French’s Opera House in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Boston, MA originally opened in 1897. It was built by Leroy J. French, who was described by the Hyde Park Gazette as “one of the most progressive and enterprising businessmen.” The opera house originally featured vaudeville style acts, but that came to an end for a short time when the block was destroyed by a fire in 1899.
French rebuilt soon after and the performances resumed until 1915, when it was converted into a masonic hall for the Masonic Temple of Hyde Park. It was used by the masons until 1977.
Riverside Theatre Works, a theater group, took over the space in the early 1980s. Riverside was founded by Marietta Phinney, who was a music teacher in the area. Phinney didn’t think children were getting enough exposure to the theater, so she founded Riverside Theatre Works to make up for that. Riverside offers musical theater training for all ages and hosts several productions a year at the former opera house.
Matt Lambros MA Boston Oct 27, 2022 Architecture Arts History