Monday, November 2, 2009

Mohawk Theater - North Adams, Mass.

On November 5, 1938, some 71 years ago, the Mohawk Theater opened in the small western Massachusetts town of North Adams. These days, the community is anticipating, and actively involved, in its future re-opening.

Once part of the E.M. Loew chain in New England, the Art Deco movie house was the third theater in North Adams, and the only one that remains today. It is a downtown icon there on Main Street, one of the few remaining late Art Deco style movie theaters in the U.S. Originally a single balcony theater with a capacity of 1,200, the Mohawk operated until the mid-1980s.

For a few years after 1987 it was owned by a private investor who occasionally screened films or opened the theater to concerts, but it closed again in 1991.

It would likely have been demolished or transformed into retail space, just as the two other movie theaters in town had by this time, but for the community that decided to step in and save it.

That process, of getting funds and all the construction logistics in place to enable the theater’s restoration is continuing. It is hoped to reopen the Mohawk again to its Saturday afternoon matinee audience, as well as to enable live plays, concerts, and recitals, as well as other community events to be staged here.

For more on the Mohawk, have a look at this website.


Raquelle said...

I drove through North Adams recently and noticed an Art Deco building, it was previously an antique store. That's cool that there is a Art Deco movie theater too.

I didn't quite make the connection until now. That area of Massachusetts is influenced by Native American culture and art and Art Deco style was influenced by Native American artwork. Two & Two equals 4!!!

I hope this theater reopens. It would be worth a trip out to North Adams again to watch a film there and take pictures of the building.

Jacqueline T Lynch said...

Hi, Raquelle, thanks for stopping by. You're right about this section of the state (perhaps you followed the Mohawk Trail), being influenced by Native American culture and art. Thanks for pointing out the relationship with Art Deco, something I failed to do.

Here's hoping the theater opens soon. North Adams certainly deserves high marks for their effort.

Amanda said...

I hope it can be saved. I just read an article in my local newspaper yesterday about all the wonderful movie palaces that got torn down. It makes me quite sad. I hope this one can be saved.

Jacqueline T Lynch said...

Thanks for stopping by, Amanda, and for adding your well-wishes for the Mohawk Theater. It's true a lot of old movie houses are gone for good, but it looks the community is pretty determined to save this one.

Tom said...

Wow. Do you know if any photos exist of the Mohawk in its heyday? I would love to see what movies were playing there in the 40s.

Anonymous said...

Great building. Lovely to see that it has survived the ups and downs of cinema-going and hopefully with the community behind it will re-open as a cinema again. I want to be able to come and see the Mohawk Theatre when I make it to Massachusetts.

Jacqueline T Lynch said...

Hi, Tom. I haven't seen any period photos of the Mohawk, but I'm sure there are some. I'll have to look in to that. As for the movies shown, since it was a Loew's chain, I'm guessing they were probably MGM films.

David, I hope by the time you come to Massachusetts, the Mohawk is open for you. I'll post any updates I get.

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