Strand Theater

310-12 E. State Street,
Ithaca, NY 14850

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Showing 1 - 25 of 37 comments

nathaniellp on November 29, 2017 at 7:53 pm

Hi everyone—

I’m working on a project to try and put together a watch list for some writers who were living in Ithaca in the 40s and 50s – does anyone have an information about the comparative ticket prices at the operating theaters in that period? We’ve looked through advertisements in the Ithaca Journal but have been unsuccessful in finding prices.

thanks so much!

rivest266 on March 8, 2017 at 4:02 pm

This opened on April 23rd, 1917. Grand opening ad in the photo section.

Jack Theakston
Jack Theakston on February 12, 2013 at 5:17 pm

The Comerford Amusement Co. apparently look control of this in 1928 and did some remodeling work.

Minstrel777 on January 9, 2011 at 7:49 pm

Yes Paul,
Parking lots are so attractive – all in the name of progress. The images I have are not photos. they are 3d renderings of what I remember. (a set of floor plans helped and the STRAND sign is interpreted from an early 1920’s photo)You may go to Google’s 3D warehouse and search ithaca NY to view the model. I hope to have it ready for download later this spring.

View link

psomerf on January 9, 2011 at 9:07 am

Minstrel – I compared photo on your site to google earth and my memory of that block, and that photo is not a current representation of the area. The building with the strand sign on it is not there, and has not been there some 17 years. (Search Google on the address, and it will show you the hole, and the empty lot behind where the auditorium was.)

The Triphammer theater is long gone as well. Hoyt’s fixed it up in the 1996 or so, turned it into a multi-cinema. I saw a couple of movies there before moving away. By 2000 it was closed again, and is now a hotel.


rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on April 4, 2009 at 11:03 am

To Minstrel777- re: John Noble. According to the little article in the Paragon Ragtime Orchestra newsletter, he died after the 1920s. If his middle name was Arthur, then maybe the “gravestone” backstage at the Strand was some sort of inside joke. You seem to know a lot about Ithaca theaters, so perhaps you could write pages here in CT for those not already in the data base, such as the Lyceum.

Minstrel777 on April 4, 2009 at 8:05 am

As an aside about near-far and far-Near I would like to point out that there were/are several theaters in Ithaca that have not been mentioned and might fit. The Lyceum might have been the Far-near as it was around the corner on Cayuga Street from the State(Near-Far) and still existed uptil I believe 1957 when a fire more or less ruined the theater. I recall a photo of a 50’s style fire engine ladder truck spraying water on the facade.(If someone would go to the Tompkins County Library and look at the microfilm of old Ithaca Journals this date can br rectified) Although mostly performances were held there I believe there mere movieolas as well. The last performance was a cooking show and I think it is widely believed that this had nothing to do with the fire.
In the history of Ithaca there were many theaters in this area. I would say an inordinate amount but considering some movies were made in Ithaca at Wharton Studios it is not surprising.
Other theaters not mentioned in CT are the Crescent and Star theaters. Both existed in the ‘50’s and the Crescent building exists today. The Crescent was/is at the base of Buffalo St. hill on Aurora St. and would be a candidate for Near-Near although I do not know when the Crescent stopped showing movies and started showing basketball games. The Crescent did not have a stage. Many people might remeber the Crescent as the Arcade Night Club from the 70’s and 80’s. Today it has been converted to offices and apartments. At least it is not a parking lot. It may be oldest theater in Ithaca today.
The Star was located either right next to the Temple theater on Seneca St. or a block west and was the premier stage in Ithaca whereas the Lyceum was the premier house. The 2 were in heavy competition until April 1917 when the Strand Theatre opened. The Strand was the queen. It had it all. Full size stage, engineered acoustics, and not a bad seat in the house. And she wasn’t that bad to look at either with her simple elegance.
A more extensive list of theaters in Ithaca as my memory recollects.
The Manhattan Theatre. – late 1800’s vaudeville
The Little Theatre – Located in Clinton Hall around the turn of the century.-vaudeville (may be the oldest if it still exists in the building)
The Star Theatre – vaudeville/performing arts/movies
The Crescent Theater-Movies only
The Lyceum Theatre-vaudeville/performing arts/movies
The Temple-I do not know if the Temple had a stage. movies
The Strand Theater- Vaudeville/movies/performing arts – Of
The State Theater- half a stage. Vaudeville/movies
The Ithaca Theater- Movies

