Wollaston Theatre - A Local Treasure
Very sad news. See most recent post about the Wollaston Theatre demolition. 💣
You know those beautiful old theaters in small town America that are gently and patiently preserved over time with love as little morsels of history. Well, unfortunately that is not what appears to be happening with the Wollaston Theatre.
I saw a movie there around ten years ago. I think it was "The English Patient." I ended up not liking the movie. I know, I'm the only one in the country who didn't like the movie, except for Elaine from Seinfeld. I just looked it up and it actually won the Academey Award for Best Picture in 1996. But anyway, I loved the theater. It was beautiful, old, and majestic, but on its last leg. Chairs needed repairs. It was very worn, but could be restored to its former glory with some work. I always thought that some historical society or someone would fix it up.
I've been doing some research trying to find out more about this lovely movie house and have learned a few things. There is an interesting website called Cinema Treasures, where you can find information about these movie houses all over the country. The listing for Wollaston Theatre has a comment section, where starting in March of 2004, people have been writing their memories and sharing information about the "Wolly." As of this writing, the last comment was written a little over a month ago. I may add a comment myself.
The theater was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1989 (Building - #89001315) and the architectural style is Classical Revival. I took some pictures earlier this evening, just before sunset, which now is around 7:00. You gotta love Daylight Savings Time!
A Historical and Architectural Survey was done, which provides more information about
"The Wollaston Theatre is a well-loved aspect of Wollaston community life and every effort should be made to insure its preservation. It was built as a 1259-seat legitimate theatre at a cost of $90,000 in 1926. The original owner was W. W. Wilson, a Wollaston realtor, but he sold it to the well-known contractor Edward H. Sears, who had actually built the building, by 1932. The architect for the building is listed as "James Tucker" which may be James A. Tuck of Boston. In between 1930 and 1935, the structure was converted to a movie theatre. In an amazing example of longevity of ownership, the Sears retained the theatre until 1977 when they sold it to the present owner, Arthur Chandler."
I don't know what Mr. Chandler's plans for the building are now, but I do hope that he or whoever is in charge would do what the survey has recommended and preserve it. Quincy is full of so much history, which is one of the reasons I love living here. This little theater is part of that history and could be a vital part of the community once again.
Based on what I saw of the comments about the theater, many people are interested in seeing the theater preserved and seem willing to work toward that goal. If there are grants that could be used to pay for the work, it looks like there could be many volunteers, myself included.