Strand Theater

Central Square,
Youngstown, OH 44503

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wolfgirl500 on February 12, 2015 at 3:46 pm

During the silent years, the Strand also had a house orchestra even though they did’t have any live stage shows.

Victorgan on August 2, 2014 at 7:11 am

The Strand Theatre contained a 2 manual / 12 Rank Moller Theatre Pipe Organ, Opus 2171, installed in 1916, at a cost of $3500.00. It was enlarged in 1919 to a 3 manual console with and additional 3 ranks of pipes added in 1919 (opus 2621)for an additional cost of $3450.00

wolfgirl500 on October 13, 2011 at 10:16 pm

In the write up announcing the opening of the Strand in the October 25, 1916 Vindicator we read that when the theater opened that it: “will seat well over 1,000 persons” while later references from the Film Daily Yearbook for 1950 say 750 suggesting that the balcony and boxes were at some point closed for some reason.

In finding a photo of the outside of the Strand at its opening and early days it didn’t have a marquee and its sign was flat against the building (see photos for this theater), yet for its day it was relitively plush.

wolfgirl500 on April 12, 2011 at 10:41 pm

View link

The Heller Brothers Company was the general contractor for the Strand Theater. This company built a number of Youngstown theaters including the Warner.

The architects were Knox and Elliot, the same firm that designed the Hippodrome. This firm was also the architects for the new Tod House Hotel of which the Strand was a part.

wolfgirl500 on April 11, 2011 at 9:41 pm

The Strand Theatre had its grand opening on October 25, 1916 with the films “The Patriot” starring William S Hart and “Maid Mad” starring Louise Fazenda and Charles Murray.

The Strand had a mezzanine and box seats which were more expensive than the orchestra seats. Orchestra – .10 cents; Mezzanine – .15 cents and Box Seats – .25 cents.

In the mid 1950’s the Strand started its live stage shows presenting Country and Western bands before going burlesque and adult movies.

wolfgirl500 on January 2, 2011 at 9:53 am

Are you confusing the Strand with the Palace? On the site where the Strand was located is a high rise apartment building for senior citizens. The former Tod Hotel was there previously.

In a search through local newspapers we find that by the early 1950’s the Strand was closed as a movie theater and later reopened as a Burlesque house with live burlesque and adult movies. It ran this program for a short time until a projectionist/stage hand closed it perminantly and thanks to urban renewal the building along with the Tod Hotel were demolished to make way for the high rise.

Next to where the Palace was located was an office building and after the Palace was torn down the land was turned into a parking lot.

spectrum on December 14, 2010 at 1:56 pm

The Strand is demolished. A large office tower and parking lot sits on the site.

wolfgirl500 on May 27, 2008 at 8:58 pm

As children, we see things differently than we do as adults. I know that the first time I visited downtown Youngstown, I couldn’t get over the excitement, and the first time Mother took me to a show at the Palace, it was a thrill. We had three theaters in my hometown, but none of them compared to the Palace.

I did go to see one movie at the Strand, and it was one on the most unimpressive experiences in my theater going. The only good thing I can say about it was that the popcorn was reasonably good.

As to the other downtown theaters (State, Paramount and Warner) that was a very different matter. It’s a shame that the Paramount and State are nothing more than fond memories, but thankfully we still have the Warner (Powers Auditorium/DeYor Performing Arts Center) and thankfully Powers still possesses all the furnishings that the Warner Brothers put there.

Aside from a few cosmetic changes in the Auditorium, everything else is original.

edblank on May 27, 2008 at 8:09 pm

Thank you, Jack and Wolfgirl. Alas, I’m a bit more confused than ever – not fault of yours. I don’t think that as a child who was visiting his older sister on that weekend in 1952 and walking to the nearest theaters, I was aware there were others in Downtown Youngstown.
The one time I returned with that sister, driving her there so we could both have a nostalgic look-around, the only thing familiar was the theater that had become the symphony hall — the Warner/Powers Auditorium. (I just hadn’t remembered the name.) I’m almost positive that was where I saw “Where’s Charley?” and that I misidentified as the Paramount.
On the basis of your notes, I think “Don’t Bother to Knock” was at the Paramount and the westerns were at the State, across from the Paramount. I have no explanation for not remembering the Palace.
Personal note to Jack: I’m quite surprised you recognized my name and a bit of my writing. I cherished my first interview with Ed and Wendy King and was thrilled, shortly afterward, to attend a full broadcast of “Party Line.” Wendy phoned me at home the night Ed died. I went to the office and spent the rest of the night writing an obit that began, “The party’s over for the man with the pretzels.” I remember it was almost dawn when I finished, so I stayed to read proof on it and make final corrections. Wendy, blessedly, is still with us – a very dear lady and a treasure trove of memories of KDKA-Radio’s greatest era.
Is there a way for us to connect “off line,” Jack? You can email me at
My apologies to everyone else for digressing.

wolfgirl500 on May 27, 2008 at 7:04 pm


Here is a link to a photo of the Strand which you will find in “My Shoebox” folder.


