• Mel Dick

The Strand








Lazy day....too much TV and Football to watch. Some of the sights of Key West from the past two weeks. The iconic Strand Theater on Duval Street, stacked boat storage, a U.S. Navy ship, one of the many flowering trees that line residential streets and the Southernmost chapter of the Loyal Order of Moose, a fraternal and service organization founded in 1888 and headquartered in Mooseheart Ill. The only chapter of the "Moose" in Northern Idaho is located in Moscow Idaho.


By now, you have probably gathered I love history, especially local history and the stories behind the history. The beautiful Strand Theater in Key West pictured above opened in the mid-1920s as a single screen movie house that sat 800 people and offered southern Floridians a look at silent films and the latest talking pictures of the day. With the spread of home theaters and large multi-location theater chains in the 70's and 80's the Strand closed in the early 1980s and reopened as a nightclub. After being occupied by several nightclubs it became a Ripley's Believe It Or Not Odditorium in 1993. The theater was sold in December 2001 and closed in April 2002. Walgreens bought the property in early 2002, restoring the marquee and retaining the interior balcony. It now serves as a neighborhood Walgreens. It's a novel store front and the exception for a chain of 9000+ cookie-cutter drugstores that operate in every state of America. 


The Strand was actually part of a chain of theaters formed by the Mark Brothers, Mitchell and Moe, who started the world's first permanent Buffalo based movie theater in 1896. By 1914, these creative New Yorkers took a gamble and spent a million dollars on the Mark Strand Palace Theater in Times Square. In just a few years the Strand name was protected by the New York Supreme Court and a chain of theaters spread throughout the United States and Canada.

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