Elmwood Theatre

2966 College Avenue,
Berkeley, CA 94705

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Strand Theatre, Berkeley, California, ca.1917

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Strand Theatre was opened in 1914 and was designed by architect Albert W. Cornelius. It was listed as (Closed) in 1941 through to 1943. It was remodelled in the 1940’s to the plans of architect Alexander Aimwell Cantin and was reopened again by 1950. It was still the Strand Theatre in 1952.

Later renamed Elmwood Theatre, by 2009 it was operated by the independent Rialto Cinemas chain.

Contributed by William Gabel

Recent comments (view all 25 comments)

gsmurph on November 13, 2009 at 4:42 pm

Not sure if it did as the Strand (as the Elmwood, its name was most often seen at the top of the movie display cases), but it definitely has “Elmwood” on both sides of the marquee as of very recently!

bmsinmd on March 22, 2011 at 12:06 pm

It had, I believe, a verticle marquee saying Elmwood. I used to deliver papers in the area [berkeley Gazette] in the mid-50’s, go in for movies occasionally. Two that I recall were Diabolique and The Wages of Fear, both b&w French movies. I made a little fork thingy out of wire coat hanger that I slid under the Exit door, then twisted it and pulled the door open to sneak in free. I hope I was not the cause of the Elmwood’s demise. The place was a wonderful fixture of the Elmwood neighborhood on College Avenue.

gsmurph on April 17, 2011 at 3:36 pm

Apparently that vertical was removed at some point during (or at least no later than) the mid-‘60s, for there was none to be found after that.

Mikeyisirish on June 26, 2012 at 12:22 pm

A few 2012 photos can be seen here and here.

Chris1982 on May 24, 2014 at 8:44 pm

The Strand was listed as open as early as 1926.

paulnelson on May 25, 2014 at 2:09 am

Great neon and entire marquee is impressive. Tile work is also lovely and box office.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 26, 2014 at 1:46 pm

Scott Neff asked if this theater ever had a sign displaying its name when it was the Strand. This PDF file has a photo of the house with the name Strand prominently displayed on the marquee. The caption dates the photo to 1915, but it has to be later. The truck and partial auto visible date from the 1920s.

The name Strand also appears on a sign above the doors in the ca.1917 photo I uploaded to the photo section a few months ago, but it’s partly hidden by the flag, and is barely readable in any case. Both photos show some of the architectural detail that was part of Albert Cornelius’s original 1914 design, most of which was probably removed in Alexander Cantin’s 1940s remodeling, but perhaps even earlier.

SeanGSharp on February 26, 2016 at 9:46 am

Joe, any chance of getting a higher resolution scan of this photo? Am doing a re-creation of a nickelodeon-theater performance at the Pacific Film Archive on March 6 and would like to use this photo in the show. Thank you.

walterk on February 26, 2016 at 10:38 am

Sean, the photo comes from the Berkeley Historical Society, you can contact them here. I wish I could make your show, but I’m working that night.

SeanGSharp on February 26, 2016 at 10:52 am

Thank you! I’ll contact them.

Actually, the Nickelodeon Show will be in the afternoon at 3:00pm. The BAMPFA site has the info.

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