Your comment on the Strand was real understatement. It was plain ugly, and that’s being nice. The poor projectionist had to climb up a ladder to get to the booth which was just large enough to hold the projectors and little more.

By the way, I do have photos of both the Palace and Warner (DeYor) on the above link if you haven’t already seen them.

Jack Oberleitner
Jack Oberleitner on May 27, 2008 at 6:51 pm

Ed- Assuming “Where’s Charlie” played the Paramount, which someone else will have to verify, the theatre in question, across and down the street, would have been the State. I saw Mickey Rooney in the “Atomic Kid” at the State around the same era. The third theatre would have had to been the Strand which was, at least, 3 or 4 notches below the State in quality. Further down Federal Street was the Warner, now Powers Auditorium, which, in my opinion was more opulent than the Pittsburgh Warner. Around the corner from the Strand, on Wick Avenue, was the stunningly beautiful Palace. The posts on the Palace are quite interesting to read. Also look at the State posts. It was eventually closed and nicely remodeled and reopened in 1959 with a “roadshow” run of Ben Hur. It continued as a roadshow only theatre for several years and actually closed when a hard ticket picture wasn’t available.

On a personal note, we have a few things in common; I am a lover of the Pittsburgh area theatres and worked for the Sterns/Associated as a manager and district manager. I’ve always enjoyed your writing. I’m a writer also and also went to basic training at Fort Gordon. It might be interesting to trade “old war stories.” I would think we know/knew many of the same people. I just re-read your 1970 tribute to Ed and Wendy King. They are still fondly remembered. â€" Jack Oberleitner

wolfgirl500 on May 27, 2008 at 6:42 pm

The Strand Theater was located on the Southeast corner of the Square while the Palace Theater was located on the Northeast corner of the Square.

The Paramount was located at the Northeast corner of West Federal and Hazel.

The State Theater was located across the street from the Paramount four doors up from the corner of Hazel and West Federal.

The Warner Theater (Now DeYor Performing Arts Center) is located on the corner of West Federal and Chestnut Street.

The Strand did specialize in cowboy pictures,and when compared to the much larger houses was shabby. In it’s last days it featured live burlisque and art films. The last stripper to play the Strand was Virginia Bell.

Hope that this clears things up for you.

In their days both the Paramount and State Theater were runners up to the Palace and Warner, but it was the State that presented the spectacular films in Tod-A-O format.

The Palace on the other hand besides showing first run films also had live stage shows featuring big bands and Broadway plays.

During it’s years as the Warner, this theater featured first run films only even though it was equipped for stage shows. Today it is home to the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra, and has expanded greatly to include a recital hall and a high class restaurant known as The Overature.

edblank on May 27, 2008 at 5:31 pm

When I spent a weekend in Youngstown as a child in 1952, there were three old theaters clustered within a stone’s throw in Central Square. Two were practically side by side; the third was directly across the street.
I think the Paramount was one of the “twosome” and sat to the left of its street-mate. They were the two nicer theaters, I believe. I saw “Where’s Charley?” (Ray Bolger) in the one to the left (possibly the Paramount). Didn’t get to the other one on the same side of thr street because it had a somewhat mature film, “Don’t Bother to Knock” (Marilyn Monroe).
The theater that sat across the street from the others was shabbier. I saw there a reissue western combo of “Dodge City” and “Virginia City."
Can anyone advise me as to which theater was which, please?

Jack Oberleitner
Jack Oberleitner on February 9, 2008 at 2:37 pm

Thanks Wolfgirl. I’ve enjoyed reading many of your Youngstown theatre memories. You might be interested in one I just posted about my first experience at the Y-town Palace.

wolfgirl500 on February 9, 2008 at 2:11 pm

Fred was a good friend of mine, and I agree that he was a great writer.

I don’t recall a pizza shop being next to the Strand, but on one side was an Isaly Dairy store, and on the other a drug store that was part of the Tod Hotel.

I also knew Jack Heinz and Ed Princeton quite well. They were long time family friends.

After leaving the Paramount, Jack became the first General Manager of Powers Auditorium and saw it through its restoration. His work saw the preservation of the old Warner Theater.

As for Fred, he saw to it that I got passes to many first run films at both the Palace and Warner, and would give me the press kits to all the movies that came to town.

In his later years, before he retired from The Vindicator, he was an Editorial Writer, and I really looked forward to his writings and aved them all.

