On the Shakespeare Bust at Beach Street

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I have passed by this bust of Shakespeare on Beech Street in Chinatown, Boston several times, but have had no idea of it’s origin. (Source)

Someone on Waymaking.com, which according to their website “provides tools for you to catalog, mark and visit interesting and useful locations around the world” has a posting describing this, titled “Shakespeare Bust, 15 Beach Street – Boston, MA“:

In Boston, in an area on the edge of both Chinatown and the Theatre District, is a narrow way called Beach Street. A block south of Washington is a non-descript building at 15 Beach Street, which has an alcove that is occupied by the bust of Williams Shakespeare.

Not much is known about it. There is nothing on the bust or the building the provides any information. The building appears to be an apartment, today. There is more ornamentation than usual as there are pillasters at points – was this a small theater in the past? I found a reference on Flickr that collaborates with me that the bust is of the bard.

The location is between two Asian restaurants. It is one block to the east of Washington Street, and one block north of Kneeland Street. The area is dark and somewhat dingy, but it is fine during the day as there is plenty of walking traffic.

For a better grasp on the subject of theatre in Boston, I found a great piece from King’s Dictionary of Boston by Edwin Monroe Bacon, pages 156 to 160:






From this, we can see there is a little portion in which a theatre is mentioned on Beach Street, on page 159:

Furthermore, from the same book, I found another piece on the area of which the item was located, the South Cove part of Boston, page 434:


Additionally, I found another landmark that would have been located on the same street, the United-States Hotel, page 434:


Another book with some material includes  A guide book of Boston, adopted by the New England Hardware Dealers’ Association for the joint convention and exhibition of the National Retail Hardware Association and the New England Hardware Dealers’ Association also by Edwin Monroe Bacon, page ix:

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Yet another book, Boston Register and Business Directory, Issue 83 by Sampson & Murdock, page 495 might seem the most helpful though:

Quite obviously, it seems that the bust has an affiliation with Loew’s Globe Theatre. According to Boston Register and Business Directory, Issue 85 by Sampson & Murdock, page 768:


It appears that it the actual theatre, then was located on 692 Washington Street, around the corner from the “business location” on Beach Street. Acco0rding to Documents of the City of Boston for the Year 1917. In four volumes. Volume I: Containing Documents from No. I to No. 15, Inclusive, Published by Order of the City Council, on page 69:


According to Poor’s Government and Municipal Supplement (1922), on the theatre industry in the State:


 

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Who is Marcus Loew?

According to Everything Explained:

Marcus Loew was born in New York City into a poor Polish Jewish family who had settled in New York City the year before. He was forced by circumstances to work at a very young age and had little formal education. Nevertheless, beginning with a small investment from money saved from menial jobs, he bought into the penny arcade business. Shortly after, in partnership with Adolph Zukor and others, Loew acquired a nickelodeon and over time he turned Loew’s Theatres into a leading chain of vaudeville and movie theaters in the United States.

By 1905, Marcus Loew was on his own and his success eventually necessitated that he secure a steady flow of product for his theaters. In 1904, he founded the People’s Vaudeville Company, a theater chain which showcased one-reel films as well as live variety shows. In 1910, the company had considerably expanded and was renamed Loew’s Consolidated Enterprises. His associates included Adolph Zukor, Joseph Schenck, and Nicholas Schenck. In 1919, Loew reorganized the company under the name Loew’s, Inc.

By 1913, Loew operated a large number theaters in New York City including the American Music Hall, Avenue A Theatre, Avenue B Theatre, Broadway Theatre (41st St.), Circle Theatre, and the Columbia Theatre in Brooklyn. Other Loew-operated theaters were the Delancey St. Theatre, Greeley Sq. Theatre, Herald Square Theatre, Liberty Theatre, Brooklyn, Lincoln Sq. Theatre, National Theatre (149th St.), Plaza Theatre, 7th Ave. Theatre (124th St.), Shubert Theatre, Brooklyn, and the Yorkville Theatre. Outside of New York, he managed the Columbia Theatre (Boston) and the Metropolitan Opera House (Philadelphia).

