Strand Theatre

Broadway and Common Street,
Lawrence, MA 01840

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Strand Theatre...Lawrence MA

The Strand Theatre was a second-run theatre in Lawrence, a manufacturing center to the north of Boston. At one time the Strand Theatre was run by Charles Morse theatres of Boston.

In 2014 the building is occupied by Loan USA pawnbrokers.

Contributed by Ron Salters

Recent comments (view all 10 comments)

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on April 27, 2007 at 7:43 am

There is a MGM Theatre Photograph and Report form for the Strand in Lawrence with a facade photo dated 1941. The theatre was a free-standing rectangular building 3 stories high with a massive cornice at the top of the facade. There was a large rectangular marquee with the name “Strand” on the front and “10 Cents” on either side of the name. Below is posted “New Show Every Sun., Mon., Wed., Fri.”. so the Strand was a true “nabe” with low admission and 4 changes of program per week. The Report states that the theatre was not a MGM customer, that it was built around 1915; that it was in Fair condition, and has 800 seats. In the 1942-43 Motion Picture Almanac, the Strand was listed under Charles Morse theatres of Boston.

hanksykes on April 27, 2007 at 11:22 am

Thanks Ron, I wonder if this was one of the derelict theaters that I saw as late as the 1960’s while riding through Lawrence on the way to check out Ames Castle in Metheun?

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on April 28, 2007 at 7:45 am

Hank- I have seen hundreds of photos of movie theatres in Massachusetts and there’s no doubt that Lawrence had some of the finest looking (on the exterior at least) theatres in the state. Really outstanding buildings.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on April 30, 2007 at 7:40 am

Lawrence once had a theatre called the Lawrence Opera House. It had over 1600 seats and a huge stage, and was presented touring shows and concerts. The auditorium and stage were upstairs on the second floor; on the ground floor was the entrance and foyer for a Boston and Maine Railroad passenger station which was located directly in back of the rear stage wall. This station was secondary to the main Lawrence rail station which was located on the Boston to Portland main railroad line. I don’t know if the Lawrence Opera House ever showed movies – it may have. I don’t know what street it was on.

jimroy on February 22, 2010 at 9:31 am

The station you are referring to was on Lawrence St. across the street from the Empire/Warner Theater. The tracks cross the river wher the Central bridge is now and the portion of bridge that went over the north canal is now at Merrimack college. That was part of the Lowell line. The other station was west down Essex St. after the old post office at Essex and Broadway and behind Theater Row. The train there went to Manchester, NH. I’ve heard of the opera house but wasn’t exactly sure where on Essex St. it was. I’ll see if I can find out.
The Strand, later the Astor, was one of the theaters in Theater Row and is the only remaining building. In the 60s and 70s it was housed a business called Mid City Supply and today is a pawn shop

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on February 22, 2010 at 10:27 am

to- J.V.Roy: I read about the Lawrence Opera House in an article in the “B&M Bulletin”, the magazine of the Boston & Maine Railroad Historical Society. The article was about the secondary B&M rail station in Lawrence. There were a couple of photos, circa-1900, showing the tracks coming from the station, the platforms in the distance, and to the rear was the back wall of the stage house of the theater. The article pointed out that to get out to the street from the passenger platforms, you went through a passageway under the Lawrence Opera House stage and auditorium.

jimroy on March 19, 2010 at 10:21 am

Just another note, I believe the Strand started life as the Imperial Theater at the same addess in 1916 though the business directory lists it at South Broadway. That I believe is a mistake since there was little on the south side of the river then and that location is actually an old fire station.

I’ve assmebled and added a few pictures of the Strand and Astor in a gallery here

jimroy on March 23, 2010 at 6:25 am

I added the Lawrence Opera House to CT. Thanks for your help with this Ron

see also

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on November 10, 2010 at 12:13 pm

The Strand is listed in the 1927 Film Daily Yearbook as having 824 seats, open daily.

chitchatjf on November 22, 2014 at 2:43 pm

This building has not been demolished

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