Niagara Temple

320 Blue Hill Avenue,
Roxbury, MA 02121

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Additional Info

Previous Names: Zenacon Temple

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NIAGARA TEMPLE Theatre, Boston, Massachusetts

The Niagara Temple was an early purpose-built neighborhood cinema in the Roxbury section of Boston. It was located on Blue Hill Avenue near Grove Hall. It was a free-standing structure with a fancy facade. It may have been operated at one time by the New England Theatres Operating Company. It apparently opened around 1908-1910. It was operating in 1927 as the Niagara Theatre.

Contributed by Ron Salters

Recent comments (view all 10 comments)

Roger Katz
Roger Katz on October 26, 2009 at 9:10 pm

The address was 320 Blue Hill Ave.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on October 27, 2009 at 2:00 pm

Thank you, Roger. I had been told that it was on the lower-numbered end of Blue Hill Ave, not far from the Shawmut/Roxie which was at 263 Blue Hill Ave. The 1927 Film Daily Yearbook lists it as being in Roxbury, open 7 days per week, and having 900 seats. However, I think that it had between 600 and 650 seats. Joe Cifre said that it was also known as Zenacon Temple, apparently when it was first opened.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on October 28, 2009 at 2:01 pm

It was a free-standing structure with an elaborate and distinctive facade. There was a side-street along the right side of the building. The entrance was in the center with a tiny retail store to the left and a slightly larger store on the right. A couple of steps (possibly marble) led up from the sidewalk to the center box-office with a pair of French doors on each side. There was an arch above the entrance which appears to be full of stained glass. There was a vertical sign in front of the arch, but no marquee. There was no NETOCO (New England Theatre Operating Co.) oval emblem out front, but the style of the photos of the exterior and interior is very much like the company photos which NETOCO made of their other theaters during the 1910-1920 period.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on November 3, 2009 at 2:41 pm

Although the facade of the Niagara Temple was rather ornate, the interior was quite plain. There was some decoration around the proscenium and on either side of it. On the upper rear wall was a small 2-port projection booth, which was not quite centered. Next to it was a small balcony with 3 or 4 rows of seats.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on November 6, 2009 at 2:11 am

When was this demolished and what is on the site now?

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on November 7, 2009 at 2:16 pm

The last reference I have to it is that it was listed in the 1927 Film Daily Yearbook. I don’t know what happened to it after that, or even if it was ever wired for sound. I can’t get a Google Street View for the address.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on February 7, 2011 at 2:51 pm

In a 1918 Boston street directory, the Niagara Temple is listed at 320 Blue Hill Avenue, east side, at or near Lawrence Avenue.

MarkB on May 13, 2011 at 5:44 pm

Here’s the Niagara Temple, 1915:

View link

MarkB on May 13, 2011 at 5:49 pm

There’s a single story brick block there now. There’s a non-profit in the building.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on August 24, 2012 at 2:08 pm

The photo posted above must have been made after a renovation project – the entrance is somewhat different than the original. That had a center boxoffice with a double door on each side, but it was wider, and also had 2 or 3 steps up from the sidewalk. The newer entrance seems to be at street level.

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