Strand Theatre

5611-13 22nd Avenue,
Kenosha, WI 53140

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The Strand Theatre served Kenosha’s Old West Side on the former Howland Avenue (now 22nd Avenue) and was a plain brick-front theatre with double-hung front windows. The Strand offered silent films and vaudeville programs right up until until the very early 1930s when it permanently closed, having never converted to sound films. At that point the Strand had been renamed the Norge Theatre, very likely to honor the then-timely adventures of the famed airship Norge (pronounced “NOR-gay”). It seems the film accompaniment was via a piano, and some local amateur acts were offered.

A longtime area resident told of attending the 1927 “The Phantom of the Opera” when the nitrate film caught fire and the quick-thinking projectionist grabbed the flaming reel and pitched it out the south window onto the pavement.

After the Norge-nee-Strand Theatre closed, the building was the Pacetti Food Shop for decades, and by the 1970s was the Second Time Around furniture retail store and factory.

The end came for the building in early 1982 when a freak heavy wet overnight snowstorm weakened the facade, bulging it outward visibly. Alarmed passersby notified city inspectors who barricaded the area and ordered immediate demolition. The lot is now a paved parking lot for area businesses.

Contributed by Louis Rugani

Recent comments (view all 2 comments)

LouRugani on December 9, 2011 at 6:05 pm

The STRAND Theatre (aka NEW STRAND) was originally the CRYSTAL Theatre and was renamed and opened as such on Saturday, September 4, 1920 after renovations during a closure of several weeks. A new facade, wall sconces, new furniture and a piano were installed along with new projection equipment. Willard Welch was the manager, and the NEW STRAND’s opening feature film was “The Glorious Lady” starring Olive Thomas. On stage that night, Marjorie Sershon sang popular songs accompanied by Howard Sershon. The NEW STRAND was part of the Charles Pacini Amusements local theatre chain. Pacini had been planning the renovations at the time he was murdered; the case was never solved.

LouRugani on January 27, 2013 at 11:41 pm

(Janesville WI Gazette, November 21, 1923) THEATER CLOSED FOR TAX FAILURE Konosha. —Representatives of the federal collectors of Internal Revenue this afternoon padlocked the Strand Theater in Kenosha on the claim that the theater had failed to pay taxes on admissions since January. The tax with penalties was alleged to amount to more than $3,000.

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