609 Main Street,
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The Strand Theatre was designed by J. Bryant Heard of Danville, Virginia. It was built as part of the Hotel Leeland complex in 1914-1915 at a total cost of $500,000. Of that amount, $300,000 was dedicated to the construction of the
The Strand boasted no murals and relied heavily on custom designed plaster moldings and crystal light fixtures to give the desired effect intended by Heard. The lobby of the Strand was divided into two sections the box office and waiting parlor. The box office portion was open air and was 20 ft. deep and the ceiling height was 15 ft. The floors were covered in green and white imported Italian marble tile. The baseboards were white marble topped with hand carved oak paneling. The walls were covered with custom designed plaster picture frame moldings, accented on each side by a plaster wreath. Within each molding were two crystal light fixtures. The crown moldings for the lobby were designed in a rose pattern.
The box office stood about 10 ft. in height and 5 ft. in width. It was octagonal in shape. The waiting parlor was of the same design and contained three doorways, which led to the grand staircase, balcony, and auditorium. The grand staircase was wide at the bottom and narrowed and split at the top near the balcony. The balcony was accessed by two doorways located on opposite ends of the auditorium in the stairwell. The balcony had a seating capacity of 200-300 people and contained four opera boxes. The main floor of the auditorium had seating for 500 people. The colors of the auditroium were buff and white with green accents as needed.
The chairs were custom designed by a company from Richmond, VA. They were carved from solid oak and fitted with brass plates. The chairs were then drapped with a green velvet cushion. The chair arm tips were made from mother-of-pearl. The auditorium walls were adorned with one-of-a-kind crown moldings and chair moldings. The front portions of the balcony were covered in custom designed moldings as well, in a honey-comb pattern. The ceiling of the auditorium was designed in what is referred to as the drop-block style. The middle portion of the ceiling contained a large hole measuring 10ft x 10 ft which allowed for cool air to be pumped into the auditorium during the summer months. It was capped off by a custom designed stain-glass dome, built by Tiffany Inc. The auditorium walls also contained 12 crystal light fixtures with a rose designed cap. This gave the illusion of a rose pattern mural on the walls when the lights were on. The stage of the Strand measures 30 ft. wide. 25 ft. tall and 15 ft. deep.
The original intent of the theatre was strictly for movies but could accomodate small vaudeville acts numbering no more than 10 people. The theatre also employed a full-time band of 7 members. The theatre also contained an in-house coffee shop and bar located to the right of the auditorium. Sadly the theatre only operated a year and closed due to WW I and high ticket prices. The Strand currently holds the record for being the longest vacant historic theatre still standing in America.
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