Bullock's Theatre

34 Richmond Street,
Providence, RI 02906

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Additional Info

Previous Names: Bullock's Temple of Amusement, Globe Theatre

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The former Richmond Street Congregational Church of 1853 was sold in 1905. It was converted into a vaudeville theatre and motion picture theatre in 1909, named Bullock’s Theatre. This silent-era theatre in downtown Providence was razed in April 1927 together with the Gaiety Theatre to build Loew’s State Theatre which opened in 1928. It was also called Bullock’s Temple of Amusement.

Contributed by Gerald A. DeLuca

Recent comments (view all 11 comments)

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 15, 2005 at 4:05 pm

Ad from 1910: “Popular-priced vaudeville theatre of Providence. The home of everything that is god. First-class vaudeville and motion pictures. Three hours show without a repeat for 10 cents.”

The Bullock’s location was Richmond Street at Pine Street, a block from Weybosset Street and behind where Loew’s State Theatre (the future PPAC) would be built.

Ads indicate the theatre had a balcony.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 18, 2005 at 2:36 am

A book called "Temples of Illusion,” by Roger Brett, was published in 1976. It is Mr. Brett’s detailed history of all the old downtown area theatres of Providence from 1871 to 1950. It includes numerous rare photos, a list of theatres with name changes, and a map to show exactly where they all were. The book is an invaluable resource and is owned by many libraries in the R.I. CLAN system. I found a copy for sale online and will use it as a reference for future postings.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 18, 2005 at 3:41 pm

Bullock’s was the first motion picture theatre in Providence…and probably in the state of Rhode Island.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 21, 2005 at 4:47 pm

Um, no. According to Roger Brett in Temples of Illusion, the first regular movie operation in Providence was the Nickel Theatre on Westminster Street, beginning on April 18, 1906. Before that only a few helter-skelter presentations of the Vitascope and Lumière Cinématographe had take place, incluidng a notable presentation of The Great Train Robbery at Music Hall, another Westminster Street Theatre around 1905.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 26, 2005 at 6:19 am

Roger Brett wrote in Temples of Illusionon the birth of this theatre:

“Bullock’s Theater and Temple of Amusement” was the jaw beaking name of the next movie house after the [Bijou] to throw open its doors to the public. Taking a lead from Charles F. Allen, Mr. T. R. Bullock leased the lofty Richmond Street Baptist Church with its twin towers faintly suggesting Notre Dame of Paris on a small scale, and opened it as a theater with movies, vaudeville and illustrated songs on May 26, 1909. R. B. Royce was Mr. Bullock’s manager.

“Bullock’s had a balcony of sorts, formerly the choir loft. Seats up there afforded a better view than did those on the flat orchestra floor and Bullock’s had the distinction of being the only theater where balcony seats were priced higher than orchestra seats. They could not have numbered more than 100 and went for 15¢. The orchestra is known to have had 500 seats for 10¢ apiece. Although the interior was remodeled under the direction of a real designer, Rene Quentin, no effort was made to change the outward appearance of the old brick church save for the addition of a few "three-sheet” sign boards.

“It was all very unpretentious, a typical small family theatre of the period and conveniently located on the Eddy Street carline which made it easily accessible to the working class people of South Providence. As its name suggested, it was a very popular temple of amusement.”

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 26, 2005 at 7:16 am

Epilog…from Roger Brett’s above mentioned book:

“Bullock’s, wounded mortally when the Emery opened, changed its name to the Globe Theater for the season of 1915-16 and closed in the spring. After remodeling, it opened as the Globe Roller Rink in November of 1916.”

Loew’s State Theatre (now Providence Performing Arts Center) and adjacent shops in the theatre block eventually replaced both this theatre and the Gaiety.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 9, 2006 at 4:25 am

Here is a photo of Mathewson Street taken between 1910 and 1914 (expand the image for clearer detail). In the distance you can see the twin towers of Bullock’s Theatre at the corner of Pine and Richmond Streets. In the foreground, circled in red, are the Casino Theatre and on the right the Scenic Temple, later known as the Rialto.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on January 2, 2011 at 9:52 am

What Bullock’s Theatre was offering on January 21, 1911:

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 3, 2011 at 6:39 am

The April 17, 1909, issue of The Moving Picture World had this item about T.R. Bullock’s new theater:[quote]“AMUSEMENT PALACE FOR PROVIDENCE.

“A new motion picture house with a seating capacity of about twelve hundred will open soon in Providence, R. I., at 34 and 38 Richmond street. According to the plans now made by Mr. T. R. Bullock, the proprietor, it will be one of the finest in New England. The billiard and pool tables that formerly occupied the hall have been moved into new quarters and it will be the only building of its kind that has so many of the popular sports of the day under one roof—-namely, billiards, pool, bowling, moving pictures, vaudeville and illustrated songs. It will be very unique in this way, as it will give our patrons a chance to bring their families to enjoy the theater while they are playing billiards or bowling. As all of the different entertainments are under one roof it does not make it necessary for anyone to leave the building to go from one entertainment to the other. The place will be known as Bullock’s Temple of Amusement, the name that Mr. Bullock has used since he opened the place four years ago. Mr. R. B. Royce will have charge of the house and assist Mr. Bullock in the management and booking of the vaudeville. Mr. Royce is well known to the Summer park people and sends greeting to all of his friends. Bullock’s Temple of Amusement Orchestra will furnish the music under the leadership of Mr. Geo. Wallace. Mr. Bullock has signed with the Motion Picture Patents Company, so that good pictures are assured. These will be changed on Mondays and Thursdays. It is expected that the house will open on May 11.“[/quote]

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on April 8, 2011 at 3:04 pm

Thanks Joe, In 1909 this was an event for the whole region.sorta like a twin Theatre concept.

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