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Colonial Building and Colonial Theater

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1899–1900, Clarence H. Blackall. 96–106 Boylston St.
  • Colonial Building and Colonial Theater (Keith Morgan)

One of the grand dames of the Boston Theater District lurks within this conservative granite Renaissance Revival office building. The ten-story Colonial Building retains an original bronze storefront and a finely articulated facade of rustication that is capped by a two-story colonnade. Within, Clarence H. Blackall created a Baroque and Rococo 1,700-seat auditorium, Boston's oldest intact theater. Borrowing from Italian and French traditions, Blackall and architect Henry B. Pennell planned mural decorations, mosaics, and lavish carvings executed by numerous Boston artists. Opening with a production of Ben Hur in 1900, the house continued to showcase major productions, especially musical comedies en route to Broadway. Fortunately, the Colonial Theater and its offerings remain as important as ever in the entertainment life of the city.

Writing Credits

Keith N. Morgan


What's Nearby


Keith N. Morgan, "Colonial Building and Colonial 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, 125-125.

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