia first opened, promotes a film with Rudolph Valentino, who had recently died.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on February 22, 2011 at 4:37 pm

NEWSPAPER ARTICLE on the opening of the Olympia in September 1926 with photo of owner, Captain Jacob Conn.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on October 12, 2017 at 5:22 am

A Facebook friend of mine wrote about walking to the Olympia with family members from up on Hartford Avenue. He said, “There were 6 of us siblings that would go together. For 25 cents each we would see the a cartoon at the beginning, then the Newsreel, two feature movies and then another couple of cartoons and then we would collect a piece of dinnerware until my mother had enough for our family of 13."

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