Strand Theatre

5611-13 22nd Avenue,
Kenosha, WI 53140

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STRAND (nee CRYSTAL) Theatre; Kenosha, Wisconsin.

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The Crystal Theatre was opened December 5, 1913. It was remodelled and reopened as the Strand Theatre on September 4, 1920. 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 Theatre offered silent films and vaudeville programs right up until until the very early-1930’s when it permanently closed, having never converted to sound films. At that point the Strand Theatre 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 1970’s 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 4 comments)

LouRugani
LouRugani on December 10, 2011 at 10:05 am

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
LouRugani on January 28, 2013 at 3:41 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.

LouRugani
LouRugani on April 9, 2016 at 2:33 pm

(KENOSHA EVENING NEWS – Friday, September 3, 1920)


PACINI INTERESTS OPEN NEW STRAND


New Movie Shrine on Howland Avenue Starts Operation on Saturday


ALL BEEN REBUILT


A new shrine for the “silent drama” is to be opened in Kenosha on Saturday when “The New Strand”, one of the theatres now being operated by the heirs of Charles Pacini, and located at 210 Howland avenue, will start operation after having been closed for several weeks for extensive remodeling and redecorating. The plans for the new theatre were made by the late Charles Pacini several months before he was killed. He purchased the lease for the theatre, formerly known as the Crystal, and let contracts for remodeling and redecorating, all of which were practically completed at the time of his death.

The theatre has been made over completely. Starting with the new façade, a beautiful entrance to the movie house and continuing throughout the entire interior of the theatre, it has been transformed completely.

Beauty Marks Decoration

The interior of the theatre has been beautifully redecorated in soft tints that have completely transformed the playhouse. Pretty wall lamps have been installed to carry out the decorations. New furniture for the theatre and a new piano have been installed to make the house up-to-date to the last feature. In the mechanical line an entirely new machine has been installed with new electrical connections which assure the patrons of the theatre the best service that can be secured.

In announcing the opening of the “New Strand”, Willard Welch, the manager of the Charles Pacini Amusements, emphasized the fact that the new theatre would be part of the Pacini theatres and would show the same class of pictures which are shown at the Majestic and Butterfly theatres. Their contracts include the latest releases from many of the largest film companies in the country.

“The Glorious Lady”

The opening picture will be Miss Olive Thomas in “The Glorious Lady”.


(Thanks to Al Westerman for his exhaustive research.)

LouRugani
LouRugani on April 9, 2016 at 4:39 pm

As the CRYSTAL Theatre, it opened on Friday, December 5, 1913.

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