The Strand Theatre was built by Rockland businessman Joseph Dondis during a six-week period in the winter of 1922–1923. The Strand was also the first building to rise from the ashes of the fire of June 16, 1922, which destroyed four entire business blocks in downtown Rockland.
The Strand first opened its doors to the public on February 21, 1923 (Washington's Birthday) for a sold-out showing of the silent film My Wild Irish Rose.
The steel-framed theatre, with its terracotta tile walls, and ornamental brick facade was considered unusual and innovative in its appearance. The theatre also boasted a gilded proscenium arch and stamped tin ceiling, jade green plaster walls, an organist loft and an auditorium seating 626. Outside was a traditional Vaudeville style canopy and a stunning "blade" sign with the word S-T-R-A-N-D outlined with electric light bulbs. Two storefronts, a cigar store and a flower shop, were incorporated into the theatre framing the entrance.
The Strand was Rockland's third downtown theatre (the others being the Park & the Empire). However, to compete with the already-established Park and Empire theatres, Mr. Dondis later added a stage, fly tower, and balcony to The Strand to accommodate local dance recitals, theatrical productions, and popular vaudeville shows. The Strand also hosted many fundraising events for local clubs and organizations.
Today, the Strand is the only survivor of the three movie theatres that served the Rockland area in the 1920s.