Strand (Elmwood) Theater


2966 College Avenue map it


designated in 1982

Strand (Elmwood) Theater

Albert W. Cornelius, Architect, 1914

Built as the Strand Theater in an Art Nouveau architectural style, this was one of the neighborhood’s first commercial structures. Admission was ten cents for adults, five for children, and the theater was advertised as “catering to the family.” After closing in 1941, it reopened as The Elmwood in 1947, with a new zigzag Moderne decor. The opening movies were “The Macomber Affair,” starring UC Berkeley alumnus Gegory Peck, and “Blondie’s Big Moment.” Promoted as “Berkeley’s first post-war motion picture house,” it featured foreign films and survived the advent of television, movie multiplexes, and home video.

A fire closed the theater again in 1988. When it was rumored that the building would be replaced with shops, friends of the theater created the Elmwood Theater Foundation which purchased and renovated the building with a City loan. The theater reopened in 1994.

Berkeley Historical Plaque Project

  • Promotional poster for the 1947 film “The Macomber Affair,” United Artists.

  • Strand (Elmwood) Theater ticket booth (2010), photo R. Kehlmann

  • Gregory Peck in “Gentleman’s Agreement” (1947), Wikimedia Commons.

Photo credit abbreviations:
BAHA: Berkeley Architectural Heritage Assn.
BHS: Berkeley Historical Society