Strand Theater

609 Main Street,
Danville, VA 24541

Unfavorite 2 people favorited this theater

Additional Info

Architects: J. Bryant Heard

Styles: Colonial Revival

Nearby Theaters

Hotel Leeland / Strand Theater( HILES)

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.

Contributed by Jonathan T. Hackworth

Recent comments (view all 17 comments)

Patsy on January 30, 2005 at 11:58 am

Hackworth: I sent an email to Lizbeth in hopes that my words encourage and enlighten!

jthack132 on February 8, 2005 at 8:43 am

Some well known figures that visited the Hotel Leeland were John Dillinger and Roy Rogers.

If you would like to lend verbal support for the restoration of the Strand Theatre please contact the following people.

Liz Sater:

You may also contact various members of Danville City Council. You can get their e-mails at the City website:

If you would like to make a donation towards helping save the Strand, please e-mail me first and I will give you the needed information.

jthack132 on April 11, 2005 at 4:55 pm

I have talked with the owners of the property and there is no chance that the property will be restored. The theatre is to far gone and would have been an over extension of money and time. The interest is simply not there. All I ask is that people keep the memories alive and help save others from destruction. If you ever visit Danville,VA please takethe time to visit the newly renovated Historic North Theatre.

Patsy on April 11, 2005 at 5:38 pm

Hackworth: I shall do so!

ghamilton on July 28, 2011 at 9:31 am

How can the theater be “too far gone”?? The building seems sound.Has ANYONE seen the place inside?

24541 on November 28, 2011 at 12:30 pm

The “theater” space was converted to retail space more than 80 years ago. If you go in there, you would not know it there was ever a theater there. The photograph on this page is the Hotel Danville, which is where the Capital Theater was located. The Strand was directly across the street in the Hotel Leland building which is not pictured.

jthackworth2000 on November 22, 2012 at 12:47 pm

Just added a photo of the proscenium arch of the Strand. I took it a while back while the store owner took me through.

hsc on April 19, 2013 at 11:18 pm

Was the gift shop mentioned here called “Hiles”?

Many years ago, I went in a gift shop by that name that was at the top of Main St., around the Hotel Leeland.

I seem to remember the place as being rather ornate for a commercial space, with marble floors and a striking crystal lighting fixture, but it’s probably been more than 45 years since I was there, and I might be plugging in the details from some other store in some other city.

But if this gift shop was Hiles, did some remnants of the Strand lobby decor remain?

vwiles34 on August 21, 2017 at 2:49 pm

I have a great interest in any photos,paintings,poster’s or anything showing the Strand Theatre or Hotel Leeland during it’s early year’s.I work and live at the Leeland.But haven’t been able to see inside the area the theatre was in.But can say the owner has no interest in opening the theatre under any circumstances.Also I saw where Hile’s was mentioned several times.So want to let you know Hile’s closed in 2016 after about 85 years in that location.And there are no plans on renting that space.It will be used for storage for the hotel.Which is still in operation.As it has been in continuous operation since it was built over 100 yrs ago.But was happy to see this site as I’m often ask question’s about the Strand and find this to be my best source yet to get any details.

vwiles34 on February 18, 2019 at 3:29 pm

UPDATE: The Hotel Leeland closed in April 2018 and I heard was sold a few months later to a buyer from Raliegh NC to possibly be renovated into Apts, Condos or Lofts, But that is just speculation at this time. But I do hope whatever this fine old building is used for they will maintain as much of the original craftsmanship as possible. The building has been well maintained and could be transformed into something great.

You must login before making a comment.

New Comment

Subscribe Want to be emailed when a new comment is posted about this theater?
Just login to your account and subscribe to this theater.