the Loring Hall Cinema
From "History of Hingham", Volume 1, Part 2
In May, 1845, a public meeting of ladies was held for the purposes of ascertaining how many were disposed to cooperate in "a vigorous effort" to supply the want of "a commodious and suitable building for Lectures, Picnics, and Social Meetings of all kinds." At this meeting it was determined by the ladies to hold "a fair to aid in building a Lyceum Hall," and a committee was appointed to make the necessary arrangements for the attainment of the object.
By means of a Fair, a Concert, a Social Party, etc., the committee, with the aid of many others who felt an interest in the undertaking, succeeded in obtaining the sum of $659.56, which was deposited in the Hingham Institution for Savings, until withdrawn to be applied to the object for which it was designed. The fund had accumulated, when thus applied, to the amount of $926.77.
In 1851, by the kind suggestion of a lady who took a deep interest in the project, the wants of this community were made known to Col. Benjamin Loring, of Boston. He immediately offered to supply the funds necessary for the erection of a suitable building.
Col. Benjamin Loring was born in Hingham, Dec. 17, 1775, and died in Boston, Dec. 24, 1859. His affection for his native town had caused in him a desire to do something which might be a permanent memorial of that sentiment, and this project seemed to afford him such an opportunity.
In July, 1851, the committee of ladies had appointed Robert T. Fiske, Caleb B. Marsh, Ebenezer Gay, and Solomon Lincoln to purchase a site for the Hall. A lot was purchased of Thomas Loring, situated on Main Street, near the Old Meeting House, and the funds of the ladies were expended in paying for the lot and in preparing a foundation for the Hall.
A building committee was appointed by Col. Loring and consisted of the following persons: Solomon Lincoln, Robert T.P. Fiske, Marshall Lincoln, Hersey Stowell, Caleb B. Marsh, Atherton Tilden, and Joseph Sprague. The plans, drawings, and specifications for the building were made by Ammi B. Young, of Boston. A contract for its erection was made Oct. 31, 1851, with Samuel Virgin, of Boston.
The building was built with reference to commodiousness and utility, and contains on the lower floor a hall, kitchen, and dressing rooms, and on the main floor a hall with a seating capacity of from four to five hundred persons. The dimensions of the building are 45 by 68 feet.
Upon the completion of the building, Mrs. Elijah Loring, of Boston, and her daughters, Miss Abby M. Loring and Mrs. Cornelia W. Thompson, generously contributed the means for purchasing settees, chandeliers, lamps, mirrors, sofa, tables, carpets, chairs, and other appropriate furniture for the various rooms, at an expense of $619.93. Col. Loring also contributed a further sum of $372.77 for the cost of a furnace, extra work, etc., making the amount expended by him as follows: Cost of superstructure $4,062.80; furnace, etc. $372.77; Total $4,435.57.
Mrs. Thomas Wigglesworth, of Boston, also gave $25, which was expended in grading the lot.
The building was dedicated by appropriate services on Oct. 14, 1852. There were remarks by Solomon Lincoln, who gave a brief history of the undertaking, and read Col. Loring's deed of trust. Colonel Loring addressed the audience giving an interesting sketch of his early life, a concise statement of his motives in causing the hall to be built, and an explanation of the trust deed. At the close of his remarks he delivered the deed to Marshall Lincoln, who received it on behalf of the Trustees and stated that it would be their endeavor to fulfill the wishes of the generous donor in accordance with the spirit and letter of the deed: and that the Trustees voted at their first meeting to give the edifice the name of LORING HALL. After signing, an appropriate prayer was offered: then a Hymn of Dedication, composed for the occasion by James Humphrey Wilder, was read by Rev. Albert Case, and sung with fine effect.
An address was delivered by Rev. Oliver Stearns, and the exercises were closed by singing. The singing was acceptable performed by a select choir, under the direction of Nathan Lincoln.
After the conclusion of the services, Col. Loring and his friends and other invited guests, together with the several committees of ladies and gentlemen who had been concerned in the preparatory arrangements, retired to the lower hall, where they partook of an elegant and bountiful repast, and passed an hour or more very agreeably.
The festivities of the occasion were closed by a ball in the evening, which was attended by several hundred ladies and gentlemen. Col. Loring visited the hall in the evening, and was received by the managers in presence of the large company in a manner expressive of their deep sense of munificence to the inhabitants of Hingham.
Col. Loring made a provision in the deed of trust that in case the conditions of trust should not be complied with, the said grant and gift should be void, he made further provision in his will in case of such a violation of the conditions, as follows:
I do devise and bequeath to the Corporation known as "Derby Academy," in said Hingham, and to their successors forever all my right, title, and interest in the lands, Hall, and premises described and referred to in said Deed of Trust."
In 1936 Loring Hall, then approximately 85 years old, was transformed into an up-to-date motion picture house of charming colonial design. Capitol Theatre Supply Co., from Boston, completed the project at a cost of $15,000.
In February, 1964, the Trustees of Loring Hall turned over the title to Derby Academy. Philip Scott purchased Loring Hall the same month from Derby Academy and has operated a cinema there ever since.
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