220 N. Second Street,
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Previously operated by: Frisina Amusement Company
Architects: Robert O. Boller
Firms: Boller Brothers
Previous Names: St. Charles Cinema
The Strand Theatre was one of the larger theatres built in St. Charles. It was opened in 1927. It was located right on the corner of N. Second where the bridge came from St. Louis County over the Missouri River into downtown St. Charles. The theatre was a beautiful theatre. The front was built in a blond color brick and had two towers one on each side of the theatre front. At eye level were two sets of poster cases with ‘Now Showing’ and ‘Coming Soon’.
The theatre had a free standing box office and six sets of doors for the entrance. When you entered the lobby there were staircases on each side leading to the balcony. The concession stand was against the back wall of the auditorium. There were two aisles that led into the audirotium on each side of the lobby. There were paintings of the walls of the auditorium with lighting below to show them up. There was one large crystal chandelier in the auditorium. There was a good side proscenium around the stage and a good size stage. The curtains over the stage were a thick dark green velvet.
The Strand Theatre was renamed the St. Charles Cinema in 1968 and operated for a few years under this name. Later in the 1970’s, it functioned as a rock concert venue called the Factory before closing for good.
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The Strand was sold to Peter Piccione of St. Louis in 1968 and renamed The St. Charles Cinema and operated as such for a few years until all the new multplexes popped up. It was then operated as a venue for rock music and called The Factory. In the early seventies Mr. Piccione sold it to the government for conversion.
The Strand was not at the corner of St. Charles Rock Rd and Second st. The Chicken Shack was on that site. The Strand was down the street where th St. Charles County Administration building is now. Len’s Race Place/hobby shop and the Girls Scouts building was next door. City Hall was built between the Strand and the bridge.
I remember seeing first run movies there as a kid, such as Help and Boeing, Boeing. Ten cent ice cream bars from a neat little machine that delivered them to you via “elevator”. I remember that place as being very dark, with sticky floors.
An advertisement for Boller Brothers in the July 10, 1926, issue of The Reel Journal listed the Strand Theatre in St. Charles as one of the firm’s projects. David and Noelle’s list of known Boller Theatres lists the Strand as a 1925 project.
The Strand was at 220 N 2nd St. not South and was building was completed 1926-27. Map is also wrong.