Bates Theatre

7 N. Main Street,
Attleboro, MA 02703

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Oldmoviehaze on February 27, 2018 at 6:38 am

So I have lived in Attleboro my entire life and I actually live in the Bates building now I also rent office space or the first floor as well and what I do know is by says great great great great grandfather there May have been one to many grates but something I noticed it does it get mentioned is that it actually closes 1952 it could be longer compete with the movie theater on Union Street and that’s information from the mayors office… there my sons ancestor William H golf built the base building he was the architect and actually only recently found this out so I wanted to make sure that I put it on here I couldn’t believe it and we had just found it out for like records and going back by so it’s father doesn’t really know his dad so we had to hunt some of his old family down but so much information about the family is amazing for both families is cool

steverobichaud on September 24, 2015 at 3:28 am

First full length movie was “Birth of a Nation”? That was a foul racist pro-KKK propaganda film. How does that fit your liberal mindset?

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on June 3, 2013 at 7:37 pm

The Theatre Historical Society archive in Illinois has the MGM Theatre Report for the Bates Theatre. It gives the address as 4 Park Street. The theatre was in Fair condition and had been showing MGM product for 6 years (from 1935). There were 621 orchestra seats and 358 balcony seats, total: 979. Competing theaters were the Union in Attleboro, and the Darlton in Pawtucket RI. There is an exterior photo taken in May 1941.

James Fisher
James Fisher on June 13, 2011 at 8:38 pm

thanks i have a few pictures of the theatres i worked in or associated with over the years

TLSLOEWS on March 2, 2010 at 11:30 pm

Nice vintage photo James Fisher.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on June 4, 2009 at 7:15 pm

The Bates Opera House in Attleboro is listed in the 1927 Film Daily Yearbook as having 1000 seats and being open 6 days per week.

James Fisher
James Fisher on April 29, 2007 at 7:35 am

well it was wrong the theatre was located on the upper floor there two sets of stairs leading up that are still there wide granite stairs the inside was spectacular from what i have heard ,large ceiling with chandeliers. box office was on ground floor main entrance, concession at the head of the stair and then the stair leading in to the orchestra and opening night the tickets were set at a low .05cents til the late 1920 at which point you could get your self a drink and popcorn for .20 costing around .25 per person which then was a lot of money for most of the Jewelry city population

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on November 22, 2006 at 3:06 pm

The Bates' Opera House is listed under Attleboro, MA in the 1897-98 edition of Julius Cahn’s Official Theatrical Guide, an annual publication for roadshow producers and stage managers. It refers twice to the theatre as Bates', in the possesive, (pronounced “Bates-es”). The listing says that the theatre had about 1,000 seats, with a stage 43 feet deep, and a proscenium arch 30 feet wide and 27 feet high. It says the theatre was on the ground floor, and ticket prices ranged from 25 cents to $1; the Manager was J. G. Hutchinson. The house orchestra had 7 members, led by T. Link. There was apparently a Bates' Opera Cafe in or near the theatre. The population of Attleboro in 1897 was 8,000. There was also a Bates Opera House in Weymouth MA, in Weymouth Landing, right on the Weymouth-Braintree town line.

James Fisher
James Fisher on November 5, 2005 at 12:42 am

Just a tag info on Bates: i lived in Attleboro and worked @ the Union for many years from July 4 1976/ 1991. Only 9 then when i stated helping out, i recall alot of things Roxy Pichi talked about. How he started out and then he became the Assist Manager/Manager for the Bates til 1945 and in 1946 he transfered to operate the Union Theatre at age 22. Recalling alot of talk Roxy did as i grew up spending time in the Union Theatre with dreams of my own i know the Bates owned the Union The admissiont to the Bates was nothing like today a mere 10 cents lol and in 1946 it was just a quarter i know that Admission to the Union on Dec 23,1955 went to 65cents for adults and 30 cents for children only due to the Disneyrama (Walt Disney Cartoons)feel free to email me i my self have Managed 9 Theatre’s and three drive in’s now iam working for Disney wow!

