Elmwood Theatre

2966 College Avenue,
Berkeley, CA 94705

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Showing 25 comments

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.

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 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.

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.

paulnelson on May 25, 2014 at 2:09 am

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

Chris1982 on May 24, 2014 at 8:44 pm

The Strand was listed as open as early as 1926.

Mikeyisirish on June 26, 2012 at 12:22 pm

A few 2012 photos can be seen here and here.

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.

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 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!

Scott Neff
Scott Neff on July 17, 2009 at 10:31 am

Did this place EVER have a sign displaying its name?

kencmcintyre on May 4, 2009 at 6:32 pm

Here is a November 1951 ad from the Oakland Tribune:

kencmcintyre on April 12, 2007 at 2:48 pm

Here is a discussion of the renovation after the fire in 1988:

gsmurph on September 4, 2005 at 11:24 am

The Elmwood is up and running again, and its function should (obviously) be “Movies.”

gsmurph on August 23, 2005 at 11:13 pm

Good news—-the Elmwood reopens tonight (August 24), newly remodeled and upgraded!!!

gsmurph on May 29, 2005 at 9:53 am

According to a memo posted on the ticket booth by the Elmwood Theater foundation and the operator, San Carlos Cinemas, flooding from a adjacent property last fall severely damagd the main auditorium’s seats, flooring and concrete base, necessating their removal and replacement. In addition, changes in the city requirements for masonry structures that necessated seismic retrofitting, coupled with delays involving insurance, permits and construction issues have resulted in a longer than expected closure for the theater. The foundation and San Carlos' projected date for reopening the Elmwood (at least as of this writing) is July 2005.

mlind on December 3, 2004 at 9:27 am

It was an art house in the mid-late 60’s. I remember seeing the French film A Man and a Woman there. It played forever. Some friends who didn’t have a car lived a block away and complained that the whole time they lived there (9 months), the Elmwood only showed that film.

mlind on December 3, 2004 at 9:19 am

The Elmwood is currently closed for remodeling.

gsmurph on January 17, 2004 at 3:59 am

I’ve long felt to some degree that the Elmwood’s story after its 1988 fire is analogous in certain respects to that of Oakland’s New Fruitvale (q.v.) nearly two decades earlier, particularly in that both were operated by United Artists, which essentially stalled as long as it could to avoid reopening both theaters. Fortunately, the Elmwood can boast of a much happier ending to its tale of ordeal, and in a much shorter time as well.

GaryParks on December 10, 2003 at 12:23 pm

Interesting to see that the Strand’s original architect was A. W. Cornelius, something I did not know. His other theatres include the California in Pittsburg (closed but standing with original facade intact), T&D/Fox/UA in Richmond (demolished 1980s), and T&D/Fox California (in use sporadically for performing arts and movies, remodeled several times) in Salinas.

betmarv on December 10, 2003 at 11:18 am

Architects: 1914 design by Albert W. Cornelius, moderne-ized in 1947 by Alexander Aimwell Cantin

HowieT on December 9, 2003 at 7:51 pm

The Elmwood was my pride and joy. I was the independent operator
who, after the fire, tri-plexed the house and equipped it with
vintage, salvaged art deco light fixtures from various older
movie houses including the Merced Theater in Merced CA.

gsmurph on December 9, 2003 at 11:25 am

P.S. to my earlier post: Ironically, the building that was nearly destroyed in the fire that that closed the Elmwood reopened far sooner than the theater (whose damage was less severe, though significant) did. Go figure.

gsmurph on December 9, 2003 at 11:22 am

The Strand was built in 1914 and became the Elmwood about 1949 after extensive remodeling. It ran as a single-screen until it was closed in October 1988 by a fire that had spread to it from the building next door. United Artists (its operator at the time) attempted to sell it to a developer set to either demolish or radically gut it; fortunately neighborhood and community opposition thwarted that curve ball, and the Elmwood survives today, the only major alteration done during its repairs being to convert the balcony to two smaller theaters.

GaryParks on October 28, 2003 at 1:44 pm

The Strand was long ago renamed the Elmwood, and operates today as a triplex with a wonderful historically-maintained and decorated feel.(You may want to look up “Elmwood” under Berkeley, CA) Coincidentally, during its triplexing renovation, the Elmwood received salvaged light fixtures from the Strand, San Francisco.