Lowell as ‘Bingopolis’
On the Lowell Memorial Auditorium website, I found this fascinating nugget in Ed Harley’s history of the building—PM
“After its dedication in 1922, the Lowell Memorial Auditorium hosted a variety of conventions, civic and religious affairs, and programs of purely recreational or educational values. Liberty Hall became the home of the popular Parker Lecture Series.
“One of the most unusual uses of the building was a weekly Bingo game, which was held on every Thursday evening for several years. Lowell’s East End Club sponsored these games, with the proceeds going to charity. John Carney, a Lowell carnival man, ran the weekly event, which often sold out the more than 3,000 seats available to the public. Life magazine featured the event in a pictorial spread in their January 15, 1940 issue. The article was titled, ‘Life Goes To A Bingo Game; In Lowell 3,000 fans play weekly.’ Life called Lowell ‘A natural Bingopolis,’ explaining that the games were held, ‘not in a club, church or cinema, but in the million-dollar Corinthian-column Lowell Memorial Auditorium.’ ”
Web image courtesy of myolddadz.com
2 Responses to Lowell as ‘Bingopolis’
One note of interest in the pics – many people probably didn’t know or don’t remember that there were “stage” balcony seats behind the main LMA stage before the big renovation. That made for a certain kind of flexibility but impeded a back stage or “fly” wings needed for certain productions. The renovation made a big difference for the offerings! And of course, the John Carney mentioned is the same JC of 21 Blossom Street who served on the Lowell City Council… on WCAP on Saturday mornings you could hear his paid-for political pitch… “Speaking straight from the shoulder”…
That’s my grandmother knitting as she watches her cards in the bottom right picture.