Built in 1924
Pete Pinkelman and Albert Cory, the original owners of the Washington Theater,
had hoped the facility would be ready for Easter Sunday of 1924. Although
this was not possible, the theater received its first audience of over 5000
patrons on June 19, 1924.
The theater was designed by either E.P. Rupert or Rueben Levin,
architects from Chicago, who reportedly had the idea for the theater
when enjoying a visit to Washington Park on a Sunday afternoon in
July of 1921. Following this vision of a beautiful theater fronting
Washington Park, the construction of the building began on October
The façade of the theater was constructed of brick with glazed
terra cotta ornamentation in the Mediterranean Revival style. It
is a beautiful building and listed as a contributing structure for
the Quincy Downtown National Register of Historic Structures District.
The theater originally could seat 1480 patrons who could enjoy the “mighty
Wurlitzer” pipe organ and gaze at the beautiful fire curtain featuring
a picture of George Washington.
Remodeled in 1926
Following the purchase of the theater by Balaban & Katz, the structure
was remodeled to better accommodate the needs of patrons and performers. The
improvements included lowering the stage 14 inches for better visibility, installing
a Typhoon or swamp cooling system to keep the temperature at an even 70 degrees,
adding two exits onto Hampshire Street, redecorating the lobby and auditorium,
replacing the dressing rooms for the actors and actresses, and installing new
lighting for the stage. The theater continued to host vaudeville acts with
a live orchestra and photoplays, including “The Brown Derby” with “The Lights
of New York” playing as Quincy's first talking picture show.
Sold in 1971
Kerasotes Theater purchased the Washington Theater on October 1, 1971. The
Kerasotes chain operated the theater as a movie house until September 30,
1982. Shortly after closing the theater, Kerasotes donated the structure
to the City of Quincy. Sunwest Corporation acquired the theater in the late
80's through a contract arrangement with the City. The Sunwest Corporation
made substantial improvements to the storefront and basement space. Unfortunately,
the auditorium has been neglected and used only for storage. The City regained
possession of the theater in 2000.