Loew found himself faced with a serious dilemma: his merged companies lacked a central managerial command structure. Loew preferred to remain in New York overseeing the growing chain of Loew’s Theatres. Film production had been gravitating toward southern California since 1913. By 1917 he oversaw a number of enterprises: Borough Theatre Co., Empress Amusement Corp., Fort George Amusement Co., Glendive Amusement Corp., Greeley Square Amusement Co., Loew’s Consolidated Enterprise, Loew’s Theatrical Enterprises, Mascot Amusement Co., Natonia Amusement Co., People’s Vaudeville Co.

In 1920, Loew purchased Metro Pictures Corporation. A few years later, he acquired a controlling interest in the financially troubled Goldwyn Picture Corporation which at that point was controlled by theater impresario Lee Shubert. Goldwyn Pictures owned the “Leo the Lion” trademark and studio property in Culver City, California. But without its founder Samuel Goldwyn, the Goldwyn studio lacked strong management. With Loew’s vice president Nicholas Schenck needed in New York City to help manage the large East Coast movie theater operations, Loew had to find a qualified executive to take charge of this new Los Angeles entity.

Loew recalled meeting a film producer named Louis B. Mayer who had been operating a successful, if modest, studio in east Los Angeles. Mayer had been making low budget melodramas for a number of years, marketing them primarily to women. Since he rented most of his equipment and hired most of his stars on a per-picture basis, Loew wasn’t after Mayer’s brick and mortar business; he wanted Mayer and his Chief of Production, the former Universal Pictures executive, Irving Thalberg. Nicholas Schenck was dispatched to finalize the deal that ultimately resulted in the formation of Metro-Goldwyn Pictures in April 1924 with Mayer as the studio head and Thalberg chief of production.

Mayer’s company folded into Metro Goldwyn with two notable additions: Mayer Pictures’ contracts with key directors such as Fred Niblo and John M. Stahl, and up-and-coming actress Norma Shearer, later married to Thalberg. Mayer would eventually be rewarded by having his name added to the company. Loews Inc. would act as MGM’s financier and retain controlling interest for decades.

While immediately successful, Loew didn’t live to see the powerhouse that MGM was to become. He died three years later of a heart attack at the age of 57 in Glen Cove, New York. He was interred in the Maimonides Cemetery in Brooklyn.

For his very significant contribution to the development of the motion picture industry, Marcus Loew has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1617 Vine Street. To this day, the Loew name is synonymous with movie theaters.

Furthermore, according to the Boston Globe article, “When Boston was home to many lavish theaters“:

The Orpheum opened as the Music Hall, in 1852. After Marcus Loew bought it, in 1910, he changed the name to Loews Orpheum and completely rebuilt it, making it the prototype for his nationwide chain of theaters. It had seats for 3,320 filmgoers. Movies continued to screen there until 1974, when it became a full-time concert hall.

And additionally, according to Boston’s Downtown Movie Palaces by Arthur Singer and Ron Goodman, Chapter Five: The Loew’s State Theatre and Back Bay Theatres, page 53:

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Notably, he was part of the famed “Vaudeville Wars” in New York City. According to The New York Times article, “LOEW AND MORRIS END VAUDEVILLE WAR” from 1911:

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Another article detailing some more on the “Vaudeville Wars” is from The New York Times article, “VAUDEVILLE STRIFE ENDS.” from 1913:

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Also from 1911, from The New York Times, is “Loew Corporation; 5,000,000.” detailing the incorporation of Loew’s Theatrical Enterprises:

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By 1914, according to The New York Times article, “LOEW IN $4,000,000 VAUDEVILLE DEAL,” the Sullivan & Considine Theatrical Syndicate was bought out involving $3,000,000 and $4,000,000:

97590889_11During 1917, there was an infamous actors strike conducted by the White Rats, as according to The New York Times article, “Vaudeville Actors Go on Strike.”:

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Ironically, both parties had claimed they were winning during the strike, as according to The New York Times article, “STRIKE FAILS, SAYS LOEW.”:

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Within weeks, the strike was called off, as according to The New York Times article, “CALL OFF STRIKE IN WAR.”:

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In 1920, Loew bought Metro Pictures, the future Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, as according to The New York Times article, “Marcus Loew Buys Metro Pictures.”:

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Also in 1920, Loew married Mildred Harriet Zukor, the daughter of Adolph Zukor, as according to The New York Times article, “THEIR WEDDING FILMED.”:

