Strand Theatre

Scollay Square,
Boston, MA

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The Strand Theatre was located under the Crawford House in Boston’s Scollay Square.

According to Donald C. King’s new book “The Theatres of Boston: A Stage and Screen History”, the Strand opened in 1930 as Boston’s first 24-hour movie theatre. However, that does not explain its presence on a 1928 map near the corner of Brattle Street and Scollay Square.

By the late 1930s, the Strand had become the Theatrical Bar at the Crawford House, featuring burlesque dancer Sally Keith, ‘Queen of the Tassels’. The Crawford House was demolished in the early 1960s, along with almost every other building in Scollay Square, to make way for Government Center.

Contributed by Ron Newman

Recent comments (view all 3 comments)

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on June 23, 2005 at 12:39 am

The Strand appears on this 1928 map, on Scollay Square near the corner of Brattle Street.

Here’s a page about Sally Keith. For much more about Scollay Square, visit David Kruh’s site, JoeAndNemo.com .

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on June 23, 2005 at 9:33 am

From the Boston Public Library’s photo collection:

Crawford House: Hotel and Theater, 1930

Burlesque star Sally Keith, 1940s

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on October 2, 2005 at 4:20 am

Don King’s book was based mostly on research he did at the Library of Congress (he lived close by it) thru Boston newspaper files. So, if the first mention of the Strand occured in the papers in 1930, then he would have used that date. Many small houses did not advertise in the newpapers, appealing instead to walk-ins. I don’t know why this cinema was opened — there were already inexpensive 2nd-run and last-run houses in the Scollay Sq. area. The cinema was converted to a nightclub at which Sally Keith starred, and it appears that the club utilized the Strand’s marquee. The operation was down at basement level.

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