I Walked Boston’S Howard Athenaeum – Within the brick plaza space atop the stairs of 1 Center Plaza is a plaque honoring Boston’s former favorite sailor haunts, “The Old Howard.” The Howard Athenaeum, or more commonly referred to as just the Old Howard, was known for its slogan of “Always something doing at the Old Howard.” In addition to its infamous burlesque shows, the Old Howard also showcased the top talent of the day including Abbott and Costello, The Marx Brothers and Rocky Marciano (who fought a series sparring matches here over a 1 week period in 1951).
During these popular shows one common staple which could be found was the bald-headed section in front. Thomas Edison reportedly commented as such in his diary when he was quoted as, “our seats were in the bald-headed section.”
The downfall of the Old Howard occurred in 1953 when the Boston Vice Squad captured a dancer by the name of Mary Good Neighbor stripping on 16mm film. The theatre was forced to close and the numerous efforts to re-open the theatre were finally exhausted when the building burnt down in 1961.
The plaque here to commemorate and remember the Old Howard was dedicated in 1968 by a group which included a songwriter by the name of Francis W. Hatch, who also wrote a song regarding the former burlesque called, “Some Coward Closed the Old Howard.”