Strand-Capitol Performing Arts Centre

50 North George Street,
York, PA 17401

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Strand-Capitol Performing Arts Centre

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This is actually two theaters: the Capitol Theatre, (1906) which has its own page on Cinema Treasures, and the Strand Theatre which opened on August 27, 1925 with 1,232 seats. Reinhardt Dempwolf was the architect for the Capitol Theatre, which contains a Wurlitzer organ and E.C. Horn & Sons were the architects of the Strand Theatre.

Films are now shown again after renovations of over $15 million.

Contributed by Stephen L. Zinicola

Recent comments (view all 15 comments)

dennisczimmerman
dennisczimmerman on March 14, 2009 at 11:45 am

I would like to correct the Spectrum Oct. 17, 2007 comment. The Capitol Theatre is on the corner and the Strand Theatre is to the left of the Capitol. I lived in York in the mid 1960’s as I was going to college there at the time. The theatres were operated by Stanley Warner at the time. The Strand was a one floor with a long lobby. The Capitol had a balcony. The marquee’s at the time were connected as one by neon in between. It was a long marquee with each theatre having a face and one end. Until I attended movies there I also thought the Capitol was bigger than the Strand as it was larger from the view from the street and I also knew it had a balcony. I am so glad they did save the theatres. Lancaster, about 25 miles East of York, where I live, had four movie theatres downtown and they were all demolished in 1966-67.

MichaelSug
MichaelSug on April 5, 2009 at 6:57 pm

I saw my first movie (Mary Poppins) at the Strand as a kid in the 1960’s. Over the next ten years, until the theaters closed, I saw many, many films in these beautiful old theaters. The moves I saw there inspired a lifelong obsession with film and led to my moving to Los Angeles in the late 70’s to pursue work in the movie industry. I feel like I spent my whole childhood in the Strand/Capitol and the memories I have of these theaters are very meaningful to me. I’m so pleased the Strand and Capitol were saved and are still such a local treasure.

dennisczimmerman
dennisczimmerman on April 19, 2009 at 2:05 pm

Just renewing my notification.

GeorgeStrum
GeorgeStrum on May 12, 2009 at 9:59 pm

Theatre Historical Society of America will be visiting here on 7/09/09.

spectrum
spectrum on October 19, 2010 at 11:11 am

The Capitol Theatre now has its own page at /theaters/33971

LNewnam
LNewnam on August 29, 2011 at 1:04 am

I went to many B-movies at the Dallas Theater in Dallastown in the mid 1960s. But it was the Strand or the Capitol in downtown York for James Bond (Thunderball, You Only Live Twice) , Jerry Lewis, Pink Panther or other first-run movies. I saw Easy Rider at the Strand or Capitol. I could never remember the differences, but they felt pretty up-town compared to Dallastown.

The Sound of Music? Strand or Capitol. That’s for sure. Great theaters.

dennisczimmerman
dennisczimmerman on August 30, 2011 at 1:05 am

“The Sound of Music” played a special reserved seat engagement at the William Goldman Hiway Theatre which was located on West Market Street near the York Fair grounds. The auditorium portion of the theatre is still standing, but the facade, entrance, and lobby areas had been demolished. I think it is now part of the pewterex complex.

ThomasWolf
ThomasWolf on November 8, 2015 at 8:25 pm

I worked at the Strand and sometimes sent to the Capitol in 1968. It was RKO Stanley Warner Theatre. The manager’s name was Sidney Poppay (not sure of spelling) I was 16. Before I got my license to drive Mr Poppay would take me home in the evenings after the Theatre closed. He lived in East York close to my parents house on Russell Street. The theatre was beautiful but was in hard times. He used to show me pictures of what it was like in it’s hayday. It was a spectacular theatre. I would say it was the most beautiful in the county. The ceiling and upper walls were heavily decorated . Origionally the mens room had a lot of facilities for men to make themselves more presentable during the days when you went to the movies in Sunday attire!. He showed me through the theatre back stage where it was amazing to see how the dressing rooms went up two spiral staircases. The AC unit was in the basement and was a huge piston machine. It kept the theatre very comfortable. The pay was 75cents and hour. No money but I loved it there. Sol Kesslers had a Magavox Stereo in the long lobby that we played WGAL FM easy listening music very low which created ambiance when strolling the long lobby past the Candy,Popcorn stand. Mrs Ruth operated the stand. The stairs to the right of the lobby took VIPs to the Loge. There were only few seats up there. Red drapes were around the Loge opening looking down on the main auditorium. I’m so glad it’s still there. Oh, Mr. Poppay also showed me plans that when the Strand was built, they could add a balcony like the Capitol had. The marquee was fabulous out front. I used to change the bulbs. The neon was wonderful and blinking lights greeted the guests. It was York’s leading showplace. I feel very fortunate I worked there and had a very memorable time. It’s a great treasure!!

Eveler
Eveler on November 12, 2015 at 3:33 pm

I worked as an usher in both of these movie houses in the early 50s when they and Ritz up past the square were Warner Brothers owned, along with the movie in Red Lion.

LorinWeigard
LorinWeigard on May 9, 2016 at 6:35 pm

The Strand- Capitol Performing Arts Centre represents the very best of downtown revitalization and preserving historic theatre architecture.

I can’t begin to remember all the movies I saw at these two wonderful theatres; what I do remember most from those Stanley-Warner days was an elaborate changing letter marquee with chasing lights that spanned both theatres and was like a touch of “Broadway” in York.

What was been saved from the wrecking ball and revitalized into this Arts Centre is a textbook example of how it is done; the efforts of the many parties involved is worthy of a book or documentary film on preserving what America needs to value.

The Strand-Capitol Performing Arts Centre is now home to so many varied and artistically wonderful events, both live personal appearances and classic films; my most recent experience is the York Symphony’s one-night presentation of Opera- Mozart’s “Cosi Fan Tutti”; based on that evening, I’m sure there will be many more to come.

These theatres, both architecturally distinctive, represent the best of what we have built, and through immeasurable effort and support, remain a vital and vibrant part of the artistic community.

BRAVO to all involved over the years, and I certainly hope to be a supporting member in keeping The Strand- Capitol Performing Arts Centre a vital part of the cultural offerings of the area.

My many thanks!

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