Pilgrim Theatre

658 Washington Street,
Boston, MA 02116

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Additional Info

Architects: Clarence H. Blackall

Previous Names: Gordon's Olympia, Washington Street Olympia, Olympia Theatre

Nearby Theaters

Circa 1985 photo courtesy of the Dirty Old Boston Facebook page.

Opened as Gordon’s Olympia Theatre on May 6, 1912 with photoplays and vaudeville. It later became a second-run movie theatre and in its last few years of operation showed sexploitation films. It was near the E.M. Loew’s Center Theatre and the Stuart Theatre on the same side of Washington Street.

It was demolished in 1996.

Contributed by Gerald A. DeLuca

Recent comments (view all 110 comments)

rivest266 on May 12, 2013 at 9:15 am

Grand opening ad from November 16th, 1913 has been uploaded here.

alberwi on August 28, 2013 at 10:22 am

rivest266: That ad is for the Olympia Theatre in Scollay Square, not the Olympia on Washington Street that later became known as the Pilgrim.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on August 28, 2013 at 1:24 pm

alberwi is correct: the opening day ad is for the Scollay Square Olympia, not this theater. Back when they were in operation, they were known as the “Washington Street Olympia” and the “Scollay Square Olympia”; later the “Pilgrim” and the “Scollay Square”. Although similar in size and both run by Nathan Gordon, they were not identical twins. The Scollay Square Theatre closed long before the Pilgrim.

Willburg145 on April 26, 2017 at 11:51 am

Are all the theatres in the picture gone?

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on April 26, 2017 at 12:01 pm

The Olympia (Pilgrim) and Gayety have been demolished and replaced by residential buildings. The RKO Boston (at right, behind the Olympia) is sitting vacant. The Paramount (in far background, at the bend of Washington Street) was rebuilt and reopened by Emerson College.

DavidZornig on April 29, 2017 at 9:01 pm

1974 photo added credit Spencer Grant.

DavidZornig on May 31, 2017 at 9:13 am

Summer 1956 photo added courtesy of the Dirty Old Boston Facebook page. Pilgrim blade sign in the background.

da_Bunnyman on March 6, 2018 at 11:36 pm

An article I will always regret not saving (might’ve been in the Real Paper or The Phoenix) involved someone venturing into the Pilgrim at it’s worst X-rated phase. A very Dante into Hell type adventure for the uninitiated (though the author seemed to know what they were getting in to.).

Alohabadgramps on November 13, 2018 at 9:56 pm

The theatre, burlesque performance house, had Chesty Morgan amongst others. The former deceased Congressman Wilbur Mills performed here, too. Frankly, it was the beginning of the ‘end of his career’. I brought my ‘ole buddy here, whom was blind, around 1986-87 and gave him a blow by blow of the ongoing action, upon screen and aisles. Place was 'well tacky and well aged.’

marqueemaven4 on July 15, 2023 at 2:05 am

I was there in the late 80s and early 90s … only the main theater was open back then, no balconies or boxes so I never saw those except from a distance. Wooden escalator was never operating either. And yes, that downstairs restroom was right out of a horror movie. Huge spacious anteroom that was always under water, and then a tiny bathroom with two stalls.

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