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Although the strike had ended, the White Rats had brought the Vaudeville Manager’s Protective Association to the Federal Trade Commission on the grounds of breaking the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, but the Vaudeville Manager’s had won. According to The New York Times article, “VAUDEVILLE HEADS WIN FINAL VICTORY”:

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In 1924, a merger took place between Metro Pictures, Goldwyn Pictures, and Louis B. Mayer Company to become Metro-Goldwyn Corporation, as according to The New York Times article, “$65,000,000 MOVIE MERGER COMPLETE”:

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On the death of actor Rudolph Valentino, in 1926, Loew is to have said, according to The New Times article, “MOVIE WORLD PAYS VALENTINO TRIBUTE.”

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“I cannot express my grief over the loss of Valentino. He was a friend.”

In 1927, Loew delivered a lecture to students at Harvard Business School, as according to The New York Times article, “A PRODUCER AT HARVARD”:

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In 1927, however, he died suddenly in his sleep, as according to The New York Times article, “MARCUS LOEW DIES SUDDENLY IN SLEEP”:

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Following his death, Joseph M. Schenk took over the position of President of the Board of Directors of Loew’s Inc. Arthur Loew, son of Marcus, was elected Vice President and on the Executive Committee, as according to The New York Times article, “SCHENCK SUCCEEDS TO LOEW’S POSTS”:

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In 1929, commemorating the fifty-ninth anniversary of Marcus Loew’s birth, a bronze tablet was placed in the lobby of Loew’s State Theatre, as according to The New York Times article, “LOEW TABLET IS UNVEILED.”:

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Arthur M. Loew, Sr. and David L. Loew

I do not have much on Arthur Loew, but according to the New York Clipper, on November 12th,  1919, he married Mildred Zukor, daughter of Adolph Zukor, at the Ritz-Carlton in New York City:

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Following his father’s death, him and his wife became estranged, as according to The New York Times article, “LOEW AND WIFE ESTRANGED.”:

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By 1930, Mildred divorced Arthur on the charges of mental cruelty, as according to The New York Times article, “TO DIVORCE ARTHUR LOEW.”:

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In 1932, while in Chile, he was fined $10,000 for flying away without a permit, as according to The New York Times article, “Arthur M. Loew Is Fined $10,000 in Chile For Flying Away Without Permit for Plane”:

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In 1936, his wife, Barbara, also filed for divorce from him on the charges of cruelty, as according to The New York Times article, “DIVORCES ARTHUR M. LOEW”:

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On David Loew, the Online Achieve of California includes a biography on his papers:

David L. Loew was an American film producer and one of two twin sons of Marcus Loew, founder of the theatrical enterprises, Loew’s, Inc. His brother, Arthur M. Loew Sr., was president of Loew’s. In 1922, David Loew was elected to the board of Loew’s, but resigned as vice president in 1935 to concentrate on his independent production career. Loew’s producing credits include THE MOON AND SIXPENCE (1942) and NIGHT IN CASABLANCA (1946).

 

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Arthur M. Loew, Jr. and actress Natalie Wood.

Arthur M. Loew, Jr.

I do not know a lot about Arthur M. Loew, Jr. but according to The New York Times obituary, “Arthur Loew Jr. Film Producer, 69“:

Arthur Loew Jr., a comedian who became a film writer and producer, died on Friday at his home in Amado, Ariz. He was 69 and had recently begun treatment for lung cancer, his family said.

Mr. Loew worked as a newspaper drama critic and sports reporter in the late 1940’s before heading to California. Among the films he produced were “The Rack,” starring Paul Newman, “The Affairs of Dobie Gillis,” with Debbie Reynolds, and “Penelope,” starring Natalie Wood.

Mr. Loew was a member of a film dynasty. His maternal grandfather, Adolph Zukor, founded Paramount Pictures. His paternal grandfather, Marcus Loew, founded Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios and Loew’s Theaters, and his father, Arthur Loew Sr., was a president of M-G-M.

Mr. Loew’s first marriage ended in divorce. He is survived by his second wife, Regina, four sons and two daughters.

