West End Cinema

75 Causeway Street,
Boston, MA 02114

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westendmuseum
westendmuseum on January 18, 2014 at 7:52 pm

http://www.flickr.com/photos/thewestendmuseum/12023255213/lightbox/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/thewestendmuseum/12023803046/lightbox/

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on May 13, 2013 at 11:32 am

That didn’t happen until 2004, by which time this theatre was long gone ;–(

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on May 13, 2013 at 11:26 am

The area was stilled referred to as the “West End” after the widespread demolition and the construction of Charles River Park by the people who used to live there (patrons of the Lancaster) and others familiar with the area. Needless to say, plans to bulldoze the area created a firestorm back circa-1959 among the residents, who had no say in the matter. Caused a lot of lingering bitterness. For someone like E.M.Loew who had ties to the older Boston, it would have been natural to call the theater the “West End”. He also at the time of opening was under the impression that the elevated trolley structure in front of the new facade of the theater was to be shortly demolished, but that didn’t happen for a long while.

IanJudge
IanJudge on May 12, 2013 at 5:02 pm

Perhaps there were trademark issues?

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on May 12, 2013 at 4:47 pm

True, but the name ‘West End’ was erased from the city’s geography. The new shining development wanted nothing to do with the name West End, preferring ‘Charles River Park’.

IanJudge
IanJudge on May 12, 2013 at 4:44 pm

But remember it was replaced in the 60’s by a modern futuristic (at the time) new development, a shining “new” Boston rising from the old. I am sure in anticipation of the new upscale West End, the dumpy neighborhood Lancaster was “modernized” and reprogrammed to fit this new vision of the city.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on May 12, 2013 at 3:29 pm

Why did they choose to rename the theatre ‘West End’ in 1963, years after the West End neighborhood was totally destroyed?

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 12, 2013 at 2:28 pm

Linkrot repair: A brief item about the opening of E.M. Loew’s West End Cinema appeared in Boxoffice of November 11, 1963 (lower right). The architect for the remodeling of the old Lancaster Theatre into the West End Cinema was William Riseman.

rivest266
rivest266 on May 12, 2013 at 7:19 am

Also posted the Lancaster opening ad from February 18th, 1917.

rivest266
rivest266 on May 12, 2013 at 7:17 am

This opened as West End on November 7th, 1963. Ad posted here.

Matthew Prigge
Matthew Prigge on November 11, 2012 at 2:17 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!

MarkB
MarkB on July 15, 2012 at 2:20 pm

According to The Theatres of Boston, by Donald C. King, the Lancaster opened Feb., 1917.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on March 31, 2012 at 11:01 am

Yes, it was an E.M. Loew’s theater and it was a full-size house. Later it presented art-house product for awhile. And it was not the same as the “North Station 1-2” or “1-2-3” storefront cinemas (on XXX product). And it was later the West End Pussycat cinema. dickneeds111 mentions above the Art 1&2 cinema across from the Majestic/Saxon on Tremont St. That’s one Boston cinema which I don’t believe is listed here in Cinema Treasures. It was mostly a Gay cinema and occupied former bank space in the Hotel Touraine building.

dickneeds111
dickneeds111 on March 30, 2012 at 8:55 pm

The E.M. Loews West end theatre and the North Station 1-2-3 or however many there were are and never the same. The West End theatre ended its life a a Pussycat Porn House. Who owned the Art 1&2 across from the Saxon on Tremont St. I remember these being Gay houses.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on March 30, 2012 at 3:44 pm

Even into its X-rated days, it was “E.M. Loew’s West End Cinema” — until it was one day renamed “West End Pussycat”.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on March 30, 2012 at 3:40 pm

It was a first-run art house for a considerable period in the 1960s. I remember seeing films here like “Family Diary,” “The Grand Olympics” “Woman in the Dunes.”

dickneeds111
dickneeds111 on March 30, 2012 at 3:03 pm

The old West End theatre was still operating across from the Old Garden down Causeway St a couple of blocks in the late 50’s to early 60’s. At one time I believe it might have been an E>M> Lowes operation. It had a BIG mARQUEE WHICH WAS LIKE MOST OF THAT CHAINS THEATRES. iT WAS A GOOD SIZE AND NOT A BAND BOX OR STORE FRONT. iT WAS A 2ND RUN neighborhood theatre.

ppherber
ppherber on November 3, 2011 at 8:56 pm

I first noticed the theatre in the late 70’s when it was a Pussycat cinema. It was easy to spot from the tacky marquee down Causeway St. from the old Boston Garden. I enjoyed porn as well as hockey, so eventually I checked them out. Along with the old North Station Cinema, it created a sort of mini Combat Zone in the North End.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on February 1, 2011 at 12:42 pm

I know that the lobby entrance was on Causeway St. as of the 1941 MGM Report, so it probably was always there. There were side exits on Lancaster St., and maybe the office entrance was located there. During the 1963 renovations, the facade was removed and a new one constructed with lots of glass. But it was in the same location as the old facade.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on February 1, 2011 at 11:55 am

Perhaps the lobby entrance was moved during the 1963 renovations? (see my earlier comment that mentions 1963)

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on February 1, 2011 at 11:50 am

In the street directory section of the 1918 Boston Register and Business Directory, Issue 83, this theater, as the Lancaster, was listed at 31 Lancaster Street, rather than on Causeway Street where the lobby entrance was located.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on December 7, 2010 at 1:14 pm

Why was the architect’s name of this theatre changed to Funk & Wilcox? I don’t see anything in any of the comments saying that the Lancaster was designed by them.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on December 7, 2010 at 10:49 am

The North Station cinemas which Ron Newman mentions were store-front operations, similar to ancient store-front nickleodeons of the 1905-era. They operated in the 1980 period. I went into one of them once and it was definitely a XXX venue.
The Boston & Maine RR Historical Society recently ran a long time-line of events in B&M history spread over a number of issues of its magazine. If it had mentioned a cinema being built within the North Station, I would have instantly noticed, that’s for sure!

IanJudge
IanJudge on December 6, 2010 at 6:43 pm

Funk & Wilcox were the architects of the entire Boston Garden/North Station complex (1928-1998).

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on December 6, 2010 at 6:27 pm

Up until some time in the 1980s there was a very strange ‘North Station Cinema’ triplex, with two screens on one street and the third on a parallel street. (I think Friend and Portland streets?) All of the screens were porn theatres by the late 1970s, and I doubt they ever were anything else, but I could be wrong.