Park Theatre (Boston)

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The Park Theatre (est.1879) was a playhouse in Boston, Massachusetts, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It later became the State cinema.[1] Located on Washington Street, near Boylston Street, the building existed until 1990.


In 1879 Henry E. Abbey, proprietor of the Park Theatre in New York, opened Boston's Park Theatre.[2] It occupied the building of the former Beethoven Hall, "reconstructed and practically rebuilt;" its 1,184-seat auditorium was "60 feet wide, 63 from the state to the doors, and 50 feet high."[3] It sat on Washington Street at the corner of Boylston Street in today's Chinatown/Theatre district.[4] In the 1890s it presented "farcical comedy."[5] Managers and proprietors included Henry E. Abbey;[6] Jack A. Crabtree;[7][8] Lotta Crabtree;[9] Charles Frohman, Rich & Harris;[10] Lawrence McCarty;[11] John B. Schoeffel (Abbey & Schoeffel);[6][7] John Stetson Jr.;[12] and Eugene Tompkins.[11][12][13][14] Louis Baer led the 11-piece orchestra in the 1890s.[15] In the 20th century the building became "Minsky's Park Burlesque," the "Hub," "Trans-Lux,"[16][17] and then "The State" cinema.[18] The building survived until its razing in 1990.[19][20]




  1. ^ As of 1980: "The oldest playhouse in Boston still operating as a theater has seen better days. The State, now a Combat Zone flagship for porn films, opened in 1879 as the Park Theater. It was built by famous actress Lotta Crabtree who also had constructed a private tunnel from the theater to the nearby hotel where she lived. Edwin Booth and Richard Mansfield were among the great stars who played the theater as did Jeanne Eagels in her famous role of Sadie Thompson in 'Rain.' The theater did a slow slide into burlesque where Gypsy Rose Lee made her only local strips, and into second runs and down to porn." cf. George McKinnon. "A born-again Wilbur will celebrate success." Boston Globe, 20 Jan 1980
  2. ^ Henry E. Abbey (1845-1896). "Death of Henry E. Abbey." New York Times, October 18, 1896
  3. ^ Moses King (1881), Kings Handbook of Boston, M. King, OCLC 778544 
  4. ^ no.619 Washington Street. Boston Almanac, 1880-1882. Boston Almanac and Business Directory, 1887, 1891, 1894. Boston register, 1921
  5. ^ Appleton's general guide to the United States and Canada, New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1893, OCLC 11144549 
  6. ^ a b Justin Winsor (1881), The memorial history of Boston, v.4, Boston: Ticknor and Company, OCLC 1838124 
  7. ^ a b Richard Herndon and Edwin M. Bacon, eds. (1892), Boston of to-day, Boston: Post Pub. Co., OCLC 4430662 
  8. ^ John (Jack) Ashworth Crabtree (1854-1920), brother of Lotta Crabree. Harvard Univ. Lotta Crabtree Will Case, 1870-1928 : Finding Aid
  9. ^ Alan Dale. Familiar chats with the queens of the stage. NY: G. W. Dillingham, 1890
  10. ^ Boston Evening Transcript, 17 April 1908
  11. ^ a b c Eugene Tompkins, Quincy Kilby (1908), The history of the Boston Theatre, 1854-1901, Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, OCLC 1384867 
  12. ^ a b c Michael Bennett Leavitt (1912), Fifty years in the theatrical management, New York: Broadway Pub. Co. 
  13. ^ Eugene Tompkins (1850-1909). John William Leonard, ed. Men of America: a biographical dictionary of contemporaries. NY: L.R. Hamersly & company, 1908
  14. ^ New York Times, February 23, 1909
  15. ^ Julius Cahn's official theatrical guide: containing information of the leading theatres and attractions in America. NY: 1898
  16. ^ State Theatre, 617 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02111
  17. ^ Boston Athenæum Theater History, Park Theatre (1879-1990)
  18. ^ "State Theater 1," no.617 Washington St., Boston. "Downtown Boston theater loses license for 3 days." Boston Globe, 19 July 1983
  19. ^ Sweeney, Emily. Once a relic of the past, earthy art form sees a revival. Boston Globe, 09 Apr 2009
  20. ^ McLaughlin, Jeff. "Midtown cultural district headed for reality." Boston Globe, 13 Oct 1987
  21. ^ a b c "Boston Notes." The Theatre (NY), no.5, v.1, April 19, 1886
  22. ^ Charles E. L. Wingate (1888), The playgoers' year-book, for 1888, Boston: State Pub. Co. 
  23. ^ The players blue book. Worcester, Mass.: Sutherland & Storms, 1901
  24. ^ a b John Bouvé Clapp and Edwin Francis Edget (1899), Players of the present, New York: Dunlap Society, ISBN 0-8337-0577-6, 0833705776 
  25. ^ New York Times, June 20, 1897
  26. ^ New York Times, July 18, 1893
  27. ^ New York Times, September 12, 1893
  28. ^ Who's who on the stage; the dramatic reference book and biographic al dictionary of the theatre, New York: W. Browne & F. A. Austin, 1906, OCLC 1548066 
  29. ^ Neil Miller (2010), Banned in Boston: the Watch and Ward Society's Crusade Against Books, Burlesque, and the Social Evil, Boston: Beacon Press, ISBN 9780807051122 – via Overdrive  (subscription required)
  30. ^ The Billboard, Nov. 30, 1907
  31. ^ Anne Alison Barnet. Extravaganza king: Robert Barnet and Boston musical theatre. Northeastern University Press, 2004
  32. ^ Original Jan 11, 1904 playbill
  33. ^ a b Boston Globe, January 5, 1915
  34. ^ a b Boston Globe, May 22, 1917
  35. ^ Boston Globe, Feb 10, 1920
  36. ^ Boston Globe, December 12, 1922

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Coordinates: 42°21′9.86″N 71°3′45.35″W / 42.3527389°N 71.0625972°W / 42.3527389; -71.0625972