Strand Theatre

811 5th Street,
Moundsville, WV 26041

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Strand Theatre

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Sybert’s Strand Theatre opened November 15, 1920 with Norma Talmadge in “The Branded Woman” and Fatty Arbuckle in “The Garage”. It operated as a silent movie/vaudeville playhouse and continued until 1968 as a first-run movie theatre. It then sat unused for eight years, and reopened in 1976, operating until 1996.

It is a three-story brick structure reinforced with steel containing a 2,000 sq. ft. stage, five dressing rooms, a 60 ft. scenery fly, twin box seats, and a full balcony containing 280 seats.

The building has undergone very few renovations during it’s 80+ years and retains a wealth of archival material including the original hand-painted firescreen, original magic lantern projectors, old dual phonograph turntable, four original "New York" style chandeliers, tile lobby, beveled glass hardwood entrance doors, the original ticket shredder plus old posters, signage, antique stage lights and more.

The stagehouse is hemp and still works. Two Xenon projectors operate from the projection booth. The building is in better-than-fair condition and is the object of a community-based restoration project. It has always been privately owned, the most recent for 40 years. Now under the management of a 501©3 non-profit entity.

“Would appreciate hearing from others who have mounted a similar restoration project. Major aspects of this job include: Roof replacement with restoration of ornamental cornice; upgrades for HVAC; new stage floor; new apparatus for backstage; electrical upgrades; ADD codes; new seating, sound lighting, projection, interior decoration & marquee. Estimated costs: $1.75 – $2.0 million.” The Strand Theatre was reopened August 2, 2014.

Contributed by Tom James

Recent comments (view all 12 comments)

tomjames
tomjames on June 2, 2004 at 6:01 pm

Richard G. The Strand opened with 1,100 seats, but people were slimmer in 1920 than they are today! At 750, the seating is comfortable, but the old balcony layout is very cramped. The knees of the patron directly behind one reach to the forward seatback. There is no room to walk without everyone in the row standing up. In the future the number of chairs and their arrangement will meet modern codes. Regarding the closure, the Strand was down from 1970 through 1976 because of the former owner’s sense of outrage over the expanding use of vulgar language in movies post The Omen. A new leasee reopened the house with improved ammenities including new seating, carpeting, paint, screen, projectors and concessions. It ran for another 20-years before falling victim to VCR’s. A rather stogie and idle group has since taken over the building with far-flung hopes of mounting stage performances. Unfortunately, the demographics and population of this area will not support the stage. People want a movie.

tomjames
tomjames on September 29, 2004 at 9:29 am

Here is an update on recent happenings with the restoration effort. First, a shakeup in the board of directors has repositioned the organization for some new, dynamic leadership. Secondly, a fresh website is up and running at www.strandtheater.org The Strand has been helped substantially by U.S. Rep. Alan B. Mollohan, (D/WV), in acquiring substantive funding for several capital improvements. Through a charitable foundation established by the Congressman, Vandalia Heritage Foundation, www.vandalia.org, the Strand has received funding for a new roof and restoration of the exterior components of the building. The fused membrane roof is now in place and scaffolding currently is going up around the building for chemical cleaning of the brick exterior and repointing where needed. New windows, repairs to the stamped-metal cornices and new exit doors are also included in this phase of work. Pictures of the improvements may be viewed at the Strand website.

tomjames
tomjames on November 19, 2004 at 10:58 pm

Cleaning of the exterior masonry is now complete. The next phase of conservation will address the rehabilitation of the pressed metal cornices. Plans include the hanging of a replica marquee over the entrance doors.

tomjames
tomjames on August 18, 2006 at 10:27 pm

A custom-built replica marquee has been installed containing all the design elements of the original 1920 marquee. Period photos supplied by Tom James guided this process. The wooden entrance doors have been conserved and are fresh-looking with new brass pulls and kickplates. All windows have been replaced or repaired in a manner consistant with historic conservation and replica announcement boxes have been mounted under the marquee. The sole remaining steel/iron counterweighted fire escape has been restored and all exterior ornamental metalwork has been repaired and painted. The exterior of the building looks brand new again. Restoration of the interior spaces will now begin with an expected completion date of 2012.

tomjames
tomjames on August 31, 2007 at 2:23 pm

A full page announcement was printed in the Moundsville Daily Echo newspaper on 25 September 1926 describing the 1,400 pipes making up this Moller-Concert Theatre Organ. Credit for this successful and valuable addition to the Sybert Strand Theatre goes entirely to Merton A. Sybert, builder, owner and operator of the theatre. His faith in the people of Moundsville and his generosity in giving freely of his time and fortune set the best example of civic pride. The Strand’s early success was shouldered entirely on the strength of Merton A. Sybert, b. 5 Jul 1871, d. 26 Mar 1928.

tomjames
tomjames on June 28, 2009 at 11:00 pm

Thank you Lost memory for the photos. 1981 was about the time I became a regular volunteer working for John Ramser to run the projectors and make popcorn. Mr. Ramser managed the Strand from 1976 until its closure in 1996. He also still operates the Plaza Theater in Weirton and the Glendale Drive In. He is a theater man of the old stripe. His presence at the Strand for 20-years insured that the lights were on at night and that there was always a new movie to watch. He sacrificed much during the video tape era when patronage at the Strand shrank annually, but his love of the place helped insure its integrity and make the Strand a cherished part of our shared collective conscience.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 20, 2011 at 5:34 am

Restoration of the Strand Theatre is continuing. Here is the theater’s new official web site.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 4, 2012 at 4:27 am

The correct address of the Strand Theatre is 811 5th Street (5th and Jefferson.) The related websites link still needs to be updated as well.

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on May 18, 2012 at 8:58 pm

The Strand is about to reopen as a mixed-use facility with an invitation-only event. View link with video

wvdirector
wvdirector on August 5, 2014 at 8:43 am

The Strand is happy to announce after years of restoration we officially had a “re-grand opening”! This past weekend we filled every seat for four nights straight with our summer musical. The excitement for the building to survive is higher than ever!!

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