These theaters were all located in a 10 by 3 block strip in downtown.
Other area theaters include but are not limited to
Fall Creek Cinema – Movies – a converted grocery store.
The Hangar Theatre – Performing arts – A converted airplane hangar.
The Triphammer Theater – Movies, Located in Lansing

I have not been in Ithaca on a regular basis and have no information on the Kitchen Theater. In fact it has been so long since I did research on the Strand in old Ithaca Journals that I have to question some of my data.

Lastly, Since CT is making little, if any, progress on the photo data base I offer this link View link for a continuing forum on The Strand Theatre, Theaters of Ithaca, or my conservative politics.

Minstrel777 on March 31, 2009 at 4:36 pm

Rick or Ron,
I would like some info on John Noble. You say in your Post his name was John A. Noble and I was wondering if his middle name was Arthur and did he perhaps go by his midddle name as I have, perhaps, some info relating to him. Inscribed on the side of an old wooden instrument locker in the orchestra cage under the stage at the Strand in rather elegant script including hand drawn scroll work and border was
“Here lies J. Arthur Noble
His Epitaph
August 1926”

and following at the bottom someone added “Wowie Zimbo"
A term I had never heard before. This is as best my memory can recollect as I have not seen it since 1981 and I do not know if the cabinets survived the theater. I might be a little off on the date.

To Paul,
I was at the Strand in Oct., 2008 and took many photos of the theater.

psomerf on March 14, 2009 at 10:41 pm

I walked past the Strand yesterday. It’s still a parking lot. And the walls on the adjacent walls have some graffiti on them.

RickBenjamin on February 10, 2009 at 12:54 pm

Hi Ron:

Thanks for this information, which is very interesting. I recently purchased a 1906 color post card of the interior of the Ithaca Lyceum. It was a very beautiful theater, indeed. I’ll try to post a scan of the card here, if I can figure out how to.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on February 10, 2009 at 8:28 am

The Lyceum in Ithaca is listed in the 1897-98 edition of the Julius Cahn Official Theatrical Guide. The Mgr. was M Gutstadt; there were 8 members of the house orchestra under George Coleman. The house was on the ground floor and had gas illumination. The proscenium opening was 36 feet square and the stage was 36 feet deep. There were 3 daily newspapers and 3 weeklies; hotels for show folk were the Ithaca, Clinton House, Hollister House and Tompkins House. The 1897 population of Ithaca was 15,000.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on February 9, 2009 at 11:12 am

Rick Benjamin- for photos of the Lyceum, try the Theatre Historical Society, Elmhurst IL. Their website, with e-mail address, is Or perhaps there is a local historical society in Ithaca. Another possibility is the archives of Cornell University in Ithaca.

RickBenjamin on December 8, 2008 at 12:38 pm

The Paragon Ragtime Orchestra does now own the Ithaca Lyceum Theatre’s pit orchestra music collection, as described in Mr. Salter’s post above. The Lyceum did indeed become a cinema in 1915. The Lyceum Collection includes hundreds of early 1912-1918 silent film cues for orchestra, as well as music cue sheets for specific “photoplays.” Apparently conductor John A. Noble (1875-?) was brought in to the Lyceum from Chicago’s Majestic Theatre because of his expertise with film underscoring.
We will be posting photos of these scores and artifacts from the Lyceum soon on our website at
For our researches we would really like to find PHOTOS of the Lyceum Theatre. Can anyone help us in this regard?
Rick Benjamin, Director, The Paragon Ragtime Orchestra

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on November 13, 2008 at 11:54 am

The description above mentions the old Lyceum Theatre in Ithaca. The Lyceum is mentioned in the current newsletter of the Paragon Ragtime Orchestra in Lewisburg PA. It says that the Lyceum in Ithaca opened in 1893, had 1200 seats and was a roadshow house. In 1915 it began to show movies (so it could have its own listing here in CT). It closed in 1927 and was converted to retail space and, years later, finally demolished. The Lyceum had a 12-piece pit orchestra led by one John Noble. When the theater closed, Noble managed to save its very extensive music library. When Noble died in the 1940s, the band director at Ithaca high school obtained the collection which he sold in the 1970s to one of his former students, Joe McConnell. Recently, Joe McConnell donated the collection of over 1,000 numbers, ranging from the 1870s to the 1920s, to the Paragon Ragtime Orchestra. The PRO has started to catalog the Lyceum Theatre music collection, and has added a few of the numbers to its repetoire.

