Friends of the Boyd

Grand Lobby

“The walls of the lobby and foyer are of marble, with handsome pilasters and marble pedestals for lighting fixtures…. Attention is called to the treatment of the lighting fixtures and door design, and also to the balcony hanging, in their contribution to the general modernistic effect”

– 2-16-29 Exhibitors Herald-World article on the Boyd, pp. 71-72

“A specially made rug of beauty, measuring 40 x 26 feet, woven in one piece and harmonizing in coloring and design with the decorative scheme of the interior. The rug was woven in Czecho-Slovakia, the order being given at the time the building contract was placed. It required six months to complete it, and as the opening day approached, considerable anxiety was felt lest the rug should not arrive in time for the opening. However, it arrived safely just the day before the theatre was presented to the public.”

-2-16-29 Exhibitors Herald-World article on the Boyd, p. 71

“Ultra-modern in every way, the theater is notable for the unusual decorations which make it distinctive. Chief among its attractions, aside from the French etched glass which is used in many places and which appears in profusion on the large mirrors in the foyer and lobby, is the modern mural which is presented to the audience as it faces the stage.”
-Opening Day Program, p. 15

Philadelphia’s greatest Art Deco interior, the Boyd’s Grand Lobby has an exuberant and elegant atmosphere. The Grand Lobby is lined with 6 sets of tall Art Deco mirrors that depict the theater curtain, women, plants, and geometric details. A concession stand was added later as movie theaters in the 1920’s did not have concessions. The sign next to the grand stairway said Balcony. The Lobby had a check room for coats & next to it was a letter room where requests for reserved movie seats were processed. The Grand Stairs has metalwork in a jazzy Art Deco pattern. There were originally 3 radiator grilles (below the 1st Art Deco mirrors after entering + below the Grand Stairs) with Art Deco metalwork, but only one grill survived. Two dog statues watched over the Lobby during the Sameric era. In 2005, the Lobby ceiling’s original Art Deco triangles were revealed.

The 1952 photo, saved by Elmer Pickard, who managed the Boyd and other theaters for over 60 years,  depicts the original chandeliers with etched patterns in the glass. On the wall facing Chestnut Street were doors with Art Deco etched glass, and above the doors, Art Deco glass transoms, and above the transoms was Art Deco plaster. The wall also had plaster columns like the other plaster columns in the Lobby. These features and 4 marble pedestals with alabaster vase lights were remodeled away in 1953.  The Lobby Mezzanine also had railing with the same Art Deco patterns as the Grand Stairs.

Now, proceed into the Foyer.

Click one or two times on each photo to enlarge it.