Old South Theatre

299 Washington Street,
Boston, MA 02108

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Old South Theatre

All the old city directories listed this theatre at 299 Washington Street opposite Milk Street. This address works out to the corner of School Street where a Borders book store was later located. The site now houses a Walgreens.

The Old South Theatre was opened in 1908, replacing an earlier Lyceum Theatre which was destroyed by fire in 1907. It screened movies on its screen and vaudeville was presented on its stage. It was taken over by Nathan H. Gordon, and he had the theatre remodeled as a first run showcase movie theatre, reopening on August 9, 1920. It was equipped with a theatre organ which was opened by organist Arthur J. Martel. In 1921 it became a double feature movie theatre. It was listed with 800 seats in 1950.

Contributed by Richard Dziadzio

Recent comments (view all 30 comments)

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on April 17, 2011 at 10:44 am

Where was the Hub Theatre? (The State Theatre had this name for a while, but not in 1912-14.)

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on April 17, 2011 at 11:18 am

We talked about the Hub Theatre a couple years ago on the Wang Theatre’s page. It was located on Washington Street at Dover Street just north of the Grand Opera House in the South End.

thestarofmyworld on June 26, 2015 at 4:10 am

I know my message is coming some years after the last posted, but is that a garment button in the photo?

RickB on June 26, 2015 at 4:38 am

The other picture in the photo section shows the flip side, which reads “GOOD FOR ONE ADMISSION.” So it’s a token—maybe a freebie, maybe something you had to drop into a turnstile for entrance.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on June 26, 2015 at 10:28 am

I suspect that since the second Old South Theatre was a newsreel theater with news, short subjects, ‘toons, etc. that it had a frequent turnover of audiences, and thus probably used tokens/ turnstiles. I remember the exterior of it circa-1949/50, but I foolishly never went into it, otherwise I would know what that token was for!

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on September 3, 2018 at 1:54 am

In the immediate post-WWII decade the Old South programmed a good number of foreign films, including the Boston premiere of “Open City.” Many films of a musical character seem to have been a specialty, both current ones and revivals. In the photos section I have posted numerous ads from the Boston Globe of those years to illustrate this.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 18, 2019 at 3:57 am

There is currently a Walgreen’s store at that spot across from the Old South Church.

RickJenkins on May 25, 2021 at 10:32 am

Thinking about our parallels with the pandemic of 1918 (and reading Fred Allen’s book) has got me fascinated with the vaudeville theaters. Any books, websites, resources or maps of that era?

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on May 25, 2021 at 12:01 pm

RickJenkins - just Google “Vaudeville” or “Vaudeville theatres” and you will get many responses.

William L. Coale, Ph.D.
William L. Coale, Ph.D. on December 22, 2021 at 7:05 pm

Re-opened August 9, 1920 with Arthur Martel at the organ. I’ve added a photo of the re-opening ad.

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