eliot hall

Eliot Hall History

Built in 1831, Eliot Hall is an architecturally notable Greek Revival building in the heart
of Boston's Jamaica Plain neighborhood. Originally Eliot Hall was a town meeting place
and then a parish hall for the nearby Unitarian Church.

For over 130 years it has been the home of the Footlight Club, America's oldest community theater. In 1889 Club members collectively purchased the building, which was slated for demolition. Thirty-eight year later the Footlight Club was incorporated as a non-profit organization. Its membership retains ownership of Eliot Hall today. In 1988, Eliot Hall was listed in The National Register of Historic Places.

In the 1980's, faced with the possiblity of closing Eliot Hall due to building deterioration, the Footlight Club formed the Trustees of Eliot Hall and began renovations. Initial tasks included structural repairs, electrical and emergency services upgrades, and compliance with modern building codes. A complete exterior facelift, dramatic refurbishing of the main perfomance and meeting spaces, and the addition of new dressing rooms saved Eliot Hall and ensured its role as one of the finest small theater facilities in the city of Boston.

Thanks to the involvement of local volunteers, Eliot Hall remains a major resource that plays an important and active role in its community. The Footlight Club continues efforts to improve and upkeep Eliot Hall. This past year, restoration funds were utilized to replace the Club's slate roof. Future projects inlcude foundation work, structural improvements, and continued efforts toward building assessibility, which will help the Club respond to the need for accessible public meeting and performance space, benefiting the cultural life of the diverse community of Jamaica Plain and its surrounding neighborhoods.

This spring, the Trustees of Eliot Hall successfully submitted a proposal to the Massachusetts Cultural Council Cultural Facilities Fund to support a complete assessment of our historic building for the purpose of creating a master building preservation and accessibility plan. We were awarded a $25,000 challenge grant! The Board of Directors and the Trustees of Eliot Hall invite you to help restore and preserve this historic building and community resource. To make your contribution, please click the DONATE button below. Any amount you can donate is appreciated.