88 Tremont Street,
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Architects: Clarence H. Blackall
The Tremont Temple was an important film venue in downtown Boston from about 1910 to the late-1920’s. It presented feature films, often on a reserved-seat “roadshow” basis. Just as the nearby Old Howard was “a theater which looks like a church”, so the Tremont Temple was a church which looks like a theater. It was designed by prominent theater architect Clarence Blackall, and it has a theater-like facade and ornate auditorium with two balconies and theater seats rather than church pews. Movie presentation rights were leased out to various operators.
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Recent comments (view all 24 comments)
ken mc – but it’s not closed, it’s open. You can go there any Sunday morning and look the place over. By your logic, other former movie theaters here in CT which now present stage works should be listed as “Closed” – theaters like the Wang and Opera House in Boston, the New Amsterdam and Palace in NY, the Oriental and Chicago Theatre in Chicago, and so on. Perhaps if a movie theater has ceased operating and been drastically converted inside into, say, a bowling alley, then maybe one could list it in CT as “Closed”.
The Mystic Chorale, a ‘non-profit, volunteer run community chorus’, occasionally perform at Tremont Temple. I attended one of their shows last weekend.
What is the verdict on this building; was it ever a theatre or has it always been a church? Both the exterior and interior strongly suggest that it was initially intended to be a theatre. Here are a few shots from 2009: 1, 2
Definitely a church, as it is the fourth Tremont Temple to stand on this site. (See all the earlier comments.) It is listed here because it has also been used to show movies. Today it is still occasionally rented out for live performances.
JackCoursey’s 2 photos are beautiful. Yes, it is definitely a church; please see comments above. It was designed by a theater architect. It is the 4th Tremont Temple church on the same site. The very first was indeed a theater converted into a church. Each succeeding church was designed to look like a theater. The current one, opened in 1896, was used as a first-run movie house from about 1910 into the 1920s. It has 2582 seats, not 2852 as above.
Unfortunately the balance of the photos I made of the interior didnâ€™t turn out as well due very little lighting in the sanctuary/auditorium. The rear of the sanctuary continues with the theatre motif (note the projection booth in the top balcony and theatre seating rather than pews) whereas the pulpit is about the only area distinctively,â€¦..churchy.
JackCoursey- I can see what you mean by lighting— the photos make the place look run-down, cold and drab; whereas it isn’t like that at all when all the lights are on.
I was lucky enough to go inside of the building and take some photos.
Nice set of photos, Zach.
For the first time I can remember, Black Nativity will not be performed at Tremont Temple this December. Instead of twelve shows at Tremont Temple, there will be only four at Northeastern University. I don’t know why.