315 W. Main
Date Built: 1928
Owner: Harvey Callier
1st business: Strand Theater
Harvey and Osta Callier dreamed of building and opening a theatre in Lowell. They purchased part of the property in 1925 after Ernest Graham deeded it to the city and the remainder in 1927 and began building.
Newspaper articles document the progress of the theater:
May 17, 1928 – New Strand Theatre Nears Completion- The opera chairs, 514 in number, are ready to be installed. The pipe organ will arrive this week and the curtain and scenery have been ordered. The back portion of the building is four stories high, holds the fly loft and a unique system of controls, ropes and sandbags for the scenery and curtain drops.
June 14, 1928 – New Strand’s Big Opening Fine Success- All of the chairs were filled with the opening of Michigan’s Most Beautiful Small Theatre.
When the Strand opened, much of the entertainment was vaudeville or live actors. Laurel and Hardy performed here. The introduction of sound movies was a problem for Callier. What should he install? He installed an RCA Photophone projection apparatus. In 1932, new visual and audible equipment were again installed. It was difficult to keep on top of all the new innovations. In 1934, a neon sign was placed over the entrance.
In 1948, Earl Evans and Ray Engle families purchased the Strand. And the final owner was The Robert DeNolf family who purchased it in 1972. They lived upstairs and operated the Strand until July 1983. Attendance had been dwindling in part due to the introduction of Cable TV to Lowell.
The building was used as S. J. Bob’s Furniture in the 1980s, and as “Larkin’s Other Place” banquet hall from 1995 to 2021. The old Theatre lives on in memories. It is now owned by new owners David and Lisa Reed who hope to once again make it a part of the fabric of Lowell's life as "The Old Theater."
Image: The Strand Theatre prior to the installation of the neon sign in Nov. 1934. There was a business on each side of the Strand entrance which opened to the outside; one held the Strand Chocolate Shoppe of Mrs. D. S. Simon (1928-1935) and the other was a Vanity shop.
"Saw Gabby Hayse in person there. Loved the Saturday Movies, and many westerns. Roy Rogers was a favorite."
Judith Haddan Clippard
"Lived in the apartment above the theater for 11 years. I worked for Mike Larkin to assist with upkeep and change the marquis sign. Sorta neat but spooky at times. It has many autographs in the dressiong room under the stage."