Bates Opera House

4 Commercial Street,
Braintree, MA 02184

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Although thought of as a Weymouth theater, the Bates Opera House was actually in Braintree: its south sidewall overlooked Brookside Road on the Braintree-Weymouth town line. It was built by Samuel Bates in the 1860’s and was a rectangular building 4 stories high. The auditorium and stage were apparently on the second floor. It later went over to movies and was demolished around 1930.

Contributed by Ron Salters

Recent comments (view all 8 comments)

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on October 31, 2011 at 10:30 am

A friend told me that when she moved to East Braintree around 1960 she had a neighbor who told her that one of the fun things that she did in the 1920s was to walk to Weymouth Landing with her siblings on Sunday evenings to attend a show at the Bates Opera House. The show consisted of a feature movie preceeded by several acts of vaudeville.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on October 31, 2011 at 11:08 am

The Bates Opera House was located right in Weymouth Landing, on the west side of the business district. It was 4 stories high. In the 1920s and perhaps earlier it had a verticle sign which spelled out “Bates Opera House” in white or light letters on a black or dark background. The verticle was attached to the center of the facade. But looking at old photos, it’s difficult to determine where the theater entrance was in relation to the verticle sign above.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on November 1, 2011 at 10:26 am

The Bates Opera House in Braintree was on a long list of theaters in Massachusetts which received state licenses for the period ending Oct 31, 1914. Its condition was “Good”, and Louis F. Bates was Manager.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on November 3, 2011 at 10:55 am

The map and the Google Street View are incorrect; the theater was located a few hundred yards away from the location shown. There is a pub and a pizza place on the site today (west side of Weymouth Landing).

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on November 8, 2011 at 11:14 am

In the 1927 Film Daily Yearbook the Bates Opera House is listed under Weymouth MA instead of Braintree where it belongs. It had 800 seats and was open one day per week (probably Sundays).

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on June 14, 2012 at 10:40 am

The Quincy Patriot Ledger of June 13 has an article “Proposal calls for replacing building in Weymouth Landing” by Fred Hanson which reports that the owners of the building containing The Landing Pub and Ultimate Pizza have plans to demolish the structure and put up a new commercial building. The article says that the Bates Opera House was erected on this site in the mid-19th Century, and that the present building was constructed in the 1930s on the foundations of the Bates Opera House.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on April 6, 2015 at 10:25 am

The one-story commercial building erected decades ago on the site of the Bates Opera House was damaged by fire two weeks ago and was demolished last week. It was slated for demolition anyway for a new commercial building. In the media reports about the fire and demolition there was no mention that the site had been the location of a popular neighborhood theater from the 1860s to about 1930.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on February 17, 2018 at 10:25 am

The new building constructed on the site of the Bates Opera House opened on Feb 15. At its south end is the 95-seat Bates Bar & Grill which was named to commemorate the old theater. There are 2 other retail spaces in the building. Article and photo in the print edition of the Quincy Patriot Ledger 2-17-2018.

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