200 E. Twiggs Street,
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Built in the Spanish Colonial style, the Strand Theatre opened October 16, 1915 with Anita Stewart in “The Juggernaught”. It was hailed as “the most beautiful theatre in the South”. The Strand Theatre featured air-cooling (not air-conditioning mind you!), twinkling stars in the ceiling and clouds that passed over the ceiling. The nearby Tampa Theatre opened in 1926 with air conditioning and the Strand Theatre couldn’t compete, eventually closing in 1931. It was reopened by Florida State Theatres on October 23, 1942. Architectural firm Kemp, Bunch & Jackson did some remodelling work on the Strand Theatre in 1947, and finally stopped it’s run as a theatre in the late-1940’s.
The Strand Theatre was absorbed into the Maas Brothers Department store building on that block in the late-1940s and was used for their women’s department. The Strand Theatre portion of the block was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in the late-1970’s; roughly the same time as the Tampa Theatre. Maas Brothers was absorbed into the Federated Department Store chain in the 1980s and closed this location in 1991.
The whole block including the Strand Theatre was not well maintained afterward and sold in 1998 to an investor who has not maintained it since, resulting in it’s condemnation in 2000. Plans were for the city to demolish it as the owner cannot afford to, but plans for that moved very slowly, but it eventually happened.
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