Nantucket is so rich in history, but it’s not all about ship captains and whaling boats and lighthouses. The Dreamland Theatre, located in the heart of downtown Nantucket, has a history all its own. Although it began as a meeting house for Quakers in 1832, it has also been a straw hat factory and a roller-skating rink. It was dismantled and moved to Brant Point in 1883, to be part of the Nantucket Hotel.
In 1906, it was floated back across the harbor to its present location, and became a lodge room, dance hall and moving picture theatre. In the early 1900’s, residents flocked to the Dreamland to watch vaudeville on Wednesday evenings for twenty cents. By the 1930’s, the latest in moving pictures was being shown there.
Today, the building is undergoing restoration, and the Nantucket Dreamland Foundation is working to enrich the cultural and intellectual life of Nantucket by providing year-round films and educational programs in one of America’s oldest theatres. Part of the island’s unique character, the building’s historic architecture will be retained, but the foundation is also striving to meet “green” building goals.
Soon, islanders will be able to say to each other once again, “Meet me at the Dreamland!”
For more information, visit www.nantucketdreamland.org.