October 3, 2013: BOYD THEATRE THREATENED WITH DEMOLITION
iPiC Theaters is proposing to gut the interior of the historic Boyd Theatre and to demolish the grand auditorium and replace it with a new building with 8 movie auditoriums. Thanks to Michael Klein for his article. Friends of the Boyd, Inc. are opposed to the destruction of Philadelphia's last premiere movie palace! The Boyd is important because of its grand interior. Losing the grand lobby, auditorium, and foyers and lounges is not preservation.
New movie multiplexes often don't last many years before they are torn down. On the other hand, the historic Boyd has been timeless, having lasted since 1928. Countless Hollywood movie stars have visited, movie premieres have been held there, and millions of people have enjoyed the Boyd, but all that history would be irretrievably lost.
Philadelphia would be the only large US city without a restored, reopened historic downtown movie palace. In fact, almost every US city has a restored downtown movie palace. That's true in the largest cities (such as the 3 restored movie palaces in Chicago's Loop) and smaller cities (4 restored movie palaces in Cleveland's Playhouse Square & at least 2 in downtown Pittsburgh) and the list seems endless. One photographer posted photos of many. The photos reveal that the auditorium is the theater, its history, and the opportunity to host great events.
Many movie palaces nationwide were closed longer than the Boyd, and many of them were not in good shape, but they were eventually saved, beautifully restored &are again the economic and cultural anchors of their communities.The Boyd's interior has been acclaimed by national experts on movie palaces. With pictures of its interior, the Boyd was listed by the National Trust for Historic Places in 2008 as one of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places. Very few Trust listed buildings have been lost.
In Philadelphia, over time, many historic landmarks were proposed for demolition including City Hall, the Academy of Music, the Reading Terminal, the Lit Bros Building, the Bellevue Stratford Hotel, Eastern State Penitentiary, and the Victory Building but thankfully those buildings were not demolished. Some were also vacant for a long time, but all are once again assets to Philadelphia and our region.
iPiC Theaters should build elsewhere, not pick on the Boyd. Our numerous supporters and volunteers want the Boyd saved, not demolished. People will never be able to experience a real Philadelphia movie palace if all beyond the Boyd's front is knocked down. Losing the Boyd Theatre would be tragic for the Philadelphia region. After we organized, Clear Channel, the late Hal Wheeler, and others insisted they had viable plans to fully restore the Boyd. As they showed us, there are many ways to reuse the Boyd for mixed use events in addition to film. We will continue efforts to accomplish our mission. Please urge people to enter their info at www.FriendsOfTheBoyd.org to help & for updates, and to "like" our Facebook page (link's at the website). We will update the website soon but Facebook is quickly updated. Thank you for your support.