Further information can be found at the Los Angeles Times article, “Arthur Loew Jr.; Producer, Grandson of MGM, Paramount Founders“:

Arthur Loew Jr., 69, producer whose grandfathers founded MGM Studios, Loew’s Theaters and Paramount Pictures. A native New Yorker, Loew spent his youth and later years in Arizona, where he served as chairman of the state’s Motion Picture & Television Advisory Board. In 1984, he was also chairman of the Advisory Board of the National Assn. of Film Commissioners. In his Hollywood era, Loew produced “The Affairs of Dobie Gillis” in 1953, which spawned the television series, and Paul Newman’s film “The Rack” in 1956. Once married to Tyrone Power’s widow, Deborah, Loew dated a string of actresses, including Natalie Wood. The Hollywood scion’s paternal grandfather, Marcus Loew, founded the family theater chain and MGM, while his maternal grandfather, Adolph Zukor, started Paramount. On Friday in Amado, Ariz., of cancer.

There is also information on his extensive dating history from Who’s Dated Who?:

During his life he was married to Debbie Minardos in 1959.

He also dated Natalie Wood in 1966, Angie Dickinson in 1961, Elizabeth Taylor in 1958, Vikki Dougan in 1957, Joan Collins from 1956 to 1957, Eartha Kitt in 1954, Janice Rule in 1952, Patricia Knight in 1952, Pier Angeli in 1950, Janet Leigh in 1950, Joi Lansing in 1949, Debbie Reynolds, Dorothy Dandridge and Marisa Pavan.


 

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Stewart and Laurel Loew.

Stewart Loew

Stewart Loew is the son of Arthur Loew, Jr. who currently lives in Arizona and has owned a farm with his wife, Laurel. According to USA Today article, “Ariz. couple living their dream on working farm“:

It’s easy to envy Laurel and Stewart Loew.

And they worry about their livelihood sometimes as they shift their focus from farmers markets to more on-site events.

But what’s different about this couple and their day-to-day challenges is what sustains them.

They awaken each day to a spectacular mountain backdrop, to a life of sun hats, old jeans, big trees and lively animals.

They awaken to fresh eggs and fresh air.

They awaken to a life that’s entirely their own.

Stewart’s father was the first in the family to fall in love with Agua Linda Farm.

The property is in Amado, about 35 miles south of Tucson and was, in the 1950s, nearly 1,000 acres of farmland.

Agua Linda’s four-bedroom hacienda was designed in the 1940s by renowned Tucson architect Josias Joesler. Carlos Ronstadt, a prominent local cattleman and businessman, and uncle to singer Linda Ronstadt, raised cattle and farmed cotton, alfalfa, corn, and barley on the property.

In the 1950s, the first of Agua Linda’s many brushes with Hollywood occurred when the opening scene to “Oklahoma” was filmed in the farm’s cornfields.

Stewart’s father, movie producer Arthur Loew Jr., bought the property in 1957. His father had spent much of his childhood in Southern Arizona, Stewart said, and sometimes longed for the simple life of a cowboy.

Though Arthur loved Agua Linda’s rustic charm, he brought luxuries to his home such as Tiffany windows, priceless furnishings, and family heirloom silver and china.

Arthur Loew Jr. came from a Hollywood dynasty that included Adolph Zukor, Arthur’s maternal grandfather, who founded Paramount Pictures. Arthur’s paternal grandfather, Marcus Loew, founded Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios (MGM) and Loews Theaters, and his father, Arthur Loew Sr., was a president of MGM.

Today, a long hallway on the hacienda’s southern end is lined with black and white photos of Hollywood stars who visited the ranch: Natalie Wood, Elizabeth Taylor, Joan Collins, Paul Newman, Gene Kelly, James Dean and John Wayne.

When Stewart was a child, the property was managed by two hired men, who lived with their families in outbuildings.

“We went to school together, learned to swim together in the irrigation ditches, stole corn out of the field and had fun moving the survey stakes around when (the Arizona Department of Transportation) was putting in the interstate (I-19),” Stewart said.

Stewart followed the Grateful Dead for a while, and dabbled briefly with a career as a sound engineer before returning home with memories and dreams he’d carried since he was a child.

He wanted to be a farmer, to create a business that would benefit his family and his neighbors. But figuring out the best approach has been challenging.

“I was born at the last stroke of midnight of the agricultural era in our community,” said Stewart, 42.

