Quincy, MA

Locals Fight to Save Quincy's 'Ruth Gordon Amphitheater'

Dianna Carney

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(QUINCY, MASSACHUSETTS) Local residents of Quincy are fighting the city's plan to fill the Ruth Gordon Amphitheater, a beloved local public space, with dirt.

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Who Was Ruth Gordon?

The local amphitheater was named after Ruth Gordon, who graduated from Quincy High School and became an accomplished actress who won several awards throughout her career. Gordon won an Academy Award in 1968 for her role in "Rosemary's Baby", a Primetime Emmy in 1979 for her role in "Taxi", and two Golden Globe Awards for her acting. She also received three Academy Award nominations for her writing.

Her success as an actress and writer made her a role model for many aspiring performers and writers, especially those living in Quincy. The naming of the amphitheater after her was a fitting tribute to her contributions to the arts.

When Did The Amphitheater Open?

Ruth Gordon was thrilled about the construction of the amphitheater and attended the opening ceremony in 1984, only one year before her death. On a chilly November morning, Gordon addressed a crowd of several hundred people, thanking the community for the honor.

"I'm the first person in my family to have a theater named for her. It took a long time. I started toward this 88 years, 11 days and five and a half hours ago. I never face the facts. I never listen to good advice. I'm a slow starter, but I get there," said Gordon to the crowd.

Mayor Frank X. McCauley, in response, told her, "You're one person who has not forgotten where you come from."

Gordon and Natalie Wood at the Golden Globes, 1966Photo byRuth Gordon / Wikipedia

The event occurred seventy years after Ruth Gordon graduated from Quincy High School in 1914. A New York Times article that covered the opening of the amphitheater explained that her graduating year was "deemed the worst in school history. None of its members made the honor roll."

Ruth Gordon, 1930Photo byRuth Gordon / Wikipedia

What is the Future of the Ruth Gordon Amphitheater?

The Ruth Gordon Amphitheater has become an important part of the local Quincy community. Many residents of Quincy have fond memories of attending events at the amphitheater and feel a strong connection to the site. The plan to fill it with dirt has sparked outrage among those who appreciate her legacy and enjoy the community space that the amphitheater provides. A group of citizens has joined together to try and fight to preserve the historic site, which has begun to work.

Due to public outrage, on March 6, 2023, the city of Quincy announced that plans to fill the Ruth Gordon Amphitheater with dirt had been put on hold.

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The city also revealed that they would proceed only after a public process. Those who believe that the amphitheater should be preserved for future generations have welcomed the city's decision to delay the plan. A petition has been created by organizers (which you can find by clicking here) to help build support toward saving and restoring the public amphitheater.

November 11, 1984Photo byThe New York Times

'Save The Ruth Gordon Amphitheater' Event Details

Ruth Gordon at age fourPhoto byRuth Gordon / Wikipedia

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