York, Pa.’s, Strand and Capitol theaters have played host to silent movies and loud applause

At the Strand
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Restoration contractors worked under the curved canopy at York, Pa.’s Strand-Capitol Performing Arts Center as part of a 2003 renovation. (See photo below of completed renovation.) A 30th-anniversary celebration is planned in April to recognize a previous renovation of the complex. Also of interest: Ella Fitzgerald’s Strand-Capitol show was ‘memorable, not Memorex’ and Hanover’s old State Theater: ‘Don’t lose hope, it’s not dead’ and Stewartstown’s Ramsay Theatre: ‘It is really in bad shape’.
When businesses have been around for 75 to 100 years, they’re going to have a litany of openings and closings, re-openings and re-grand openings.
Such are the cases of North George Street’s Strand and Capitol theaters, now merged into the Strand-Capitol Performing Arts Center.

To help in the understanding of the ups and downs of those grand buildings ups over the years, here’s a 2003 chronology published in the York Daily Record/Sunday News – on the advent the last renovation and re-opening:


strandcapitaolX00136_9.jpeg
A reader submitted this photo of the Strand-Capitol Performing Arts Center as seen in 2008.
1906
- A one-level dance hall and opera house known as the Theatorium is built on the corner of North George and Philadelphia streets. Later, this building would be known as the Capitol Theatre.
1917
The theater, since renamed The Jackson, is remodeled to show films and fitted with a balcony.
1925
Aug. 27: The Strand Theatre opens as a theater and silent film house.
1926
The Jackson, purchased by Nathan and Louis Appell, is renamed the Capitol and reopens after more renovations.
1976
Aug. 27: RKO-Stanley Warner closes the Strand. York Mayor John Krout is urged to consider building a performing arts center, and Krout, Susquehanna Pfaltzgraff owner Louis Appell Jr. and city economic development director Jack Kay approach RKO-Stanley Warner about purchasing the Strand. Both the Strand and Capitol are put up for sale.
1977
The Capitol, which was showing X-rated films and other flicks, closes for renovations.
1979 Summer: Renovation begins on both the Strand and Capitol.
1980
April 12: The 1,214-seat Strand reopens, with jazz legend Ella Fitzgerald and the York Symphony Pops Orchestra on the bill.
1981
May: The 701-seat Capitol reopens with the movie “Can-Can.”
1995
April 18: Blues legend B.B. King performs two shows at the Strand.
1999
May 12: Country great Willie Nelson rolls through more than three dozen songs – including “Crazy” and “Blue Eyes Cryin’ In The Rain” – during a rollicking show at the Strand. A power outage halts the show for 15 seconds, but Willie and his unfazed band pick right up where they left off when the power comes back on.
2000
April 2: Comedian George Carlin performs two shows at the Strand.
2001
Feb. 7: Gov. Tom Ridge comes to York and announces Pennsylvania will release $4 million in state funds for the Strand-Capitol renovation project.
July: The Strand closes for its second major renovation and restoration.
Aug. 24: Crews break ground on the “Setting The Stage” renovation and restoration project.
2003
Aug. 27: The Strand celebrates the 78th anniversary of its grand opening in York.
Sept. 13: Scheduled grand re-opening of the newly restored, $17.3 million Strand-Capitol Performing Arts Center. Source: The Strand-Capitol Performing Arts Center.
2010
Strand-Capitol plans “Ella-bration,” with Freda Payne performing to celebrate 30th anniversary of the 1980 renovation.

Also of interest:
All Strand-Capitol-related posts from the start.
All York Town Square posts from the start.

Top photo courtesy of York Daily Record/Sunday News

*Edited, 9/29/11

About Jim McClure

Editor of the York Daily Record/Sunday News, ydr.com and its many digital products. East Region Editor, Digital First Media. Journalism/history blogger: yorktownsquare.com. Author or co-author of seven York County, Pa., history books.
This entry was posted in Archives, all posts, Events, Famous York visitors, For photo fans, Genealogy/research, Local journalism & Web, Local landmarks, Nostalgia & memories. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to York, Pa.’s, Strand and Capitol theaters have played host to silent movies and loud applause

  1. Allen says:

    are there any archive pictures of BB King in 1995? I was at the show and would like to get copies a program etc. Thanks

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