19 Court Street,
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Spotlight Cinemas (Official)
Operated by: Spotlight Cinemas
Previously operated by: Lockwood & Gordon Enterprises
Firms: Desmond & Lord
Functions: Movies (First Run)
Previous Names: Strand Theatre, Skowhegan Cinema
The Strand Theatre opened November 18, 1929 with 980 seats. The red brick facade is Neo-Georgian or Federal Revival, with an old-fashioned boxy marquee. The main entrance below the marquee features a ticket booth. On either side of the main entrance are retail spaces. On the second floor are three sets of three windows.
The Strand Theatre, today known as the Strand Cinema, was refurbished in 2005 and now seats 485 on a stadium plan in the original auditorium and two screens seating 175 each have been added. The cinema is also supposed to be haunted, and is listed as one of the 50 most haunted places in America. In 2018 it was taken over by Sprolight Cinemas.
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Recent comments (view all 14 comments)
Construction of the new screens is completed. Both new cinemas have a balcony, stage curtain, dolby digital with Klipsch, period reproductions, and a seating capacity of 175 per side. Architects for the project were Joy and Hamilton from Auburn Maine.
I too am a skowheganite. I remember as a kid in the 70’s talk of the place being haunted..something about handprints on the screen and footsteps, etc..supposedly a child, I think. The old owners (the perrys) allegedly had some experiences too I believe when they lived upstairs? It’s a true treasure…one of the few gems in Skowhegan as the town has been steadily declining—getting more of a “mill town” look to it…too bad..maybe road repair would be a first step to cleaning it up?
The Strand in Skowhegan, according to Theatre Historical Society of America info, opened on November 18, 1929, had 946 seats and was designed by Desmond & Lord.
I grew up in Skowhegan and visited the cinema every weekend growing up. Now I bring my two boys. We went to see Night at the Smithsonian battle of the museum. We got there a little eerie and no one was in the theater yet. We sat in the back row and ate our pop corn as we looked around. My three year old looked at the exit sign on the left side of the theater and asked me who that man was standing there. I asked him where. He pointed and then said he was gone. Chills went up my spine. I had heard the rumor of a ghost, but had never seen it. We have since been back and neither of my children has seen him since.
Did I hear that the “James Montgomery Blues Band” is going to be at the “Strand” this summer? Do tell is there a “Ghost ” of a chance?
The Strand is listed in the 1942-43 edition of the Motion Picture Almanac as part of Lockwood & Gordan theaters of Boston.
The official website (http://www.narrowgaugecinema.net/strand.htm)has a nice photo gallery with interior photos.
Somerset Theatres, Inc. were the original operators of the Strand, according to an early 1930 issue of The Film Daily. The first manager was named Newall E. Ware.
It was a Lockwood/Gordon Theatre and then part of SBC Theatres out of Massachusetts (Doug Amos). It was managed for years by a couple named Ouellette who also lived in an apartment over the theatre. It was single screen until 2006.