Congratulations and thanks to Philadelphia THS member Howard Haas and Friends of the Boyd for fighting the good fight to save the Boyd for a decade. His devotion has been key to keeping this project in the forefront in Philadelphia.
Howard recently circulated a Friends of the Boyd Special Weekly Update, commemorating 10 years of activism towards saving Philadelphia’s Boyd Theatre, as follows:
“Ten years ago today, June 11, 2002, we organized the Committee to Save the Sameric to prevent the potential destruction of Center City Philadelphia’s last movie palace. Later that summer we formally organized our nonprofit organization, the Friends of the Boyd, Inc.
Since then, many enthusiastic volunteers and supporters have dedicated much time and effort towards our goals of seeking the Boyd’s survival, full restoration and reopening for entertainment including film. Over ten years, Friends of the Boyd have had many accomplishments. Our activism prevented demolition of the movie palace. We have worked with successive owners to address problems spotted at the building. We’ve researched the Boyd’s history and its restoration needs, and worked with national experts for plans for the restoration that must still occur.
After our friends at the National Trust for Historic Preservation placed the Boyd on their 2008 list of America’s Most Endangered Places, along with our allies the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia, we successfully nominated the Boyd for inclusion on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places. Our activism for the Boyd initiated a public conversation about what types of places deserve protection. Inspired by the Boyd’s plight and realizing that preservation of historic interiors is important, Councilman Bill Green initiated a new law that enables the Philadelphia Historical Commission to designate significant public interiors for protection. This measure, to protect interiors, is a very useful tool to enhance historic preservation in Philadelphia. And, as you know, we almost had success with the Boyd on two occasions. Unfortunately, Clear Channel decided to exit the theater business, and sadly, Philadelphia developer Hal Wheeler died suddenly.
It has also been gratifying to know that our movement has inspired others throughout our region, and further away, to initiate campaigns for the survival and restoration of other historic theaters.
As an all-volunteer organization, Friends of the Boyd continue to publicly advocate for the Boyd. Our local and national support continues to be very strong. We work behind the scenes for the Boyd’s future. Despite the passage of a decade, the Boyd Theatre, built in 1928 as an Art Deco masterpiece, remains in far better condition than many long closed movie palaces that subsequently were fully restored and again became anchors for their communities. Restoration of the Boyd remains feasible and necessary. Working together, we will ensure that there will come a time when a fully restored Boyd Theatre dazzles the public once again!
We are grateful to all of you for your support. Thank you!
Howard B. Haas”