Jamestown Theatre

34 Narragansett Avenue,
Jamestown, RI 02835

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A small theatre that was not far from the Jamestown-Newport Ferry. It had existed as far back as the 1920s and had been also called the Palace. In the 1970s it was still showing movies. It may have been used for live summer theatre shows for a while. It closed not long thereafter and the building was converted to retail stores.

Contributed by Gerald A. DeLuca

Recent comments (view all 12 comments)

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 22, 2005 at 3:40 pm

Although this is listed as having been called the Palace in past decades (i.e. the 1920s and later), it never called the “Bomes Theatre,” to my knowledge. Samuel Bomes was the founder and owner, as with the Hollywood in East Providence and the Liberty in Providence. “Bomes Theatre” carved over the entrance signifies this was a Bomes Theatre.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on July 5, 2005 at 2:46 am

When the Strand Theatre in Providence closed in August of 1978, about 500 of its seats were donated to a non-profit froup from Jamestown called the Jamestown Theater, Inc. A Providence Journal article of August 20th said:

“The group plans to install them in that town’s theater on which it holds a 90-day option to buy. There are hopes of renovating the Jamestown Theater and booking movies and live shows. Jane Sprague, president of the group, said, ‘We took as many seats as we could possibly take with four U-Haul trips.’

“The projectors, a sound system and concession and lobby equipment also were removed to Jamestown. Other theater pieces will end up at the Lederer Theater, the Ocean State Theater and the Rhode Island School for the Deaf.”

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on July 15, 2005 at 2:52 pm

This entry from 1995 volume Historic and Architectural Resources of Jamestown Rhode, Island gives a capsule history of the place. It omits the 1960s name Jamestown Theatre, which I know was used for part of that decade when Mario Votolato ran summer films here. And I am uncertain, as I mentioned above, that it was called the Bomes Theatre, rather than just being a Bomes Theatre like Samuel Bomes' Hollywood in East Providence and Liberty in Providence:

“THE PALACE/BOMES THEATRE/BOMES THEATRE MALL (1922, 1946, 1986): This 1-story, masonry structure, with a commercial façade containing two pairs of double, multi-paned doors at the center, is sited on the sidewalk. It was built as a movie theatre for Jamestowners LeRoy Meredith, Aaron Richardson, and Ferdinand Armbrust by Ralph G.P. Hull. Ambrust conceived the idea for the theatre based on his experience using a movie projector at the Red Cross at Fort Wetherill during World War I. The place was known for some time as the Palace. Samuel Bomes purchased the building in 1946 and gave it his name. The building was used as a theatre for many years, then was closed for a while. In 1979 architect William Burgin directed the restoration of the theater for Jamestown Theater, Inc., to be operated for movies and special events. The venture proved unsuccessful, and in 1986 conversion also changed the exterior: the old brick façade was covered with clapboards laid both diagonally and horizontally, and the false front parapet was eliminated.”

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on August 23, 2005 at 5:03 pm

First decade of the Palace Theatre
from The Building Boom in Jamestown, Rhode Island, 1926-1931, by Sue Maden, 2004:

1920s: The Palace Theatre built in 1921 is shown in this photo from the 1920s. Photo courtesy of the Jamestown Historical Society.

1931: [At the Town Council Meeting] The town clerk is to request the proprietor of the Palace Theatre to submit to him the number of performances held during the year 1930.

1931: Messrs. Ferdinand Ambrust and Leroy F. Meredith have leased for a period of years the Palace Theatre on Narragansett Avenue to W. C. Purcell of Fall River, manager of the Academy of Music of that city. Mr. Purcell is already making considerable improvements and redecorating. He will have a new ticket office at the entrance and will have talking pictures.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 30, 2006 at 4:14 am

The 1949 Film Daily Yearbook gives the seating capacity of the Palace as 250.

Roger Katz
Roger Katz on December 31, 2007 at 12:24 pm

Does this theatre building still exist?

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on December 31, 2007 at 12:41 pm

Yes, it still exists as a mini-mall.
2004 PHOTO

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 25, 2010 at 11:13 am

Item on the manager of the Jamestown Theatre, Boxoffice magazine, March 7, 1953:
Joe Jarvis Starts Drive for Citizens ‘Goodwill’
View link

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 29, 2010 at 11:58 am

Jamestown, Rhode Island Loses Only Theatre
Piece in Boxoffice magazine, January 27, 1951:

View link

[Note that the Jamestown did continue sporadically over the next few decades as a summer fim venue. The piece also suggests that the theatre had first opened about 1921.]

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on January 17, 2011 at 6:38 am

This theatre was part of the September 1923 6th Paramount Week. In this advertisement from the (Providence) Evening Tribune, September 1, 1923, we see a fascinating list of Rhode Island area theatres, many long-gone and long-forgoten, or even unheard of, as well as what they were showing during that week. CLICK HERE and move image to see all theatres. This theatre was known as the Palace at that time.

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