Dorchester Illustration no. 2325 Magnet Theatre
The Magnet Theatre was located at 301 Washington Street, north of the intersection of Bowdoin, Harvard and Washington, on the west side of Washington opposite Mt. Bowdoin. The site is now the home of a Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Many neighborhood theaters used the spelling theatre, but in the US we now usually use the spelling theater. In the early years of the 20th century moving pictures were shown in already-existing halls. Then neighborhood theaters became part of the landscape and gave a sense of identity to communities. Neighborhood theaters presented a full evening with a newsreel, cartoon, sometimes a sing-a-long or a giveaway, and often two features. Demographic and economic changes forced most of the theaters out of business in the second had of the 20th century in favor of the multiplex.
Dorchester’s other neighborhood theaters included the
Codman Square Theatre at 635Washington Street
Fields Corner Theatre at 215 Adams Street
Franklin Park Theater at 616 Blue Hill Avenue
Hamilton Theatre at 256 Bowdoin Street
Ideal Theatre at 530 Dudley Street
Liberty Theatre at 726 Blue Hill Avenue
Mattapan Theatre at 512 River Street
Morton Theatre at 1161 Blue Hill Avenue
New Adams Theater at 735 Adams Street, near Adams Corner
Oriental Theatre at 1597 Blue Hill Avenue
Strand Theatre at 543 Columbia Road
Uphams Theatre at 568 1/2 Columbia Road.