Late 1930s - Front Street - 2013.
COLUMN: THEN AND NOW
The Warner Theater at 62 Front St., and its neighbor, Prudence Clothes, saw their end in 1965, when the neighborhood was plowed under in the name of urban renewal. In 1971 the Worcester Center Galleria tore a hole in the row of buildings that were prospering in 1938 and built it up again into a shopping center.
In some respects, the new incarnation merely replaced one business with a similar one. In the case of Prudence Clothing, it was Filene's. The Warner Theater was replaced in downtown Worcester with a much smaller movie theater, the Worcester Center Cinema. And within spitting distance of where the Warner's patrons once sat and munched popcorn while watching films, Foothills Theatre patrons watched live productions from 1987 to 2009 in the theater behind Filene's.
Like many movie houses built in the early years of the motion picture industry, the Warner Theater showcased fantastic interiors. Nostalgic historians claim that the vintage projector from the Warner Theater moved to the newly opened White City Theatre when this venue closed.
The Warner family set its stamp on Worcester in other ways as well: Warner Brothers Studio President Harry Warner endowed the Warner Theater at Worcester Academy in memory of his son, Lewis, an alumnus. That theater still stands, and is a place of pilgrimage for theater history lovers.
- Melissa McKeon
CUTLINE: (1) A CVS Pharmacy and the Worcester Registry of Deeds mark the area where Prudence Clothing and the Warner Theater were once situated on Front Street in Worcester. (2) The Warner Theater and Prudence Clothing on Front Street in Worcester in the late 1930s.
PHOTOG: (1) T&G Staff/PAUL KAPTEYN (2) T&G File Photo