Strand Theater

110 W. Stephenson Street,
Freeport, IL 61032

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 30, 2018 at 7:03 pm

I believe addresses have changed in Freeport at some point, perhaps more than once. Not only are theaters in the 1914-1915 American Motion Picture Directory listed at addresses that do not now exist, but an item in a “Fifty Years Ago” column of the July 21, 1964, issue of the Freeport Journal-Standard, telling of the construction of the Alhambra Theatre, gives its address as 110 Stephenson.

The vintage photo uploaded by elmorovivo shows the Strand on the south side of what is now the two-digit block of West Stephenson, a couple of doors east of Van Buren Avenue. The old courthouse in the next block has been replaced by a modern building, but the Civil War Memorial in front of it is still there, as is a church steeple seen farther west on the north side of Stephenson in both the vintage photo and Google’s street view.

It will probably take quite a bit of puzzling to discover the actual modern addresses of Freeport’s old theaters, and some old photos of their historic surroundings. In the meantime, it looks quite likely that the old Alhambra/Strand building is still standing, but given the angle of the vintage photo it’s impossible to tell which of the old buildings it was in. My best guess would be either the store occupied by Celia’s Gifts, Antiques and Home, 25 W. Stephenson, or Chubby Belly Buffet, 23 W. Stephenson. Still, it could have been another door or two east.