Massachusetts Historical Commission - 2009 Preservation Award Winners
Poli’s Palace / Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts • Worcester
Poli’s Palace / Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts • Worceste

Rehabilitation & Restoration

Originally opened in 1904 as the Franklin Street Theater, this Classical Revival-style building was redesigned and greatly expanded into the ornate Poli’s Palace vaudeville and movie theater in 1926. It was converted into a multiplex cinema in 1967, and it remained as such into the 1990s. The multiplex cinema conversion obscured much of the historic character of the grand, 3,500-seat theater on both the interior and the exterior. Major 1960s alterations included the creation of a new entrance and the application of a veneer to the exterior, as well as the removal of the proscenium wall, upper seating boxes, and parts of the ceiling under the balcony. The interior was also subdivided to allow the simultaneous screening of films.

After remaining vacant and in disrepair for more than ten years, the theater was successfully restored to its original appearance by recent rehabilitation efforts. As part of this impressive project, the original grand chandelier, the second-floor mezzanine, the 1904 Franklin Street entrance, and the theater ceiling were all restored. The proscenium and loge box seating were reconstructed. The fully restored theater once again makes an important contribution to the City of Worcester’s cultural life, and it is also proving to be an important source of economic stimulation. With the rehabilitation of Poli’s Palace into the Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts, the structure will continue to be a historical and cultural landmark in Worcester.

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