Until last fall, Stewart and Laurel drove to Tucson three times a week with a variety of produce to sell at farmers markets and restaurants.

Their crops have included sugar snap peas and fava beans in spring, green beans and chard in summer, pumpkins and pomegranates in fall, and arugula and turnips in winter.

This fall, they are growing watermelon, cantaloupe, winter and summer squash, pie pumpkins, decorative pumpkins, garlic and onions. During their annual pumpkin festival in October, visitors can pick their own or buy produce at Agua Linda’s small store.

Community-supported agriculture has long been Stewart and Laurel’s passion, but they found it difficult to make the commute to sell and deliver their food.

“We were marketing the farm as a destination, but then abandoning the farm to go to market,” Laurel said. “We aren’t really sure where the CSA program is going from here, though we are certain that we want our members to be more local — driving to Tucson doesn’t make a lot of sense when we are so busy here.”

During the year, Agua Linda Farm, now 63 acres, plays host to weddings, outdoor dinners, a pumpkin festival, an Easter celebration and, in June, an onion and garlic festival. One dinner, Laurel said, is worth weeks of cash flow from a farmers market.

Stewart said they plan to do more outdoor feasts and weddings.

Another idea would be to sell produce at nearby Rancho Sahuarita, but they haven’t confirmed anything yet. For now, they are watching to see how things unfold, how the economy shifts.

Two years ago, Laurel said about 3,000 children attended Agua Linda’s pumpkin patch field trips. But the next year, that number dropped by nearly half because of budget cuts. Many schools can no longer afford to transport the children, she said.

This year, they will have about 16 acres of pumpkins for the October festival.

“I never thought we would be pumpkin farmers,” Stewart said with a laugh. “You never know what the tide will bring you.”

Laurel, 40, loves the dirt under her nails, the sweet smell of cow manure and “the warm comfort of wrapping my arms around a sweaty horse after a ride.”

Born in Maine and raised in the Bahamas, Laurel moved to Tumacacori at 16. She met Stewart at Sahuarita High School. They’ve been together 22 years.

For several years, Laurel worked as a second-grade teacher before adopting their two children, whom Stewart refers to as their “two miracles.”

The couple shares the farm with their kids, now teenagers, and with Stewart’s mother, Regina, a former actress and Broadway dancer. Stewart’s father died in 1995.

Agua Linda is also home to seven cats and six dogs as well as cows, horses, chickens, goats and sheep.

The grounds have changed a bit from when Stewart was a child. For one thing, all of the outbuildings are gone and the small guest house is now a home, with four bedrooms and three baths.

Laurel and Stewart said they still prefer one another’s company, and life on the farm, to anything else.

“This is what I want to do and where I want to live. I have accepted the notion and reality that farming has always been a livelihood of subsistence living,” Stewart said.

“That said, it has balanced my own perspective of privilege, of my being able to farm. I was born privileged and though we now have some hard times, I am very fortunate to live on my family’s farm.”

Laurel said when she fantasizes about doing something else, it’s always short-lived.

“Ultimately, when I look out my window and see the view that I have, see my Appaloosa grazing in the pasture, see my family and friends who gravitate to the farm for every holiday, birthday and family wedding, I know there is no better life.”

Also, according to the Green Valley News article, “A new direction: Agua Linda Farm ending festival, farming“:

A 15-year tradition ends this month as Agua Linda Farm brings down the curtain on its final fall festival.

Owners Stewart and Laurel Loew also say they will cease organic farming operations at their 63-acre Amado farm.

The festival, which is currently running weekends through Oct. 26, launched in 1999, and grew into an annual tradition for scores of families in Southern Arizona.

Stewart said the festival was a natural extension of their yearly pumpkin harvest. He had taken note of the success enjoyed by grower Mark Larkin of Tubac Farms, who planted pumpkins on 40 acres each year and opened the fields to “pick it yourself” traffic. So Loew decided to give it a go.

He planted about eight acres of pumpkins the first year, and minimal local advertising and word-of-mouth drew what he called an encouraging reception. Invitations were extended to schools for field trips and Agua Linda Farm quickly became a must-visit destination for teachers and students.

“I think people just didn’t like crossing the (Santa Cruz) river to get to Tubac Farms and we became the favored choice,” he said.

Prior to farming pumpkins, Loew and his wife first “scratched the earth” in 1993.

