The Crandell Theatre is Columbia County’s oldest and largest movie theatre. This 534 seat theatre, located in Chatham, New York, was built in 1926 by Walter S. Crandell, as a vaudeville house and is listed on the New York State and National Register of Historic Places. The theatre’s brick and stucco architecture offers an impressive Spanish Renaissance design complete with arches and lanterns.
For nearly 50 years, the Crandell was owned by the Quirino family. Anthony H. Quirino purchased the theatre in 1960, and his son Tony Quirino was the owner and operator from 1985 until his death in 2010. With tremendous support from the community, The Chatham Film Club purchased the Crandell in 2010, ensuring that the jewel of Main Street would remain open.
The Crandell has many unique features not found in today ’s movie houses, like a full 26 foot wide and 13 foot deep stage, a 112 seat balcony, an orchestra pit, and organ lofts on each side of the stage. The theater has remained largely unchanged since it first opened.
In 2017, the Crandell Theatre was placed on the New York State and National Registers of Historic Places, the official lists of buildings and sites significant in the history, architecture, archeology, and culture of New York State and the nation.
“We are delighted to recognize the Crandell Theatre as a place of great distinction in our state,” said Daniel Mackay, Deputy Commissioner of the NYS Division for Historic Preservation. “The Theatre is a stellar example of what makes our state’s Main Streets so dynamic and why the preservation of historic places is so important to communities. The NYS and National Registers provide the opportunity to document significant places and for the stewards of those building to explore economic opportunities to help maintain the building for future generations.”
The documentary “Crandell Theatre: the Jewel of Main Street, “ which includes historical photos of the theatre and the Village of Chatham, tells the story of the theatre’s history, the evolution of film, and the role of historic preservation. Among several interviews is one with Anthony H. Quirino, owner of the Crandell Theatre from 1960-1985, when he sold it to his son Tony. Mr. Quirino passed away in March 2017 at age 93.