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Phila. grants 1920s theater historic status

August 8, 2008 12:01:42 PM PDT
A city commission has granted historic status to an Art Deco movie palace that closed in 2002 and has been threatened with demolition. The Philadelphia Historical Commission voted unanimously Friday to place the Boyd Theatre on a city register that protects the structure from being demolished or altered.

Among those testifying in favor of the historic designation were local and national preservation groups including the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which this year listed the 2,000-seat Boyd as one of America's 11 most endangered historic places.

The downtown movie theater, on Chestnut Street near Rittenhouse Square, was built in 1928 and has been closed since May 2002, when it was known as the Sam Eric.

It was facing demolition when its current owner, Live Nation, purchased the Boyd with plans to make it into a music venue. The company later abandoned those plans and announced it was looking to sell it.

Without the historic designation the theater could have again faced demolition, depending on the new buyer, said Howard B. Haas, chairman of nonprofit preservation group Friends of the Boyd.

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On the Net:

Friends of the Boyd: http://friendsoftheboyd.org

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