48 Main Street, Chatham, N.Y.
Local banker Walter Crandell commissioned Columbia County’s largest movie house with a Spanish-themed décor. Constructed on the site of a house formerly owned by the Crandell family, the pink brick and stucco theater was built at a cost of $100,000 pre-Depression dollars. It was envisioned as a venue for traveling vaudeville shows and silent pictures. However, in recognition of the growing importance of talking movies after The Jazz Singer was released in 1927, the theater installed talking and sound-making equipment in 1929.
The Crandell includes a one-story, 4,500-square-foot double-height theater auditorium with a balcony, a two story southern section with 1,100 square feet of floor space, a one-story, 945-square-foot, double-height stage, two rental spaces on the street level, and three rental offices on the second floor.
Largely unchanged since its days as a vaudeville house, the building has been in use as the town’s movie theater since the demise of vaudeville.
The theater was purchased by Tony Quirino, who worked as the theater’s manager before buying it in 1960. His son assumed operation in 1985, and ran the theater until his untimely passing in 2010. The theater was closed for a short time, its future uncertain, until a town trustee and local restaurateur purchased the theater a few months later and turned ownership over to the not-for-profit Chatham Film Club. It reopened again as a movie house in July, 2010.
The Crandell Theatre is the main venue for the FilmColumbia Festival, an annual five-day film festival held every October. The Crandell also hosts Farm Film Fest, a day of film about local farming in Columbia County, NY sponsored by The Chatham Agricultural Partnership, The Chatham Film Club, and The Columbia Land Conservancy Programming Committee.
WHY ARE WE SEEING IT?
The darling of the community, dedicated and faithful grass roots effort, the theater is a THS member.
Today is the last day for registration for Conclave. Call THS directly at 630-782-1800 to register.
(All images courtesy of the Crandell Theatre.)