Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Nelson Theatre - Springfield, Mass.

The Nelson Theatre of Springfield, built in 1909, the heyday of vaudeville, was a thriving house in a city with a thriving entertainment industry. We can see by this vintage postcard the Nelson was a feature of Main Street activity in the days when trolleys and horseless carriages competed with horse-drawn wagons and carriages in a chaos of mixed, but slower, traffic.

It became the Fox Theater after World War I, and vaudeville gave way, as so many theatrical houses did, to the movies. By the middle 1930s, it was the Art, and by 1961, it was gone.

The Nelson Theatre had the typical favorable setup of downtown theaters in those days; it was nestled in an area of hotels and restaurants, and only a block or two down from the train station (fortunate both for grand arrivals and quick exits). Despite the collage of conveyances in this postcard scene, it was a walker’s paradise.

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