Strand Theatre

207 Union Street,
Rockland, MA 02370

Unfavorite No one has favorited this theater yet

| Street View

The Strand Theatre was downtown Rockland’s movie house for many years. It was opened by 1920 and later had a modernized entrance with a colorful marquee. There was a balcony inside. Rockland was, at the time, a small town about 20 miles south of Boston.

The Strand Theatre was destroyed by fire in September 1956.

Contributed by Ron Salters

Recent comments (view all 10 comments)

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on February 8, 2006 at 8:13 am

The Strand in Rockland is listed in the 1927 Film Daily yearbook as having 799 seats, and open 6 days per week. Its competition is the Rockland Opera House which had 500 seats and was open 2 days per week. The MGM Theatre Photograph and Report form for the Strand has a photo taken April 1941. The facade, which is at least 2 stories high, appears to have been modernized with tile. There is a triangle marquee with 2 lines of black letters on white background. The film playing is “Virginia”. The Report states that the house is less than 15 years old and has been playing MGM product for over 10 years. Seating is 513 Orchestra, and 266 Balcony; total: 779. There was an interview in local media recently with two men in Hanover, both born about 1920, who mentioned that as youths they used to hop a New Haven RR freight train on the Hanover Branch in late-afternoon, early-evening, ride it to Rockland center and drop off there to attend movies at the Strand. No mention of how they got back home !

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on November 19, 2008 at 10:53 am

The Quincy Patriot Ledger of Nov. 18, 2008 has a photo and article about a box of old artifacts found in a church in Abington MA. In the photo, someone is holding up to the camera a copy of the Patriot Ledger from Sept. 25, 1956. About the only thing readable in the photo is the paper’s headline: “Rockland Theatre Gutted by Fire”. It seems likely that the theater in question is this one, the Strand in Rockland.

MrDJDude on April 20, 2009 at 12:16 am

I just looked the article Ron mentioned up, and at the end of the article it confirms that this theatre did indeed burn down. The article is here.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on May 20, 2009 at 11:36 am

Thanks for posting the link, Phantom. The print version of the article which I read last Nov. was not as long as the on-line version, and did not actually name the Strand as being the theater which burned down. So this means the Strand lasted until Sept. 1956; I wonder if it was actually still open at that point.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on April 25, 2011 at 11:13 am

Mike L. from Abington worked as a usher at the Strand in 1949-50. He says that after the fire in 1956, the burned-out theater was demolished.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on October 11, 2011 at 10:42 am

I have heard that the street address for the Strand was 207 Union Street. I don’t know how accurate that is.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on November 27, 2011 at 10:30 am

Mike L. from Abington told me that when he left Massachusetts in 1954, the Strand was still operating. He’s not sure if it was still open when it was destroyed by fire in 1956; it may have been. When he started working at the Strand when he was about 12 years old, the weekly poster cards were produced locally. Lloyd the mgr, driving his big Packard, would go around to all the locations where they were allowed to display the posters. Mike would run inside each store, remove the old poster and set up the new one. From the driver’s seat, Lloyd would give him the “thumbs up” when he set the new poster up correctly. This was in the 1940s.

sargee7 on April 27, 2013 at 11:41 am

I grew up in Rockland, moved there from Cambridge about 1955. Today I was watching “Tarantuala” on Turner Classic Movies and thought about the Rockland Theater and remembered seeing that movie at the Strand. Does anyone remember what the last movie to be shown before the fire was?? Tarantula must have been one of the last.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 8, 2014 at 2:55 pm

The Strand in Rockland was in operation by 1920. The report of the Massachusetts District Police published January, 1920, listed the Strand Theatre, Rockland, in good condition. The licensee was named Lee A. Rhodenzier. The January 23, 1923, issue of The Film Daily had this item:

“The Manchester Amusement Co., a subsidiary [of New England Theaters] has sold the Strand, Rockland, Mass., to L. A. Rhodenizer, the theater’s former manager.”
Contracts had been let for construction of a small movie theater in Rockland in 1915, according to the May 29 issue of The American Contractor. The two-story building was only 34x56 feet, though, which would have been too small for the Strand’s 779 seats, but it might have been expanded later, so it could have been the Strand.

rockterps on October 12, 2015 at 7:55 pm

To answer sargee7. I am quite sure the last movie to play at the Strand was Moby Dick starring Gregory Peck. I planned to see it but the theater burned down before I had the chance. I remember the fire quite well. I was nine years old and my father and I went down to watch the fire. We stood quite a bit away, though as the wind was carrying some cinders. We lived at the corner of East Water and Howard Streeets. My father, being a physician, thought he might help, but fortunately, no one was in the theater. I have fond memories of going to the Saturday matinees with the other Rockland kids. Cartoons, serials, previews and two feature films for 25 cents. By the time we came out our eyes were a mess and we kids would bump into each other for a few minutes.

You must login before making a comment.

New Comment

Subscribe Want to be emailed when a new comment is posted about this theater?
Just login to your account and subscribe to this theater