Home Digital Photographs Genealogy Resources Special Collections Search
| Motion picture venues
changed within a few years when entrepreneurs realized that they could
put a crowd into a hall, project motion pictures onto a screen and charge
money. It was the Lumiere brothers from Lyons, France, rather than
Edison, who fostered this advance when they invented a machine which was
a predecessor of today's projector. On December 28, 1895, the Lumieres
first projected ten short motion pictures onto a screen to a crowd at Paris'
Grand Cafe. They brought their show to the United States in 1897
and soon rivaled Edison with demonstrations in many cities. Edison
caught on, abandoning his kinetescope shows for public presentations in
theaters. Popular entertainment was forever changed, thanks to these
Lowell's Legendary Theaters
Movie going was a grand
event and escape for
the best babysitter in town on
Eventually, Lowell's theaters fell victim to television, automobiles, shopping mall cinemas and urban renewal. Here's what happened to Lowell's legendary theaters:
* The Strand, located on Central Street where Lowell Academy of Hair Design now stands, was a local showcase and famous for its lavish lobby. It opened amid splendor on October 1, 1917, to a twenty-six piece orchestra. It stopped showing films in 1968 and, despite efforts by preservationists and the Save Our Strand Campaign, was torn down in 1974.
*The RKO Keith on Bridge Street, where Petren Building and the parking lot are located today, operated from 1911 through 1963. First called B.F. Keith's, this was a regular stop on the Vaudeville circuit. Keith's featured three shows a day, including a silent movie and pit orchestra. When Vaudeville faded, shows changed to movies that starred "names" on the circuit. Keith's closed in 1963 and remained empty until August of 1975, when the City foreclosed on it for back taxes. Petren purchased it in 1976 and razed it for parking.
Top Of Page Previous Page or Next Page