Seville Theatre

256 Meridian Street,
East Boston, MA 02128

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whidden39 on October 28, 2014 at 10:51 am

Sadly, I just had my own Cinema Paradiso moment. I live ½ block from the long closed Seville Theater in East Boston — an atmospheric movie theater I frequented as a boy and young man. As I write this, it is being demolished to make way for luxury condos. I was curious to see whether there was anything left of the interior. When the bulldozer broke through the outer wall today I was first able to see the midnight blue ceiling that used to have twinkling stars studded throughout. The columns of a loge were clearly visible too as was the ramp type of balcony. In my youth I remember how all along the outside walls were replicas of mansions with enormous windows lit up from behind and classical statuary near the proscenium. It was sumptuous for a working class neighborhood. My mother always commented on how the lady’s room was very elegant and comfortable. Why is progress sometimes such an ugly word?

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on September 19, 2014 at 8:11 pm

Tello’s clothing store next door has closed (and they have also closed their Downtown Crossing store). So if they were using this theatre as a warehouse, they aren’t anymore. Does anyone know if it is being otherwise used now, and what its future may be?

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 24, 2013 at 5:18 pm

The May 3, 1930, issue of Motion Picture News said that the Seville Theatre was designed by the Boston architectural firm Krokyn, Browne & Rosenstein.

jaboschen on August 4, 2013 at 12:01 pm

Check out these amazing photos of when the theater first opened! ;–)

EdwardFindlay on March 3, 2011 at 2:30 pm

Most recent proposal for the property was to renovate the entire building into the new East Boston Branch of the Boston Public Library…

That idea isn’t too well liked according to the reports due to the expense, however the fact that it is being eyed for a renovation period is a good sign.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on May 11, 2010 at 2:03 pm

If the condo project hasn’t started by now I seriously doubt anyone will be getting the ball rolling in this real estate market.

My guess is the property will continue as is for some time to come.

TLSLOEWS on May 11, 2010 at 1:12 pm

Thats too bad.

jravagno on May 11, 2010 at 12:47 pm

Hopefully this treasure wont be lost. Perhaps the Lombardo family can have a final thank you to East Boston by either restoring this property or sell it to a delveloper that would. The Hippodrome in Spriongfiled comes to mind, it’s been restored to it’s former glory and has been retrofited with modern tecnology.
The Lombardo family got it’s uses out of the Seville, being a storage building for both Lombardo’s function hall and
Liberty Market(s), they neglected the Seville since 1976 with the final nail in the coffen turning the Seville into condo’s.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on November 1, 2009 at 10:26 am

I have heard nothing more about the status of the Seville since the news, above, from March 2008. If you look at the two photos linked to above on 3-9-08 which were taken 6 ½ years ago, the interior was not as bad as it could have been, and there was still some decor remaining.

socal09 on November 1, 2009 at 8:49 am

NicholasV: It says right in the article you refer to that the comdition is quite poor and there is very little of the original decor remaining. I’m sure the bad economy put a temporary stop to this development.

nvargelis on November 1, 2009 at 5:08 am

Ron, you posted above about a neighborhood meeting over a year ago. Any news as to the outcome of the meeting? Anyone know what shape the inside of the theater is like?

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on March 15, 2008 at 8:55 am

The neighborhood meeting on the proposed demolition of the Seville will be held Thursday, March 27 (not March 19 as previously reported) at 6:30 pm at the Harborside Community Center, 312 Border Street (Umana-Barnes Middle School).

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on March 9, 2008 at 5:53 pm

An East Boston blog called “The Hubster” has some discussion of the Seville’s possible demolition:

Death for the Seville?
Seville plan in the news

CinemaTour has two photos of this theatre, from April 2003: One and Two

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on March 9, 2008 at 10:25 am

The Seville sits on a prime real estate parcel and it’s a wonder that it has not been subjected to a redevelopment proposal before now. One can only wonder what the auditorium must look like today after 30 years of neglect.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on March 9, 2008 at 9:34 am

The owner of the Seville Theater, closed for at least 30 years, proposes to demolish it and replace it with a 65-unit apartment building. The project would also include 15,000 square feet of retail space.

Here’s a Boston Globe article about the proposal. A neighborhood meeting will be held on March 19, and the Boston Landmarks Commission may also hold a public hearing on the theatre’s architectural or historical significance.

bobg3251 on March 15, 2006 at 11:19 am

The Seville theatre was where I spent most of my Saturdays when I was a child in the late 50s and 60s. Saturday afternoon movies were only 30 cents for 2 features, 10 cartoons, and prizes between films.
I can also remember seeing the Beatles first movie (Hard Days Night)
and it cost $1.00.

The Orient Palace closed in the late 50s I believe, didn’t see to many films there.
posted by BobG. on Mar 15 at 5pm

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on January 13, 2006 at 8:07 am

Are any of these buildings still standing?

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on January 13, 2006 at 8:04 am

Other movie theatres in East Boston in 1941 in addition to the Seville are: Orient Palace Theatre on Bennington St., Central Square Theatre on Bennington St., and Gem Theatre on Meridian St.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on January 13, 2006 at 8:01 am

The Seville was still open in the early-1960s, although I never went into it. It was on Italian films Sundays-only in the 1970s. The MGM Theatre Photograph and Report form for the Seville has a photo taken in March 1941. The movie is Errol Flynn in “Footsteps in the Dark”. There was a fancy marquee and vertical. The Report states that the Seville has been showing MGM product for over 10 years, that it was built around 1930, tht it’s in Good condition; that it has 893 seats on the main floor and 817 in the balcony, total: 1710. A good place to view the Seville today is from the ends of the piers at the Charlestown Navy Yard – it can be clearly seen across the harbor and is quite an impressive building, even from the rear. (actually, the left side). It was one of very few Atmospheric auditorium designs in the New England area.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on June 4, 2005 at 4:52 pm

This building is still standing. If you go to the listed address, 256 Meridian Street, you may not find it, because all you will see there is a row of stores, with one of the entrances bricked up.

Instead, go around the block to the back of the building, on Border Street. With its tall, blank brick exterior walls, it is instantly recognizable as a former theatre. It appears to now be used as a warehouse and distribution center for Tello’s, a local clothing store chain. One of their stores is next door to the back of the former theatre, at 231 Border Street.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on April 30, 2005 at 12:09 pm

Opened in 1929 with a seating capacity of 2,000. It was still operating in 1976 and is listed as having played Italian shows on Sundays only since 1966. There were plans to re-install the cloud, star and traveling moon effects machine back into the theatre in the mid-1970’s.