Following a trip to Europe, Stewart’s mother, Regina Loew, returned to the Amado farm and exclaimed, “We’ve got to grow arugula!”

This led to an ambitious undertaking by Stewart and Laurel, who were determined to break into the niche market of supplying European greens to high-end restaurants and gourmet shops locally and in Tucson. They felt that they could distinguish themselves as the area’s only purveyor of high-quality produce naturally grown under strictly controlled organic conditions.

While the farm never underwent the stringent process to receive Certified Organic status, all of the same practices were followed in the growing process, he said. Fields were even tilled by horse-drawn plows.

But nature had other ideas and the Loews were met with challenge upon challenge. After six years of hard work, it became apparent that the time and cash investment needed to produce quality crops was not paying off.

“There are just a few months-long windows to prepare fields, plant, and harvest produce over the course of a year. A storm, a freeze, or a heat wave can devastate a farm the size of ours,” Stewart said.

Laurel said the concept of a boutique farm was becoming less practical.

“We cannot produce diversified crops and compete with the growing number of commercial operations in Southern Arizona,” she said. “We are in a wilderness area and constantly at odds with nature. We can’t feed the deer, javelinas and rabbits and have enough to distribute profitably to customers.”

More competition

The success of the pumpkin crops and subsequent growth of the fall festival made scaling back on greens and other crops an easier decision to make. An Easter event and yearly Garlic and Onion Festival in June were added. But competition from other operators and reduced profitability of the festivals have led to the decision to eliminate them altogether.

Apple Annie’s in Willcox and Buckelew Farm in Tucson are much larger and more commercialized incarnations of the harvest festival concept, he said. Both have been in operation for years but have not seemed to affect the profitability of the Agua Linda festivals, which have enjoyed a loyal following despite no marketing.

Stewart said a new player, Marana Pumpkin Patch and Farm Festival, has tilted the balance.

“They are a huge operation, almost on the scale of an amusement park,” he said. “They have everything the other festivals have but bigger and better. They even installed a quarter-scale diesel railroad. We’re now feeling the loss of visitors to our farm.”

From 2005 through 2011, the Agua Linda Farm Fall Festival profits grew by at least 10 percent annually. However, the farm’s 2012 and 2013 event attendance and revenue has fallen considerably. Stewart attributes this in part to the 2012 opening of the Marana Pumpkin Patch but also suggests another factor surely has come into play: “There are just too many events locally and in surrounding areas. Races, festivals, concerts, farmers markets – especially in October when the weather is so nice.”

And so, the end of an era has come to Agua Linda Farm.

Laurel says all previously worked fields have been harvested and there is no plan for crop production in the near future. Petting zoo animals will likely be sold off; the family will maintain a minimal herd of cattle for consumption and grazing land for their horses.

A new venture

But the Loews still have big plans for the farm.

Stewart and Laurel say a side business of renting the property adjacent to the elegant family farmhouse for weddings is burgeoning.

The bucolic grounds nestled under old-growth mesquite, cottonwood and mulberry trees, a view of the mountains, and with lush grass underfoot, are in high demand by couples planning that perfect wedding.

The first wedding was held a decade ago. The bride was Nina Ronstadt, granddaughter of rancher Carlos Ronstadt (singer Linda Ronstadt’s uncle), who sold Agua Linda Farm to Arthur Loew Jr. in the 1950s. The farm still held a special place in the Ronstadt family’s hearts.

Beginning in 2004, Stewart and Laurel hosted about five weddings each year. Since 2009, it has grown to as many as 30, and that keeps them busy.

Reflecting on the end of the festivals and moving on from farming, Stewart, 45, was sentimental and practical.

“It has been a great experience and we created a lot of nice memories for people,” he said. “I’ll miss it but it was hard work. I’ve got to work smarter now.”

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Conclusions

To conclude, from a seemingly random bust of Shakespeare on an outside wall in Chinatown, I have addressed it’s real origins which is steeped in Vaudeville theater, the New York City Vaudeville Wars, the Loew’s Theaters chain, old Hollywood actors and actresses, and finally, a couple who owns a farm in Arizona. Of course, I could be entire wrong about the origin of the bust, and it could be a remnant of the Unique Theatre, but that would be another post then.

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