One block from Rittenhouse Square, on Chestnut Street between 19th and 20th, there stands a remarkable building - The Boyd Theatre. Philadelphia's last movie palace was called the Sam Eric when it closed in May, 2002.
Help us save this Philadelphia landmark and restore this Philadelphia landmark to its former grandeur and obtain a film program.
- Be added to our weekly email list so you can be kept informed of our news, our events, and will have the opportunity to volunteer.
- Donate via PayPal
- Donate via check or money order
- Please sign our online petition
February 2014 OPPOSE IPIC'S PLANS TO DESTROY THE BOYD
EMAIL PHILADELPHIA OFFICIALS
Please use this quick & easy link to send an email to officials at the City of Philadelphia to oppose iPic's application for permission to demolish all of the historic Boyd Theatre except for the facade! You can send the email as it is already written, but it will be most effective if you add your own personal thoughts, including if you've visited any restored historic movie palaces.
December 10, 2013 Rally at the Boyd Theatre
Friends of the Boyd supporters braved a snowstorm to rally in front of the Boyd on December 10, 2013 from 11:30 AM to 1 PM. Howard B. Haas, president of the Friends of the Boyd spoke on the importance of preserving the Boyd's grand auditorium and other spaces rather than allowing iPic to demolish all but the facade. Caroline Boyce, Executive Director of The Preservation Alliance for Greater announced the 2013 Endangered Properties list, including the Boyd, which is prominently pictured on the cover of the printed publication. The Preservation Alliance's recommendation is as follows:
Philadelphia deserves a creative and forward-thinking restoration plan for the Boyd Theatre and its one-of-a-kind auditorium and lobbies. Any plan that proposes the complete demolition of these spaces is a shortsighted approach to one of Center City's most potentially transformative sites. Demolition requires the approval of the Historical Commission, which must first conclude that the theater cannot be adapted for any other use. Numerous examples of successful theater conversions across the country can be studied for viable alternative reuse proposals that would preserve the Jazz Age splendor of the theater.
October 3, 2013: BOYD THEATRE THREATENED WITH DEMOLITION
iPiC Theaters wishes to replace most of the Boyd Theatre with a new multiplex. Friends of the Boyd wish iPiC to build that somewhere else so the Boyd's interior can survive and be restored to its 1928 design and reopen as a mixed use showplace.
March 2013 - New Press
- Sitting Down with The Boyd Preservationist
- Twenty-Year Retrospective of Pennsylvania's Endangered Historic Properties
June 17, 2011 Join Friends of the Boyd at Facebook
In addition to taking the helpful steps on this page, visit our Facebook page too!
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Thanks to Friends of the Boyd volunteer Amber Lauletta for creating the Facebook page.
February 9, 2011 Historic Movie Theaters of Center City article featuring the Boyd
The PhillyHistory Blog, a project of the Philadelphia City Archive, posted on February 9, 2011 a great article on the history of Philadelphia's Movie Theaters, using historic images from their collection.
The Boyd is prominently featured. The essay, written by Shawn Evans, AIA, was adapted from the Friends of the Boyd powerpoint presentation (also prepared by Shawn), which has been frequently shown through the years to build awareness of our mission. One of the most compelling parts of our presentation is the history of Philadelphia's Center City movie palaces, of which the Boyd is the last. Seeing these wonderful photographs of Philadelphia's lost movie palaces reinforces why it is so important to save the Boyd. As Irvin Glazer said so well in the introduction to his book, Philadelphia Theaters: A Pictorial Architectural History, "The movie palace was perhaps the most important new type of building introduced in the twentieth Century. Its advent marked the first time in architectural history that ornate and costly structures were conceived and executed primarily for the service of the common man." Though a remarkable building in its own right as a physical edifice, the Boyd is significant because of the remarkable experiences it gave the millions of people who sat in its seats until just a few years ago. For all of these people, the Friends of the Boyd continue our work to advocate for the preservation and full restoration of this historical treasure.
