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January 19, 2008


Ron Newman

The Capitol Theatre, not the Winter Hill Theatre, was torn down to build the Star Market. See Lost Theatres of Somerville for much more history.


Awwww.... Ron, why do you have to be such a dick? Who cares about a block or two or the exact theatre it was? I think we all got the gist that there was a theatre on that site many moons ago. You should be a copy editor or just maybe send an email (quietly) to whoever wrote this mentioning the correction.

Another thing I've been meaning to ask you. You are very active in the city and the politics -- especially for a non-business owner, non-native and renter -- why don't you run for office? I think it is great that you are active, but you should belly up to the bar and grow a set of nuts -- you have beliefs (as moonbatish as they can be), so back them up.

Right now you're just the waterboy for the PDS - time to get on the field, isn't it? That way we can all critique every thing you say too. It should make for some fun times.


ron i grew up around the corner, i knew the Theatre you didn't, no matter how much of a geek you try not to be. For your information some referred to it as its name The Capital and some referred to it as the Winter Hill as opposed to the East Somerville and the other theaters in Somerville. Your so smart what was the name of the Threatre on Central & Highland or Cross & Trufts Street, hurry now go rushing to the books. You wouldn't have lasted here in those days, no matter who you knew.


Ron Newman would make a great Cambridge.

Toxic Man

you can't build a public safety building there....the ground isn't contaminated enough.


geekron - Lighten up. The actual name of the theater was the Capitol, forget what some people called it (and apparently there was a "Winter Hill Theater" across the street where the P.O. is now).

Imagine if someone wrote an article refering to the Somerville Theater as the "Davis Square Theater". C'mon.

Forget Ron's latent desire to be a copy editor: 60 seconds of Googling (or, one phone call to JAR) would have dredged up a ton of information regarding the old theatre. If you look at the Lost Theatres site Ron linked to, there's an impressive amount of photos of the Capitol, including one showing a Woolworth's just to the west side of the entry.

Bill Shelton

Closure of the Broadway Star Market is one more increment in the disintegration of neighborhoods and their replacement with cohabiting strangers who shop at regional centers. Unlike the Porter Square and Twin Cities Star/Shaws, staff at the Broadway Star knew their regulars and called them by name. People who needed special help, especially seniors, got it.

Opening of the Stop and Shop made closure of the Broadway Star inevitable. Both residents and city policy makers knew and said this at the time. Bill White proposed an ordinance that would limit the size of the first floor of retail stores to 50,000 or 60,000 sq. ft. Ward 1 Alderman Bill Roche worked very hard to persuade his colleagues to support the measure. Denise Provost voted for it. I think that Joe Curtatone and Tom Taylor did so as well.

The measure failed. Then, as now, it is rare indeed that a mayor cannot get whatever result he or she wishes from the Board of Aldermen. This is not a matter of good guys and bad guys. It is the nature of Somerville’s Charter and outdated political culture.

One of Stop and Shop’s tactics was to trot out a small selection of Bryant Manor seniors who argued that the Broadway Star, which was three blocks north of the Stop and Shop site, was too far to walk, the implication being that the markets on lower Broadway were, in some way, inadequate as well.

Interestingly, I didn’t see a lot of elders at the Stop and Shop after it opened, as I did at the Broadway Star.

Market Basket

the store was outdated and overpriced. For years they took advantage of people who had to walk to get their groceries. They knew they could charge more money because the majority of people in the neighborhood were poorer and had to walk, thus had to pay the asking price. Good riddence, I'll walk the 3 blocks to S&S.

Time marches on.......

While it's always sad to see a mainstay of a neighborhood leave for good, I see no reason why the mayor and the BOA should have created ordinances intended to keep the Star Market. We have lost movie theaters, hardware stores, drug stores, 5 and 10 cent stores, and are about to lose our only bowling alley! It's sad, but it's unfortunately the way of the world. It's 'progress'.

Ron Newman

> Your so smart what was the name of the Threatre on Central & Highland or Cross & Trufts Street,

You can learn all of this and more at Lost Theatres of Somerville -- which is not my web site, it is Davis Guss's. He curated the exhibit of the same name at the Somerville Museum a few years ago.

