Strand Theatre

126 S. Green Street,
Crawfordsville, IN 47933

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Denverpalace on December 9, 2022 at 1:31 am

In April 1933 the Federal bankruptcy referee announced that this theater, formerly operated by Publix-Fitzpatrick-McElroy, Inc., was sold to the newly formed Theatrical Managers, Inc. The new company included veteran theatrical operators V.U. Young of Gary, IN, and C.J. Wolf of Wheeling, WV; and Pierre Goodrich and Leslie Colvin, both of Indianapolis.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on November 24, 2010 at 10:46 pm

Admission for adults in 1927 was 25 cents Balcony or 40 cents lower floor.“SIAMESE TWINS”.Born Joined together,Playing .with picture program.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on July 14, 2010 at 10:50 pm

The Strand Cinema One and Two with 510 and 368 seats is now run by Nicklelodeon Productions of Indianapolis.The balcony theatre got seats from the closed ESQUIRE THEATRE. A new lobby area.The original STRAND opened in 1919 and was all new except for the outer walls which were a part of the MUSIC HALL bulit in 1884. BOXOFFICE ,May 1968.

Maxxarcade on May 15, 2009 at 7:46 am

Wow, that must have been taken in it’s final years of operation. Great to see it in color though!

Here’s the interior in the 1920’s.

View link

I have some other pictures, but they are from the Theatre Historical Society, so I don’t think I can post those.

Maxxarcade on June 18, 2007 at 10:57 pm

Hi Patrick,

I couldn’t get that link to work; I’ll try it again later on.

The comments on CinemaTour were mine :–) I’ve been all over trying to find info on the theatre since I have the organ from it. I do have some photos, but I can’t post them here. Maybe I could send them to you and verify that it is the same building.

Please let me know if you find any more info.


pagoda on June 18, 2007 at 7:40 pm

Greetings Aaron,

Just got around to your note- better late than never! :) Inside the lower theater (and possibly the upper, I cannot remember) the walls were the same as when it was one large theater, before it was split into two. Those original (at least since as far back as when I saw my first Disney movie- which must have been around 1975 or so) walls were red cloth that was sort of rippled. The only reason I remember that the walls in the lower theater stayed this way is because when I was cleaning it after shows there were these huge floodlights we could turn on and the then it was quite obvious. This was not the case in the upper theater where the after-show lighting was very inadequate, so I simply do not remember. I am almost positive that I could track down either the owner or manager that I worked under in the late 80’s. It is entirely possible that this owner was the owner when the Strand collapsed- though I couldn’t be certain. His name just came to me! Amazing! He was Doug Cullins or Cullings I believe. Also, I happen to be an avid journaler since my first journal in May of 1980, so I’m pretty sure I might be able to scour those journals and find some more information since that place was a big part of both my work and social life in the late 80’s.

As far as when the theater collapsed, it was in December of 1998 (see this URL: I also found some more information about the early history here: which says in part (quoting from that website):

“The Strand was built in 1919, contracts signed by H.P. Vonderschmitt.
It seated 1113, had stores and apartments attached, and was located at 126 S. Green St. It was part of the Publix chain and one of the larger theatres in the area.

The organ was installed in 1927 and is a Kilgen 3/5, Opus 3911. Original color appears to be a silver/gold and green mottled finish. Also appears the organ was worked on in 1959 by O.E. Shuler Co. and received some new parts around that time. That is possibly the time it was painted with the mottled finish. Location of the original pipes is unknown. Possibly demolished with the theatre."

I might be able to gather some additional comments from my mother the next time I talk with her as she still lives there and should, obviously, remember more about it earlier on than I do.



Maxxarcade on March 22, 2007 at 9:53 pm

Patrick, do you recall what color the interior was? Or about when it was demolished?

I’m still trying to find more information on this place, but it seems to be one of the theatres that has very little known about it. Even the THS has a limited mount of info about it. They did send me copies of a couple neat photos though. I would see about posting them here, but I don’t know where I could upload them to.

pagoda on November 28, 2006 at 4:00 pm

I saw my very first Disney movie at this theater! That was back when it was only one screen. It was sad when it became two screens. As a teenager I worked here for 4 years as a projectionist and janitor. We used to love going into the bowels of the theater and finding old posters, etc. Of course, as a teenager the historical significance doesn’t really hit you. I also remember tanning on the roof during the summer. :)

MarkWitt on October 29, 2005 at 11:34 am

Thanks. This is not The Strand. I’ve been away for a while but I recognize this now as a facility on Washington street a couple of blocks over from the Strand site that is used for live performance of commuity theater. You can look this up on as the “Sugar Creek Players Vanity Theater”. The Vanity, it seems, is still in existance but The Strand was demolished.

