The Thomson Theatre opened their doors in Old Forge in May of 1923. Not soon after was the name changed to The Strand. Back in the day, they hosted silent movies, and operated their dance hall and barber shop. Many remember it as a place to get local news and spend an inexpensive weekend night.

Bob Card visited The Strand for the first time in 1991 as he was in town managing sound for a visiting band, according to NCPR. During his downtime, he decided to go see a movie. While he was waiting in the lobby for the movie to start, he told the ticket seller how much he liked the place.

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She asked if he liked it so much, did he want to buy it?

It was then he went home to Waterville and expressed his love of the theatre to his partner, Helen, and the rest is history.

Bob and Helen have put so much work into the theatre over their decades of ownership. They've restored, revamped and remodeled - but fast forward to 2020 and their world has been turned upside down.

The Strand hasn't been able to open because of the coronavirus pandemic. Despite this, Bob has been working constantly, changing the marquee to accommodate birthdays, anniversaries, and other wishes. He sometimes changes the messages multiple times a day to accommodate all of the requests.

The Strand is an iconic part of history in Old Forge. Community members are coming together to keep that legacy up and running.

Credit: Life in the ADK
Credit: Life in the ADK

"Instead of purchasing newer more modern letters he has repainted, repaired and restored the original letters that date back to 1934," said retail store Life in the ADK. "To my knowledge he hasn't charged anyone to do this."

Bob and Helen have done so much for the community, Life in the ADK wants to spread the message to give back and help during this unpredictable time for the theatre.

They are soliciting members of the community who appreciate everything that Bob and Helen have done, to donate to the theatre as an effort to keep their doors open.

Donations can be given online through the Life in the ADK website, or can be mailed directly to Bob and Helen at:

Strand Theater
3093 SR 28
Old Forge, NY 13420

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