Central Theatre

11 Oak Street,
Lawrence, MA 01841

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Additional Info

Firms: Whittmore, Walsh & Clapp

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Central Theatre

The Central Theatre was opened in 1940 and was a small privately owned neighborhood theatre. It ran continuous showings of movies, cartoons, news and shorts, weekly serials. On Saturdays they held raffles and the lucky ticket holds would win bicycles. This was all done in the early-1950’s. It was the perfect place to send the kids for the day. We were allowed to bring our lunches and then buy candy, ice cream etc. at the concession stand. When I first stated going there in the early-1950’s ticket prices were about 10 cents., then went up to 25 cents. It was owned by Val Jean who was a band leader at one time.

The Central Theatre was the last of the single screen theatres in Lawrence, MA. While most auditoriums shut down, this theatre continued to run movies until 1986. In its last few years of operation, it had Spanish-language films early in the week, then a double feature on weekends. It then became a church and was demolished May 14, 2018.

Contributed by Jim Fraas, Vincent Santapaola

Recent comments (view all 14 comments)

Lancerfan on February 1, 2007 at 4:15 pm

Ron Salters, Where can I find ther MGM Photograph and Reports form with the picture you mentioned? I tried to look it up on the web and cannot find it there nor on the bookstore web sites.

kencmcintyre on March 9, 2007 at 1:28 pm

This is an abandoned theater in Lawrence, but I can’t say that it’s the Central. It’s certainly not either of the other two Lawrence theaters listed on CT:

Lancerfan on March 9, 2007 at 4:04 pm

Thank You for the picture. I believe this is probably the Central Theater in Lawrence when it was abandoned. I was looking for a picture of what it looked back when it was an operating theater – inside pictures too if poossible, but I don’t think there are any. It looks very different now on the outside. There is no Marquee and the front entrance is a flagstone. The church has done a nice job. Thanks Again.

Lancerfan on March 9, 2007 at 4:07 pm

I forgot to mention they did find some old theater things inside when they were clearing it out, but I am not sure what they did with them. They were looking to see if it could be named a historical site, but they need more information on it. I will continue to look.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on April 22, 2007 at 7:34 am

The photo link posted above on March 9 by ken mc matches the 1941 photo of the Central Theatre, even to the little jog in the center of the roof line above the entrance. Lancerfan, for an explanation of the MGM Theatre Photograph and Report project, see under the Warner Theatre in Worcester.

Mirelys19 on March 10, 2011 at 7:02 pm

If I had the money to fix it up and reopen it i would do it. I’m not from lawrence but I was practically raised here. There is so much potential in this little city and I believe the abandoned places like these should be fixed so the new generations can enjoy them.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on March 10, 2011 at 7:41 pm

Mirelys V. I think most all of us on CT have thought that about the old Hometown theatre no matter where Home is.

MValley on August 4, 2015 at 7:05 am

My Uncle owned this theatre and it was on BROADWAY and the picture is incorrect.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on August 5, 2015 at 10:36 am

The Central Theatre was on Oak Street, not Broadway. The street-view picture is correct. The building in the picture matches exactly the building in a 1941 photo of the Central Theatre in Lawrence. there were several theatres on Broadway, but the Central was not one of them.

chitchatjf on May 14, 2018 at 4:28 pm

demolished on 5/14/18

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