You are right in saying that origionally the Strand concentrated on newsreels, but they also featured cowboy pictures and B detective films. It never was a first run house,so it couldn’t compete with the larger houses such as the Palace, the Warner, the Park, the Hippodrome, the Paramount or the State.

The Palace and the Park besides showing first run films brought in large stage shows that drew large crowds, and the Strand’s size was so small that none of the distributers wanted to bother with it.

Also, you’re absolutely right about the quality of the theater management in the good old days. Jack Heinz use to tell about all the famous actors and actresses he knew over his long career, and in his office was a wall full of pictures of all the show people he personally knew. It’s a shame that the Paramount was not equipped for stage shows because he could have brought in some really great shows.

Jack Oberleitner
Jack Oberleitner on February 9, 2008 at 11:17 am

Someone once told me, The Strand was originally a newsreel theatre. I suppose the operators of the Todd Hotel thought it was logical to have a news theatre available for out of town guests, salesmen and the like, to catch up with world events in the days before TV.

If memory serves, there was once a “hole-in-the-wall” pizza shop near the Strand where one could get a square of pizza about the size of two playing cards with one piece of pepperoni for 10 cents. Like 75 cent, or less, movies, those times are long gone.

Also, Fred Childress was a wonderful critic in mid-century Youngstown. His writing was colorful and interesting with a “big city” flare. Mr. Childress often mentioned the names of the managers at the local theatres. People like Jack Heinz (Paramount), Frank Savage (Warner), and Ed Princeton (Palace) became as well known as the theatres themselves. Far too often the people that truly breathed life into these wonderful venues, theatre front employees and managers, are forgotten. In the “golden days,” it was not unusual for a theatre to have cashiers, doormen, users and multiple layers of management making that theatre a true career, with as much as 20+ years of service.

My apologies for the, probably wrong, spelling of the above names. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen those names in print.

Patsy on May 24, 2006 at 6:33 am

Thanks for the MVHS info as I’ll be visiting them this summer and may not have known this bit of information if it wasn’t for you.

wolfgirl500 on May 24, 2006 at 5:59 am

There were 2 auctions one when the Palace closed and one when the Park closed. No, I didn’t know Baker except for what Fred Childress, the long time movie critic told me about him. They were friends.

The Mahoning Valley Historical Society has a lot of material on both theaters along with material from the old Grand Opera House.

Patsy on May 24, 2006 at 4:22 am

Did you know this Al Baker? And I think you’ve mentioned that an auction was held prior to the Palace Theatre coming down to make way for a PARKING LOT! Perhaps you can respond to the Palace question on the Palace CT link.

wolfgirl500 on May 24, 2006 at 4:17 am

The Park was the grand dame of Youngstown theaters, Grand Opera, Ballet, Broadway Hits, Symphony Orchestras, Vaudville superstars, Burlesque (pre-striptease)and movies.

Over the years, it brought in more first class entertainment than any other theater in Youngstown’s history. It was only in the last 10 years of it’s life that it was reduced to stripper shows.

Al Baker was the last manager of the Park, and thankfully he preserved a huge amout of material including contracts, posters and autographed photos of the greats that played the Park, and when it closed, an auction was held that brought in theater collectors from all over the country.

Patsy on May 24, 2006 at 3:18 am

Your memories of the Park compared to the Strand are srikingly different. The memories of going to the Tod Hotel’s dining room where fans could get autographs was very special to read.

wolfgirl500 on May 23, 2006 at 5:54 pm

Neither is the hotel that had the theater built. It’s strange, 0ne day the theater was there, and then it along with the hotel and the building that housed the Isaly store were gone with no fanfare. As far as the organ was concerned, there is no word as to whatever happened to it.

Since The Strand was not one of the main downtown theaters, like the Regent, it was simply demolished. I don’t think that anything was saved.

A high rise apartment was built on the location.

From what a projectionist friend who worked The Strand in it’s last days, the equipment was quite obsolete, and the way the projection booth was set up, it would have had to be completely dismantled to get it down out of the booth.

He told me that a couple of dressing rooms had been set up back stage, but even they were like phone booths they were so small.

My friend at The Vindicator who was the Theater critic once said that he never bothered mentioning the shows there because aside from one famous stripper Virginia Bell, the shows were lousey.

Now the Park Theater was a different matter. The Burley shows there were in the tradition of old time Burlisque and brought in not only top flight dancers, but comedy acts, a live band and such, but the manager really loved the theater and it’s history and saw to it that only the best played there, and after the shows, everyone would go to the main dining room of the Tod Hotel where fans could get autographs.

Patsy on May 23, 2006 at 4:53 pm

Great b/w photo of the Strand with the Isaly’s ice cream parlor next door which isn’t there anymore according to my Youngstown contact person. Nice to read that the Strand has an organ! I wonder where it is now?