Roland L.
Roland L. on June 22, 2005 at 6:19 pm

The Bates Opera House opened on Sept. 30th, 1886 with the play Richelieu starring Lawrence Barrett. The building itself was erected and donated to the city of Attleboro by Joseph M. Bates, a noted local jewelry manufacturer.

The original opera house had the lobby on the second floor and the ornate boxes occupied the second floor but the theater ceiling did sweep up and occupy most of the third floor.

On January 31, 1912, a steam automobile was turning the corner of North Main St. lost control and actually backed into the plate glass window of a store on the first floor. The vehicle exploded inside the shop and caught fire to the shop. The Bates Opera Theater was significantly destroyed and the ornate seating boxes and crystal chandelier were lost.

It took one year to rebuild sans ornate seating boxes and the elaborate glass chandelier fashioned for the original theater. A fourth floor was added to the building at this time and the name was changed to the New Bates Theater owned by the Bates Theater Company.

The Bates Opera House starting showing silent films in 1909 to compete with the Columbia Theater on Bank St. and lured Thomas Heywood from the Orpheum Theater located on Pine and Park Sts.

In 1915, the New Bates Theater was the first in the city to show a full-length movie (12 reels) called “Birth of a Nation”. This picture was originally traveled with its own orchestra!

I’ll be posting more on the creation of the Orpheum (very interesting!), Gem, Park and Star theaters separately.

The Bates Theater Company would later acquire the Columbia Theater in 1915 but let it run independently until 1924 where management would later affiliate the Columbia and New Bates theaters.

In 1928, the New Bates and Columbia Theaters were leased to the Savoy Corporation. The Columbia continued under their direction until 1935 when it was razed.

I am still unclear as to the last year the New Bates Theater operated. According to print, I can only assume that the New Bates ran until at least 1946 where the owners had plans to modernize the theater. Television and other factors forced them to abandon their plans and soon afterwards new plans utilizing the area for office space soon appeared.

hollister22nh on June 8, 2005 at 9:19 pm

The organ from this theater was sold to Jack Sherman of Maplewood NJ. I have no idea what he did with it.


Roland L.
Roland L. on May 12, 2005 at 8:32 pm

I took these pictures today. Here is a picture of the plaque commemorating the Bates Opera House. This is NOT the bronze plaque that used to be here some 20 years ago. The building in the background with gold brick is the Bronson Building. The plaque is in front of the Bates Building on Park St.

Oh, the address for the building is 4 Park St.

View link

Here is a picture of the building as it exists today. The Cooper store is now located on the left side of the building on North Main St.

View link

If you have time on your hands, go to the new entrance of the building on 7 North Main St. to the left of Coopers. There are a few blown up 1890’s pictures of the building with this exact viewing angle.

Roland L.
Roland L. on May 12, 2005 at 7:07 am

Here are some more pictures of the Bates and a treat for Craig P, it also shows Coopers!

View link

Look at the top right for a collage postcard view.

View link

Roland L.
Roland L. on May 12, 2005 at 5:06 am

lostmemory, just a few pages deeper into that article you found was this picture.

I worked in Attleboro for over 25 years and I believe there is a bronze plaque marking the Bates Motel location also.

View link

chpaton on May 6, 2005 at 2:26 am


Your information is about the same “Bates” as mine. The locations are “identical” and your comment jogged my old doddering memory. My grandmother refered to it as the “Bates Opera Hous” not the Bates Theater.

chpaton on April 28, 2005 at 3:51 am

I grew up in Attlebore in the 50’s & 60’s and the Bates was already gone by then. However my parents and grandparents recalled it and passed on a smidgen of information to me.

This is what I know:

The Bates was located right in the middle of the major downtown street intersection. Located in a building on the corner of North Main St and Park St. directly across N. Main from the “Bronson Building” and in close proximity to County St. and South Main St. My parents indicated that the Bates was somewhat more upscale than its nearest competitor the Union.

After the theater was closed the building was converted to retail use. When I lived in Attleboro during the 50s' and 60’s the building housed a bank, a ladies clothier “Milady’s”, a tobaconist – news stand – soda fountain “Coopers”, and several other retail shops.