Colonial Theatre

187 Merrimac Street,
Haverhill, MA 01830

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COLONIAL Theatre; Haverhill, Massachusetts.

This theatre was built by Louis B. Mayer when he was first gaining success as a theater owner. It opened on December 11, 1911. The Colonial Theater was used for vaudeville and live shows as well as movies. Mayer sold his interest around 1918 or thereabouts. By 1941 it was operated by Paramount Pictures Inc. through their subsidiary Mullins & Pinanski.

I have no additional information on the Colonial Theatre, except to say that it is certainly demolished now; there is a parking lot next to the Fleet Bank in Washington Square where it used to stand.

Contributed by Ian Judge

Recent comments (view all 9 comments)

David Wodeyla
David Wodeyla on September 30, 2004 at 3:03 pm

It was owned by the Mullen & Pinansky Chain, of 60 Scollay Square in Boston. There were 1400 seats. The other theatre in Haverill also owned by M&P was the Paramount. It was gone by the late 1950’s, so a bit of research is necessary. Maybe an old telephone book at the library could pin it down.

pinansky on November 6, 2004 at 8:44 pm

Interesting—I am a distant relative (two or three generations younger) of the former owner—part of the Maine-based part of the Pinansky family. I would be interested to learn more about the Mullen & Pinansky Chain.

Tom Pinansky

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on March 30, 2006 at 1:26 am

Here is a photo of the Colonial Theatre in 1962.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on May 8, 2006 at 7:45 am

The MGM Theatre Photograph and Report form for the Colonial at 187 Merrimac St. in Haverhill has an exterior photo dated April 1941. It definitely is the same theatre as in the 1962 color photo posted above. The Report states that the house has been playing MGM product for over 10 years; that it’s over 15 years old; that it’s in Fair condition; and has 734 orchestra seats, 411 seats in the balcony and 125 seats in the loges; total: 1270 seats. The competing theatres are the Paramount and the Strand. Haverhill’s 1940 population was 46,700. M&P Theatres was formed in 1933 as a Paramount partnership by Martin Mullin and Sam Pinansky.

hanksykes on May 22, 2007 at 12:17 pm

In 1910 Louis Mayer bought The Eagle Hotel in Haverhill for $30,000, razed the hotel , sold the land at a profit,moved to 185 Merrimack Street where he had The Colonial Theater constructed opening it Dec. 11,1911 with a seating capacity of 1.500 fannies. The Colonial Th. had a thirty piece orchestra to play for its silent features as well as presenting Opera and Vaudeville. So you see Louis’s first venture at The Orpheum was providing swell capital. In 1912 Mayer went on to purchase The Bijou in Haverhill.

WandaLee on July 19, 2007 at 8:39 pm

Does anyone know if the Bijou went on to become the Paramount? I thought Mayer built the Paramount – it was the grandest of the four in Haverhill back in my pre-teen and teenage years.

HalG on January 28, 2009 at 2:58 pm

I believe the Bijou went on to become the Lafayette Theatre, which closed in the early 1950s, leaving the Colonial, the Strand and the Paramount as Haverhill’s three movie theaters. The Haverhill Gazette published a photo last year of an elderly Louis B. Mayer, during a visit to Haverhill, looking up at the marquee of the Lafayette, a theater he once owned.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on November 15, 2010 at 11:22 am

The Colonial is listed in the 1927 Film Daily Yearbook as having 1400 seats, open daily.

robboehm on February 26, 2021 at 7:19 am

I read that the Keon Brothers of Salem also operated this theater early on.

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