Saturday, May 6, 2017

THE TOURAINE, BOSTON...

Ten or so years ago, I inherited a scrapbook from my mother. She had compiled it in the 1930s when she lived with her parents and sister in the Boston area. The whole family loved the theatre (not “theater,” mind you…); they went often, and my mother pasted programs and flyers into her scrapbook faithfully—a perfect historical record.

In 1936 or so, she went to the Plymouth Theatre (on Stuart Street in Boston) to see “Boy Meets Girl,” a new play in three acts by Bella and Samuel Spewack; she pasted the program into her scrapbook—a program that contained advertisements for Boston eateries, and there were plenty of them: Ye Old Pub (so close to the Plymouth Theatre that they had a 2-minute curtain bell installed at the bar); Ye Old Oyster House (right next door); the Copley Square Hotel bar; the Blue Room at the Hotel Westminster, the Embassy…
          …you went to the theatre, you went out for a drink and/or a bite to eat afterwards.
          That’s just what you did.

One of my mother’s favorite places to go after a performance was the Hotel Touraine, a residential hotel on the corner of Tremont and Boylston Streets in the theater district of Boston—a big brick and limestone building with a café and bar.

The Café Royal had luncheon plates for 55 cents; dinners cost 75 cents, and were served from 5 until closing. The Touraine also had (according to this flyer) “the most beautiful cocktail bar in Boston,” although in November of 1936, my mother was barely seventeen years old, so I doubt she was cruising the tables.


One of her possessions was a coffee server from the Hotel Touraine…I have no idea how she got it (I can’t, in my wildest moments, believe she actually might have stolen it). It’s heavy silverplate; it has “Hotel Touraine” and a manufacturing number stamped on the bottom.
          I keep it in my dining room, polish it faithfully.

As for Boston’s Hotel Touraine, it closed in 1966 and was converted into an apartment building