The Franklin Square Theatre at 2 Southbridge Street was built by Ransom Clarke Taylor from a design by the local firm of Cutting, Carleton & Cutting and opened for business in 1904. The hall included orchestra seating for 658 people, a balcony and boxes for 459, and a gallery for 519. At that time, admission prices ranged from $1.50 for the best orchestra seats to $0.25 for the gallery.
In the first two decades of its existence, the theater hosted local and traveling performers as well as Broadway touring companies. However, in 1926 then-owner Sylvester Z. Poli developed a larger adjacent building (Poli's Palace) to cash in on the growing craze for moving pictures and this original structure was relegated to secondary uses.
Today, thanks primarily to the imaginative efforts of Ed Madaus and Paul Demoga, along with substantial contributions from many players in Worcester, this building has been restored and is now being used as part of The Hanover Theatre complex. Unfortunately, the original stained glass windows that once graced the facade of this building were lost or stolen at some point. Perhaps someone knows where they are now?
- This card was postmarked in a town less than five miles from where the recipient lived and has, essentially, no content. Maybe it was sent, as so many postcards at the time were, simply as part of an exchange between people who collected the cards. Picture postcard collecting was a mania in the early 1900's and hundreds of millions of cards were mailed annually until the fad crashed at the beginning of the First World War.
At best, given only the three initials on the front of the card, we may surmise that the sender was thoughtful . . . but he or she will probably remain forever unknown to us.
Donald Pierce Lyford was born on February 11, 1894 in Spencer, Massachusetts to Taylor C. Lyford and Nellie L. (Pierce) Lyford. He married in 1917 and had one son, but at the time of the 1930 census was divorced and living with his parents. Later in life it appears that he married Dorothy Avis Branigan. She died in 1969, he died in 1978, and they are both (Donald & Dorothy) buried at Prospect Hill Cemetery in Uxbridge, Massachusetts.
(1) Franklin Square Theatre - The Hanover Theatre and Conservatory for the Performing Arts
(2) Seating - The The Engineering Record, Building Record and Sanitary Engineer, Volume 49, Number 13, Page 392 [ 1904 ]
(3) Admission Prices - Julius Cahn's Official Theatrical Guide, Volume 13, Page 492 [ 1908 ]
(4) Postcard History - New York State Library
(5) Local Birth, Marriage, Divorce & Death Records - Ancestry.com
Made in Germany.
A.C. Besselman & Co., New York.