Adams Theatre

No. 8699 Matchbook cover with illustration of the Adams Theatre.

The Adams Theatre was located at 735 Adams Street, near Gallivan Boulevard.

No. 18712 Detail from plate 30 of the 1933 Bromley Atlas showing the property owned by Catherine D. Pierce, later the location of the Adams Theatre.


RE: the Adams Theatre, October 2006:

I remember when it was new and first time I went there
it had “fancy seats”– sliding– most comfortable of any Theatre
in Dorchester especially the “Mattapan” with the benches in first
couple of rows! The “Orie” [the Oriental Theatre] was always the best w/clouds etc and the “Coddie” [Codman Square] had the best “second Balcony” (and the meanest ushers)

The Adams Theater pictured was on Adams just N of Minot St. Where the Apt. Bldg now stands. It was not really a very elegant theater- without the fanciful wall paintings of the Dorchester Theater or the size of the Field’s Corner. The place you referred to: corner of Gallivan and Hallet was occupied by Sholl’s Roller Skating Rink even after the ‘new ‘Adam’s Theater was built. I don’t think there was ever an old Adams Theater but it was called the new Adam’s Theater as it was the first new theater built in some time.

The address on the matchbox is 735 Adams Street. Current day 735 Adams Street is the rear apartment building in the complex just North of the Shell station across from Sonny’s restaurant in Adams Village. That would place the theatre North of Minot Street on or just off Adams Street. Is it possible the apartment buildings were built on the site of the theater?

I remember seeing “Johnny Tremain” there circa 1960. The theatre was typical of the era (if memory serves), nicer than the then Strand on Dorchester Ave, but no where near as elaborate as the ones on Tremont St in Boston. Perhaps the reference to “finest” has more to do with amenities like parking, seat comfort, and improved screen and sound equipment?

The Adams Theater was a neighborhood movie theater located on Adams Street opposite Saranac Street (the street that forks off of Minot). It was build on part of the land that was part of the Pierce house on Adams Street. It was built, I would guess in the 1940s and torn down in the early sixties to make way for the large brick apartment building that is across from O’Connell’s funeral home. The Pierce house was torn down for the Shell gas station. I remember seeing the 10 Commandments there and the Horse Soldiers (1959) there. It was very much like the Wallaston theater that is now closed except it was a little smaller. I think it was newer and the seats were padded like most modern theaters, kind of a brown leather like padding. I think it was the “new” Adams Street theater to distinguish it from the older theaters in the neighborhood. It had a small stage but a big screen. It was built as a movie house. It could handle cinimiscope, and the newer technologies. My mother would talk about the older neighborhood theaters that were like the East Milton Sq. theater, just store fronts basically that widened into movie houses. They had continuous running double features, a news real. a cartoon and for the matinee, a serial. Kids were .25, adults were $1 after 6 and I think .50 before. Also, they gave out dishes as a premium.

Adams Theatre

April 2009 from Paul DeLorey

The Adams St Theatre used to be where the apt buildings are now-across from O’Connor Funeral home. The theatre was torn down about 1968-70. I remember seeing sat afternoon movies for 25 cents. I wish someone had a picture of the theatre-I can’t remember it well-I was too young. Paul D.

April 2009 from Paul Cass

I remember the July 4th holidays when the politician’s put on some big shows. The Adams Theater had an Elephant on its stage back then for the summer holiday and the line to get in went all the way to the back lot and doubled back to Adams street.


Posted on

April 23, 2020