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Chickering Hall: 1906

Chickering Hall: 1906

Boston circa 1906. "Chickering Hall, Tremont Street." The grande dame of Piano Row. 8x10 inch glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.


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Even older

There was a Chickering Hall even before 1883. Ralph Waldo Emerson gave a series of readings there in 1869.

[Officially, though, that was called Chickering's Hall. - tterrace]

Location, location, location?

The first Chickering Hall auditorium (circa 1883) was on Piano Row on Tremont Street near West St.

Our subject building, the second Chickering Hall, was completed in 1901 at 239 Huntington Ave in the Back Bay section. Sorry I missed the opening perfomance featuring Antoinette Szumowska, Pol Plançon, and the unforgetable Franz Kneisel Quartet. The theater was also home to Charles Wesley Emerson's School of Oratory.

In 1912 it became the St. James Theater, and then finally the Uptown Theater. The wrecking ball took its toll in 1963 when the Christian Science Center was built.

The rather ornate structure at left is Horticultural Hall also built in 1901. Location: corner of Mass. Ave.

Piano Row

Being a big Fred Allen fan, this picture caught my eye. Before Fred (John Florence Sullivan) became the famous radio star, he worked for a time at the Colonial Piano Co. It was located on Boylston Street. According to Fred, it was the first piano store in "Piano Row" coming from Tremont Street. He tells some amusing stories about this store and the whole area in his autobiography. I wonder if there are any existing photos of the Colonial store?

I've really enjoyed this site. I just joined a month or so ago and have finally viewed all the photos. I look forward each day for the next installment. Keep up the good work and hopefully I'll find something here at home that will be worthy for inclusion some day soon.

Steinway's Inspiration

The Chickering Logo is on the window here.

Here's Glenn Gould playing a Chickering.

Ossip Gabrilowitsch

Now there's a subject line for you. Gabrilowitsch was a renowned 20th century piano virtuoso, and performed in concert in Chickering Hall in March 1903. Earlier this year I unexpectedly came across his grave in Elmira, New York, while visiting that of Mark Twain, who was his father-in-law. How's that for degrees of separation? At the same cemetery, I also discovered the last resting place of movie producer Hal Roach, the guy who joined Laurel to Hardy. So there's another one.

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