Patsy on September 20, 2008 at 8:26 am

Any photos, anyone?

Patsy on December 5, 2006 at 7:16 am

ken mc: Too funny, but in reality it almost makes you want to cry! Some very bad decisions were made in regards to some wonderful old theatres, yet (thank goodness) there are many still standing and remain standing to be restored and enjoyed by us and by future generations, I hope!

kencmcintyre on December 3, 2006 at 10:23 am

Maybe we should start a website called

Patsy on December 3, 2006 at 10:11 am

Another former theatre lost to another open parking lot!

kencmcintyre on December 3, 2006 at 7:23 am

Here is an article about the demolition dated 8/8/93:

This week in Ithaca, the last pieces of the 2,000-seat Strand
Theatre will be torn down. While many mourn the demolition, it is unusual in Central New York theater history in only one way â€" that it took so long to happen.

The Strand in Ithaca opened in 1917. The Landmark, then the Loew’s State Theatre, opened in 1928, as did Utica’s movie palace known now as ihe Stanley Performing Arts Center. Ithaca, Utica, Syracuse and
other cities all had a half-dozen or more large theaters downtown.

Even small towns such as Cortland had theaters. Inside the Schine Theatre on North Main Street, “the artwork was spectacular.” said historian Shirley Heppell “It was like something you would see in New
York City. It was that quality.” The new movie theaters caused the death of some of the other theaters and opera houses. Oswego’s Richardson Theatre was torn down in the 1940s. The roof had collapsed, and the vacant building had been condemned, Prior said.
“By that time there were a number of other motion picture houses in Oswego, and they were newer buildings, more comfortable,” he said.

Places like the Strand in Ithaca and the Stanley in Utica had a lot more going for them then just a big movie screen and comfortable
seats. The Stanley, which seats almost 3,000. had a full-size stage and an orchestra pit for 45 musicians. The Strand and the Syracuse movie palaces also had orchestra pits and working stages.

Then, the rise of the suburbs, malls and multi-screen theaters
turned many of those downtown theaters into vacant buildings by
the'60s and 70s. Al that time, urban renewal in Utica razed most of that city’s theaters. “They are all mostly parking lots now,” said John Faust, theater manager of the Stanley Performing Arts Center.
The Stanley survived because its location was further uptown in the financial district. Its restoration, a $4 million job so far.
began after the local arts council bought the building in 1974.
Cortland’s Schine Theatre was torn down in 1972 to make room for a bank.

Most of Syracuse’s movie palaces survived into the 1970s, but
by that point they were mainly showing Kung Fu movies or exploitation
films. Their end came quietly, one at a time, as a parking lot or store took over the site.

Patsy on July 13, 2006 at 6:13 pm

Would still like to see a photo of the Strand that once stood in Ithaca.

psomerf on July 13, 2006 at 12:20 pm

When I was in Ithaca 3 weeks ago, I saw that the parking lot that replaced the Strand is still standing. With a sign warning you not to park there without permission, lest they render you unable to bear children. Or something like that.

Patsy on April 12, 2006 at 2:29 pm

Would love to see a photo of the Strand that once stood in Ithaca.

Patsy on January 24, 2006 at 3:46 am

OK and thanks for the informative post(s).

psomerf on January 23, 2006 at 9:17 pm

Since the Strand on this page is the one in Ithaca, I thought I was being on topic by speaking only of the Starnd in Ithaca. I know nothing of the Strand of Seneca Falls. If I did, I would surely post about it in under that theatre. :)

Patsy on January 19, 2006 at 3:19 am

Sad scenero to say the least. And are you referring to the Strand on this link that is or was in Ithaca? My earlier post was referring to the Strand that was in Seneca Falls NY.