August 8, 2008: Philadelphia Historical Commission Designates Boyd Theatre
By a unanimous 14 to 0 vote on August 8, 2008, the Philadelphia Historical Commission voted to add the Boyd Theatre to the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places. Friends of the Boyd supporters overflowed the room. Experts and advocates testified on the importance of the Boyd at the July 16, 2008 hearing of the Commission's Designation Committee, which voted 7 to 0 in favor. Friends of the Boyd president Howard Haas asserted the Boyd Theatre long ago should have been designated. "It has a beautiful art deco exterior with many original decorative elements intact. It's about time it was recognized as a landmark." The Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia filed the nomination on May 28, 2008. On May 29, 2008, Philadelphia's Mayor Michael Nutter announced his support for the nomination and pledged to work to preserve the building. Click here to read the Mayor's statement.
This designation protects only the theater's exterior. This action does not ensure the exterior and interior will be restored to their original Art Deco splendor and the Boyd reopened for public entertainment. A new owner and restoration funding will be needed for that to happen. There's more work to do!
Tuesday, May 20, 2008: Boyd Theatre Designated One of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places
The National Trust for Historic Preservation on May 20, 2008, listed the Boyd Theatre as one of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.
Boyd Theatre, Philadelphia, Pa. - Philadelphia's last surviving downtown movie palace "a masterpiece of Art Deco design" faces an uncertain future as it sits vacant and remains vulnerable to demolition, awaiting a preservation-minded buyer to return the vintage venue to its original grandeur.
Since they began the list in 1988, the National Trust has listed only one other Philadelphia site: Independence National Historical Park. Howard B. Haas, President of the Friends of the Boyd stated "The National Trust listing verifies what Friends of the Boyd have said all along - the Boyd Theatre must be saved, restored, and reopened for entertainment."
March 2008: Boyd Theatre Designated One of Philadelphia's Most Endangered Historic Properties
The Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia has named the Boyd Theatre to their Fifth Annual Endangered Properties List, mailed out in March 2008. The Alliance's statement begins with:
Built in 1928, the Boyd Theatre is the last surviving motion picture palace in Philadelphia. Acclaimed as one of the world's first exuberant Art Deco-style theatres, the Boyd is one of Philadelphia's most important twentieth century entertainment landmarks.
The proposed SOLUTION is that Live Nation:
Agree to sell only to a buyer committed to preserving the theater. Mayor Nutter should make the preservation of the Boyd Theater a top economic priority of his administration. This would include exploring the potential for tax increment financing or the formation of a non-profit/private partnership to create eligibility for state Redevelopment Grant assistance.
Citation from Pennsylvania House of Representatives in 2004
Thanks to State Representative Babette Josephs, for obtaining a Citation from the Pennsylvania House of Representatives commending the Boyd Theatre for its exquisite Art Deco interior, its history of hosting film premieres, and for symbolizing the plight of historic urban motion picture palaces in Philadelphia and throughout the country. Read the Citation's text.
AIA Landmark Building Award to Boyd
At a luncheon ceremony on May 6, 2004, attended in part by Mayor Street, at the Ballroom of the Park Hyatt at the Bellevue, the Philadelphia chapter of the local architects' organization, the AIA, presented the 2004 Landmark Building Award for the Boyd Theatre (Sameric) and the Uptown Theatre. The brochure proclaimed that "Both theaters, with their exquisite Art Deco interiors, symbolize the plight of historic urban motion picture palaces, both in Philadelphia and across the country." Prior winners include other Philadelphia landmarks such as the Lit Bros Department Store Building, the Naval Home, and the PSFS tower on Market Street.
Friends of the Boyd Now Accepting Donations
If you'd like to help restore the Boyd and obtain a film program, please make your tax-deductible check or money order payable to The Friends of the Boyd and send to:
Friends of the Boyd
P.O. Box 30629
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Click here to download optional form to print out, or please include your mailing address, telephone number, and email address when you send a donation.
The official registration and financial information of "Friends of the Boyd" may be obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of State by calling toll-free, within Pennsylvania, 1-800-732-0999. Registration does not imply endorsement.