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Strand Theater

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c. 1941. Southeast corner of Main and 12th streets

Modernity of image was of great importance for motion picture theaters. Many began as legitimate theaters and were later transformed into movie houses to show silent and then talking films. Even after they became motion picture houses, most theaters were updated from time to time. The Strand has an even more varied history for it started out as a Baptist church in the late nineteenth century, and it later was transformed into a theater. (The brick walls of the original church are visible on its north side, on Twelfth Street.) What we now see is a facade remodeling of around 1940. The designer has used two highly contrasting colors of vitrolite—shimmering black and cream—to establish the presence of the theater. The smaller cream-colored volume projects out of the rectangular geometric form of what was the body of the church and its two towers. On the ground level on each side of the entry marquee are two curved bays of black vitrolite and glass brick.

Writing Credits

David Gebhard and Gerald Mansheim


What's Nearby


David Gebhard and Gerald Mansheim, "Strand Theater", [Dubuque, Iowa], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Iowa, David Gebhard and Gerald Mansheim. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993, 87-87.

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