Fool on the Hill

Actually, I think that the intent of the measure that Bill mentioned wasn't just to block the Stop and Shop. It was aimed at minimizing development of "big boxes"--large format, suburban style super stores--which produce the more traffic and less jobs and taxes per thousand square feet than any other land use. I think that this was part of the conflict over how to develop Assembly Square.

I agree that the Star on Broadway was over priced, as are all of the stores in the Shaw's chain. And it was outdated in terms of its cramped layout. But it was an important part of life for a lot of people in Winter Hill because it was human scale, familiar, friendly, and a place where people often ran into family friends and acquaintances.

I've often heard people say "That's progress" about events like this. I wish that someone could explain to me what "progress" means in this context.



On my second trip to the Stop and Shop this weekend, I was accosted by a man in the parking lot. As I was leaving, a man I did not know drove up along side of me and told me to get in his car. This happened in broad daylight in the middle of the afternoon.

The close proximity to the highway, isolation, and total lack of security or police presence makes this a very dangerous place for women to walk alone. Assembly Square Part 2.

I was willing to shop exclusively at Stop and Shop but they blew it. I will go to Whole Foods and take my groceries home on the bus instead.


There seems to be an attitude in this town that Winter Hill is made up of poor people and immigrants who don't deserve the same security and services as the folks living in luxury condos in other parts of town.

This is racist, ignorant, and classist.

Somerville government should serve its constituents instead of trying to build luxury condominiums so a better class of constituents will move in.

Truth Fan

That’s an interesting point. I remember that when the neighborhood group in East Somerville was opposing Stop and Shop, security was one of their concerns. For example, constructing a building façade that would be over a football field in length, with no windows, would reduce security for Foss Park, the McGrath Hwy sidewalk, and the S&S parking lot. I don’t remember all of the neighbors’ security concerns about the design, but Stop and Shop dismissed them. I also don’t know if the city’s Planning Board and staff made any efforts to get Stop and Shop to do the right thing, but if so, they were small and ineffective.

It's too bad......

It's really too bad, but your comment about the Planning Board really hit the mark. We have a Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals, and Inspectional Services department that have no idea what they are doing. They refuse to make developers toe the line, and have to be forced by residents to get developers to even follow the law, never mind do what's best for the city! Developers in this city seem to have carte blanche to do whatever they please, the people be damned. It's not too late, if the administration wakes up and stops allowing developers to build whatever they want, regardless of the size or the design. Just look around at some of the hideous buildings which have gone up in recent years, and all of the buildings which are too large for the space that they're in. Here's a clue....NOONE AT CITY HALL SEEMS TO CARE. Everyone collects their paycheck, goes home, spends weekends at their second home, and you and I are left to deal with what they've wrought.


A couple of years ago, the Somerville News published an article about how Joe Curtatone outspent his opponent 3 to 1 to become mayor. Much of the money that he raised came from professionals who work in or for developers. An unusual number of contributions for the maximum amount came from women in places like Swampcott who listed their occupation as "homemaker." Following up, it turned out that many of these "homemakers" were also related to real estate industry people. I think that one of the Assembly Square developers organized this contribution dribe.

It's too bad...writes that "It's not too late, if the administration wakes up and stops allowing developers to build whatever they want, regardless of the size or the design." I think that that's unlikely because those developers elected this administration.


There is actually a picture of the Capitol Theater and the Woolworth's next door, hanging in Leone's on Broadway.


That Star Market had the worst produce and dirtiest conditions of any store in Somerville, and they knew they could get away with it. Good riddance. Stores open and close all the time. What's next, a candlelight vigil for Mongo's Tattoo Madness?


I wrote to Stop & Shop to complain/inquire about the poor lighting in their parking lot. I never received a reply. Granted, I posted the question the day before the employees union was planning to go on strike. I thinkg the lights are much too dim. I never shop there after dark.

I wonder if the Planning Board was so 'wowed' by Stop & Shop's paying for the flowers on East Broadway's center strip that they overlooked what was actually important.

Fool on the Hill - your description of what was good about the Winter Hill Star Market mirrors my feeling about it. I'm going to miss it very much. Re: 'progress', I agree with you on this, also.

Phyllis Harrell

I have a questions for all of you Sommerville folks, when did the Star Market open for business, my family memeber worked there from day one til they closed. I would love to know the exact date they opened...

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