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Artist's sketch of lecture hall and classroom. Elkus / Manfredu Architects Ltd.
Architect's rendering of the 2-story Chickering Hall building with the caption, Our New Home. The first floor is defined by a series of five arches. The drawing includes a horse-drawn carriage on the street. In 1901, the College moved to Chickering Hall, 239 Huntington Ave, where it would stay for only ten years. The Emerson community welcomed the move to this Back Bay location near Symphony Hall. The decision to relocate from the College’s previous address was due in large part to safety concerns. Emerson’s Odd Fellows Hall in the South End was troubled with high rates of crime. From A Century of Eloquence: “The college rented the entire second floor of Chickering Hall which provided nine spacious, well lighted and ventilated classrooms, two of which were small lecture halls (40x22ft), each complete with a platform. After 1903, a portrait of Dr. Emerson, presented by the graduating class of that year, hung in the corridor. Six marble stairways with wrought-iron balustrades led to the second floor. The first floor held the library and the school’s administrative offices, and morning lectures were held in the “superb hall on the first floor, which seated 800.” During this period, Boston caterer D. M. Shooshan’s Ladies and Gent’s Cafe also occupied space on the first floor of Chickering Hall at the address 241-243. An ad in the Emerson College Magazine [Vol. 19] described it as a “First-class restaurant, also a choice line of confectionery. Ice cream and fancy baking of all kinds.” Chickering Hall was owned by piano manufacturing company, Chickering & Sons. It was designed by architectural firm Peabody & Stearns for use as an 800-seat concert venue. After Emerson’s departure the hall was expanded and re-opened in 1912 as the 1,600-seat vaudeville and film venue named St. James Theatre, operated by Marcus. In the 1920s, it become a popular stock company stage, and in the 1930s it was renamed the Uptown Theatre, operating as a movie theatre and catering to college students with second-run movies. The building was demolished in 1963.