Strand Theatre

3601 Germantown Avenue,
Philadelphia, PA 19140

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Lost Memory
Lost Memory on February 17, 2014 at 7:54 am

If this link works, you will find a March 3, 1917 article about the opening of the Strand Theatre on Germantown Avenue and Venango Street in Moving Picture World. They also give the opening date as January 1 of that year.

Another option, which is slower, is to download the Moving Picture World in pdf format here. The article is on page 1351 or you can do a search using “Germantown” as the keyword.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on February 16, 2014 at 5:22 pm

Published in the Philadelphia Evening Ledger on January 1, 1917.

Innovations in theatre construction and outfitting make the new Strand Theatre, Germantown Avenue and Venango Street, which introduces itself to Philadelphia at the matinee this afternoon. The playhouse not only is handsome, fresh and well designed, it boasts a number of novel touches calculated to appeal to the intelligent patronage which it solicits.

Chief of these is the automobile boxes feature for parties of people who come to the theatre in their motorcars. On an adjacent lot has been put up a garage, where automobiles may be checked and the owners satisfied of their safety during the performance.

The total seating capacity of the Strand is about 2200. Old rose is the basis of the color scheme throughout. Panels, walls and draperies show this tint in velour. An orchestra of eighteen pieces will furnish the music for the photoplays. A large organ is being installed.

And the opening feature was Clara Kimball Young in “The Foolish Virgin”.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on February 16, 2014 at 5:20 pm

This should help to solve the mystery of the opening year of the Strand. In the photo section is a newspaper picture of the interior of the Strand. The picture was published in the Philadelphia Evening Ledger on December 30, 1916. Caption with the picture states that the Strand located at Germantown Avenue & Venango Street would open on January, 1 (1917).

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 26, 2012 at 10:40 am

Engineering News might simply have gotten the name of this house wrong, or the owners or lessees of the theater might have decided before it opened to call it the Strand instead. Any maybe it did open as the Stratford. Our page for the Stratford on 7th Street says that it opened in 1913 as the Becker Theater, but doesn’t give a date for the name change.

But the existence of both the April item about plans for a theater and the September item about construction of a theater, both noting Ketcham & McQuade as builders, one noting the Hoffman company as the designers, make it clear that a big theater was being built at this intersection in 1916. Maybe the Strand was an expansion of or a replacement for a smaller theater that had opened in 1914, or maybe Glazer just got the opening year wrong.

KenRoe on September 26, 2012 at 2:47 am

Joe; We now have a bit of a mystery here, as in Irvin R. Glazer’s book ‘Philadelphia Theaters’ published in 1994 by Dover Press, the Stratford Theatre is listed as opening in 1913, located at 1443 S. Seventh. He lists the Strand Theatre located at 3601 Germantown as opening in 1914 with Carl Berger as architect.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 25, 2012 at 8:31 pm

Here is another 1916 reference to a theater to be built at this intersection, this from the April 1 issue of Motography:

“Theater at Germantown avenue and Venango street, Philadelphia; to Ketchem & McQuade. One story, brick, stone, concrete and terra cotta. For J. Effwager. Cost, $125,000. The Hoffman Company, architects.”
Are we sure that the Strand’s opening year was 1914?

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 21, 2012 at 7:33 am

The September 14, 1916, issue of Engineering News had an article about a Stratford Theatre at Germantown Avenue and Venango Street (Google Books scan.) The article described the construction of the concrete girder supporting the theater’s proscenium arch. As the Strand is the only theater at that intersection listed at Cinema Treasures, I’m wondering if this house opened as the Stratford?

spectrum on December 12, 2010 at 3:58 pm

Just a big parking lot there but you can see the footprint.

atmos on October 17, 2007 at 6:01 am

Opened in 1914 and closed in 1971.