MarkWitt on October 29, 2005 at 12:21 am

The photo is not attached that I can see. I think the name isn’t a problem, seems it could have been named that. If you can get the photo to me at or successfully post it I can verify the building. I spent a lot of time changing the marquee and working in the poster windows. Where did you get the photo?

EvanC on September 28, 2005 at 6:12 pm

The Strand did indeed have this Kilgen organ, Beside being listed in the Encyclopedia of American Theatre Organs, pictures of the theatre interior in the late 1920s show the console in the orchestra pit. As with many theatre organs, it was probably removed in the 1950s or 1960s. There is a good chance it wound up in a church for many years, since the original 5 ranks would be useful for church music. The name uncovered on the console could be an organbuilder who reconditioned it for church use. In the late 1970s, this console and many organ parts were donated to the Redford Theatre (Motor City Theatre Organ Society) in Detroit by the Campbell family. The console was on display in the foyer of that theatre for a long time. I bought this console from them in 1985, first installing it in my home theatre, then moving it to a small theatre I owned at the time in Morenci, Michigan, where it played 6 ranks for a few years. 10 years later I sold it to the man who has made the first posts on this thread.

pixnstx on January 29, 2005 at 3:17 pm

my grandfather ran the projection booth for many years(deek Tilney) he past a model sailing ship down to me that was on display at the strand for many years and was said to 100 + years old.If anybody recalls this old model or insight into its history please pass it along. thnx

Maxxarcade on November 3, 2004 at 10:45 pm

I believe the architect was Arthur Helbing of Chicago, and the Theatre was built in 1880 and rebuilt in 1919. The building measured 164ft x 81ft and was 51ft high with 2 stories.

Maxxarcade on September 17, 2004 at 4:45 am

It’s possible that the database is incorrect about the location, but more than likely, the organ was removed in the 30’s after the fall of silent movies. I’m going to try and do some more research. It was supposedly installed in 1927, so it probably didn’t stay around too long. Do you know if there is a website for the Crawfordsville Journal Review? I live in Michigan so it would be hard for me to stop in there any time soon.

I’ve also tried to get in touch with other people that live in or near Crawfordsville, but I haven’t had any luck. The photos I have of the theater are from the Theater Historical Society, and are black and white xerox copies. You can barely make out what looks like the organ, in front of the stage off to the left.

MarkWitt on September 17, 2004 at 3:07 am

I don’t ever remember seeing an organ in the place, and 1959 is about when I started going there as a child for matinees. The Crawfordsville Journal Review may be a source of photos. You’d have to arrange to look through old boxes of photos if they’d let you. The Crawfordsville library (about a block or two from the Strand site) has a great local history room. I’ve seen lots of old pictures in there.

I don’t remember seeing any pipes in the theater either and I had to many occasions to work in the place with the lights up.

Maxxarcade on September 17, 2004 at 2:05 am

Mark, that’s great information. First piece of history I’ve heard so far. I’ve been really interested in the theatre since I acquired the organ console from there. For a while I was trying to locate some good pictures of the organ, so I knew what it should look like. It’s been modified and painted over the years, and I’m trying to restore it to original appearance.

I’m wondering who removed the organ from the building, and when. I also have no idea where the organ pipes went. Maybe down with the building? And I’m curious if the theater had been fixed up around 1959, because it appears the organ was rebuilt and possibly refinished to a greenish color around that time. Under one of the keys is stamped “O.E. Shuler Corp, 1959”. All these little bits of information really spark my interest and curiosity.

MarkWitt on August 22, 2004 at 8:00 pm

My family has a lot of history with this theater. When I was about 8-10 years old (1958-60) my grandfather became the janitor. We had a continuous supply of free passes! He helped me get a job there when I was a teenager and I worked there from 1965 to 1967 as an usher, janitor and in popcorn/candy sales.
One of my duties was to change the posters and the marquee. The letters for the marquee were in the dirt floored basement. Along a hallway down there were dressing rooms and posters from vaudeville. I remember seeing a bill for Smiley Burnette. My grandmother said she saw Houdini at the Strand too. She was known to craft a good story on occasion, so I was never sure it was true. In the 80’s it was rigged into a twin screen theater by extending a ceiling from the bacony. Never liked that idea much. It was a grand old theater and I was sad to hear it had collapsed and had to be demolished.