Scollay Square was named for William Scollay, a prominent local developer and militia officer who bought a landmark four-story merchant building at the intersection in 1795. Locals began to refer to the intersection as Scollay's Square, and in 1838 the city officially memorialized the intersection as Scollay Square. Among the most famous (and infamous) of Scollay Square landmarks was the Old Howard Theatre, a grand theater which began life as the headquarters of a Millerite Adventist Christian sect which believed the world would end in October 1844. After the world failed to end on schedule, the building was sold in 1844 and reopened as a vaudeville and Shakespearean venue. Later, in the 1900s and 1910s, it would showcase the popular minstrel shows.