Fellsway Theatre

Salem Street,
Medford, MA

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Additional Info

Functions: Retail

Styles: Art Deco

Nearby Theaters

Fellsway Theatre

Located next to a trolley barn on Salem Street.

A sign attached to a now retail building reads: “The Old Fellsway Theatre, circa 1916”.

Could it have been under the same ownership previously as the Medford 1-2-3?

Any additional information on the theatre is appreciated.

Contributed by Brad

Recent comments (view all 12 comments)

bradlee on April 3, 2005 at 12:49 pm

Your right Ron it is spelled Fellsway.The trolley barn next door to the left has an address of 465 Salem street. The actual building looks as if it extended to the street at one time.I can find no examples other than a non descript sign saying it was once a theatre.

As for the comment from dwodeyla, is it possible the Square theatre became the Medford 1-2-3?,also known as The Dyer building.As far as the 1800 seater, I have no idea.

The Chevalier Theatre is also in Medford and I will make a listing today.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on April 3, 2005 at 2:51 pm

The Chevalier looks like a cool place, but did it ever show movies? Only movie theatres (or ex-movie theatres) can be listed here at CinemaTreasures.

David Wodeyla
David Wodeyla on April 3, 2005 at 5:42 pm

Film Daily 1934 also lists a theatre called Riverside, which had recently closed. The Fellsway is listed in the 1957 edition without the seating capacity (could it have closed by then?) And the Medford Theatre is listed as 34 Salem St. with 1289 seats.

jbowen on May 1, 2005 at 2:20 pm

The Chevalier Theatre is a huge 2,500 seat auditorium that used to be part of the old Medford High School on Forest St. It is now operated by the city as a stage/concert theatre after being dormant for many years. It has never been a movie theatre.

lawrence1000 on September 8, 2005 at 6:12 am

The Fellsway Theatre was open well into the 1960’s but I do not recall exactly when it closed. The Square theater was in Medford Square across the street(Salem St) from the Medford Theatre.Larry Kimball

BTLarkin on September 16, 2005 at 4:53 pm

The Medford Theater was located on Salem Street, about a hundred yards from Medford Square. This is where Saturday matinees @
10 cents per kid were held during the Depression. Try as we could, we never managed to see every blasted one of the 12 or 14 installments of serials (Flash Gordon, cowboys, etc.)

Across Salem St. was a big building, with an immense empty space inside. This was outfitted as a cinema (Riverside Theater). Entrance was on far side, facing away from Salem St. We watched Shirley Temple there in the early 30s. Bad location for the entrance, the theater closing in mid-30s. The street, Riverside Avenue, had become quite a backwater after the great days of wooden ships there.

In a burst of publicity, the above theater reopened as Square
Theater, in late 30s. Its specialty … Proven Pictures … classics from the past. This time, the entrance was on Salem St., where it should have been all along. Its marquee was offset from that of the M.T. by perhaps 50 yards, and of course on opposite sides of Salem St. Was there any rivalry?

A little screen just inside the new entrance, and up above the
ticket booth, played short cartoons during the first few months
to build a new audience for the place. This, then, was the mixed history of the Riverside/Square Theater.

The Fellsway Theater was a good distance off, also on Salem
St., but almost halfway to Malden Square (next to the car
barn someone mentioned). This would have been a fine vantage
point for an observer of long ago to watch the winter sleighs
go by on their annual pellmell races from Medford Sq. to Malden Sq. See Jingle Bells for more race details.

Chevalier Auditorium … never a theater. This was the second
auditorium within the local high school. Luxurious. Huge balcony,
“U” shaped, with wings that clung to the walls, narrowing,
reaching almost to the stage!

Under the auditorium was a gymnasium, as lasge as the auditorium, and equipped with full-height, folding doors that could divide the place into two basketball courts. Folding bleachers were present.

So, Chevalier A. was never a theater in any way, as seen from the details above.

All three theaters were equipped with the mandatory working
stages, multiple curtains operated manually via ropes and counterweights. Dressing rooms would have certainly been present for costume changes.

Revivals of vaudeville were tried from time to time. Even the Square Theater lined up an eager row of young ones on stage,
along the footlights, in contests. The paddles had long elastics
with rubber balls on their ends. These were sent vigorously out over the front rows. A paddle miss put you out of competition!

Yoyos were introduced to the local population the same way. In the
above manner, vaudeville came back to its former venues, just a bit!


michaelc26 on October 15, 2005 at 10:03 am

Go to ChevalierTheatreOrgan.org, to find out about the 2/9 Wurlizer
theatre organ being restored at the Chevalier Theatre.
The theatre was the old high school auditorium and an organ chamber was created when the theatre was renovated. the society is a 501©
charity and is looking for donations towards the $55,000.00 needed to fully restore the organ.

Monday October 17,2005 at 7:30 PM at the Medford Public library, the society will be giving a presentation on the important part theatre organs played in the so called silent film era.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on April 15, 2006 at 3:24 pm

This building now contains Anthony’s Wine and Liquors, along with two smaller storefronts. The liquor store’s address is 269-267 Spring Street. That is probably how the theatre should be listed here, unless someone has another address from an old advertisement or directory.

Burlington13 on May 30, 2008 at 2:14 pm

This theatre was on Spring Street, around the corner from the old car barns on Salem St. I think they made the second floor into a pool room or it was in the next building on the second floor. The area in front of the theatre was called a square but I forget the name of it, does anyone remember?

elpowers36 on November 2, 2008 at 12:43 am

circa 1943-1954: The Fellsway Theater was in Stevens Square (formerly named Haines Square) at the junction of Spring Street and Salem Street. To the left of the theater on the corner was a drugstore and above the drugstore was a dentist office. To the right of the theater was a liquor store, hair salon/barber shop, and on the corner was a branch of the Medford Savings Bank. Above those businesses was a pool hall. The “Car Barns” (trolley and bus yard) was to the rear of the theater. The kids used to call the theater “The Bug House” and the long-time theater usher was a man called “Charlie”. There was always a double feature, Coming Attractions, Newsreel, and a cartoon. At the Saturday matinee there was also an episode of a Serial. During the War they used to turn on the house lights between the double feature and collect money for war bonds.

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