Locations >> Buildings by Neighborhood >> Federal Hill: Columbus Theatre

Introduction

As suburbanization drew people out of the city centers in the beginning of the twentieth century, retail entities and theatres, moved out with them. The earliest among these suburban theatres was the Toy Theatre (today Avon Theatre) on Thayer Street, which did not yet rely exclusively on movie performances. Among the next generation of movie theatres were the Castle Theatre (1925) on Chalkstone Ave. and the Columbus Theatre on Broadway (from 1929-1962, the theatre was known as the Uptown Theatre). The client was a local real estate developer and builder, Domenic Annotti. The architect, Oresto di Saia, would later be involved in additions to the Veterans Memorial auditorium.

Description

The current limestone and cream colored terracotta fa├žade is carefully organized into alternating wide and narrow bays and elegant windows on the second floor. Above the central bay, a clock tower with a cupola rises. Remarkably, this is one of the few theatres that have escaped the usual fate of either being modernized and losing their late Beaux Arts decoration, or being subdivided into a number of smaller theatres. The interior has retained its elaborate decoration and extensive use of a rich color scheme and polished gold-plating and chrome.

Sources

"At Broadway and America St.", Providence Journal: Oct 31, 1926: B10.

Woodward, Wm McKenzie. Providence A Citywide Survey of Historic Resources (Providence, RI: Rhode Island Historical Preservation Commission, 1986): 152.



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