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Exeter Street Theater

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First Spiritualist Temple
1885, Hartwell and Richardson; 1913, Blackall, Clapp and Whittemore; 1974–1975, CBT/Childs Bertman and Tseckares. 26 Exeter St.
  • Exeter Street Theater (First Spiritualist Temple) (Peter Vanderwarker or Antonina Smith)
  • (Damie Stillman)

The wealthy merchant Marcellus J. Ayer built in the Richardsonian Romanesque style the First Spiritual Temple of the Working Union of Progressive Spiritualists as a center of “psychic phenomena” for the society he founded. Notice the checkerboard pattern wrapping the ground floor and the fine foliate carvings on the entrance pavilion and above the fourth floor. Clarence H. Blackall converted the upper auditorium to a theater in 1913 in order to raise income for the temple. Fine theater signage adorned the renovated exterior, but again in 1985, the theater ceded to commercial enterprise. In 1975, the ground level was altered from a café, and its glass shed became part of a greenhouse restaurant.

Writing Credits

Keith N. Morgan



  • 1885

  • 1913

  • 1974


What's Nearby


Keith N. Morgan, "Exeter Street Theater", [Boston, Massachusetts], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Massachusetts

Buildings of Massachusetts: Metropolitan Boston, Keith N. Morgan, with Richard M. Candee, Naomi Miller, Roger G. Reed, and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2009, 176-176.

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