Ball Square Theatre

707 Broadway,
Somerville, MA 02144

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The Ball Square Theatre was built by the Locatelli family, who also built the Capitol Theatre in Arlington. It was a large neighborhood theater that fell victim to two separate fires. In the end it was closed and demolished. Part of the former lobby and attached retail/office building survive today.

Ironically, the former lobby area was a pizzeria that suffered a fire in the late-1980’s. It is now home to Cambridge Lock & Security.

Contributed by Ian Judge

Recent comments (view all 12 comments)

dguss
dguss on March 4, 2006 at 9:06 am

Unforunately, Nick Riselli, who ran Cambridge Lock for years, died and the site will soon become the home of an enlarged Soundbites, the popular restaurant presently located directly across the street.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on March 4, 2006 at 9:50 am

David, can you approach SoundBites with the idea of putting up Ball Square Theatre memorabilia in their new space?

dguss
dguss on March 4, 2006 at 4:27 pm

Yes, I spoke to them and they’re very interested in including theater material in the decor of the new restaurant. Now to convince them to erect a new marquee. The original Ball Square sign was so beautiful!

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on March 29, 2006 at 1:33 am

The photo that Ron Salters describes above is the first one displayed here.

dguss
dguss on October 11, 2007 at 8:44 pm

Lost Memory, I’m curious how you discovered this unusual piece of information about the Robert-Theater Organ. The long article in the Somerville Journal the week the theatre opened in April 1923 makes elaborate mention of a large organ being installed but doesn’t identify the brand. It says simply:
“A huge pipe organ of multiple instruments is an outstanding feature. This organ is one of the costliest and best of its kind in New England. Manager Locatelli has engaged G. F. Fenton, an organist of wide experience, who will skillfully manipulate its keys, accompanying the carefully selected photoplays that will serve as the programme for the two weekly changes”

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on May 11, 2010 at 5:34 am

The Ball Square opened on April 9, 1923 and closed in 1956, according to David Guss’s Lost Theatres of Somerville website.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on May 23, 2010 at 6:11 am

Cambridge Lock appears to be in disarray and out of business. I don’t know what the future holds for this storefront. SoundBites expanded across the street rather than moving in here.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on May 30, 2010 at 1:51 pm

David Guss’s article “Lost Theatres of Somerville”, from the First Quarter 2006 issue of Marquee, the journal of the Theatre Historical Society of America, is now online at View link .

Besides an extensive history, the article also contains many old photos of and advertisements for the various theatres in Somerville.

(This is a 17-page scanned-image PDF, so unfortunately you cannot search or copy the text.)

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on November 9, 2010 at 11:55 am

The Ball Square Th. is listed in the 1927 Film Daily Yearbook as having 1000 seats and open 6 days/week.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on June 28, 2011 at 8:23 am

After several years of vacancy, the Cambridge Lock storefront has been replaced by an insurance agency.

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