The building that houses the Hamburg Strand Theater was built in 1799, and was one of the first properties to be built when the town was laid out. Located at 6 South and 4th Street, it was a Federal style house, which was later, turned into a restaurant, before being converted to the theater in 1920. The building to the right of the Strand used to be a place called Trexlers. It had some great Hot Dogs and Hamburgers that I still remember to this day. Now, it’s a Pizza place. Times have changed in Hamburg, but not all that much. Hamburg, PA is still a very Historic little town that I remember well.
Owners David and Ella Schlear opened the Strand to the public on Christmas Day of 1920 showcasing their large screened theater with 500 seats. The family home was located above the theater; the front section of the building was rented out as a barbershop. The Schlear’s son Ed took over ownership in 1935, and he added a new entryway, ticket booth, marquee, and neon lights as well as Modern projection equipment and an updated interior. Since then the Theatre has ungone many owners and numerous renovations; the barbershop became a video rental store (among other things) and a concession stand and lobby were built. The Strand now holds 200 seats and remains a single screen theater.
The first “talky” at the Strand was “Untamed”, shown in March of 1930. Prior to that, pianists and later records provided music during the silent film era. On Tuesday and Wednesday a “B picture” film was shown; Friday evening was cowboy night; Saturday offered the more publicized films. During popular movies the kids sat in the aisle; otherwise the girls sat on the left and boys on the right.
This is a Image of the 1931 Movie Projector that was in the Strand Theater on display. I, as a young boy, have been into the Strand a number of times to see movies and cartoons that were playing for us kids back in the 50’s. Going back into the Theater for the 1st time in over 60 yrs. brought back some memories for me, but not many. For some reason my memory has faded me over time of the inside. Maybe it’s because it has undergone many changes since then. More than $200,000 has been spent bringing the old Theater back to modern day, so far.
So, with all that, Eileen and I went and stepped back into History to see a Elvis impersonator, named Jeff Krick. He was putting on a show at the Strand for 2 hrs. We had bought tickets for the 1st 10 rows of seats from the stage. We got to sit in the 4th row!
“Elvis” was very, very good to see perform. He was well worth the money we paid. He had all the moves that Elvis had and sang most of his songs from when Elvis was alive. His voice sounded just like him! He performed for just under 2 hours. We bought a Medium bag of buttered Popcorn for $5.50. Guess that the day’s of getting Popcorn for 25 cents are long gone!