The Lowell Area Historical Museum is offering a weekly feature to explore local history. The ABCs of Lowell History continues with a look at the Strand Theater, which now houses Larkin’s Other Place. To learn more about Lowell history, visit the museum website to explore its collection of local artifacts and records.
In October of 1927, the Lowell Ledger announced “Lowell is Soon to Have New Movie Theatre.” It was to seat 400 and provide vaudeville entertainment as well as moving pictures. In May of 1928 it was proclaimed that “New Strand Theater Nears Completion.” Now it was 514 opera chairs that were about to be installed, and the pipe organ was expected to arrive the next week.
The name ‘Strand’ identified the class of theater. It was a theater without a balcony. It was classier than a Bijou theater, and showed higher profile movies.
The big opening was a fine success! The Strand opened with a big bang with all of its luxurious opera chairs full with a pleased and eagerly expectant audience. The roar and tremolo of the powerful pipe organ filled the ample auditorium; pictures, illustrated news, comedy and a newspaper drama, “Telling the World”, introducing scenes of Chinese riots, were shown and the entertainment concluded with a vaudeville act put on by a quartet of dancing girls.
1930 was a big year for The Strand Theater. A RCA photophone projection apparatus was installed along with a new ‘air-cooling- device to keep patrons cool in hot weather.’ The Strand received a bronze plaque awarded for “Award of Merit” for “perfection and excellence that is achieved by The Strand in the presentation, projection and reproduction of talking and sound motion pictures.”
The only class of Lowell High School to hold graduation exercises at the Strand was the Class of 1935. Famous stars such as Laurel and Hardy performed at the Strand.
Though it was to close as a theater the following year, in 1982 The Strand Theater, in small town Lowell, had an amazing experience. Following the death of Henry Fonda, the studio pulled the movie “On Golden Pond” out of circulation for a few weeks. Because of prior commitments, The Strand was allowed to show the film as scheduled, effectively making it the only theatre showing the academy award winning film, exclusively!!
Today The Strand is a venue and is used for various events from plays, dinner theater to a venue for ‘Christmas Thru Lowell.’