Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently announced that the NYS Board for Historic Preservation has recommended the Crandell Theatre to the State and National Registers of Historic Places. The theatre in Chatham, NY, was one of 22 properties recommended this year, and one of only three in the Capital District. The State and National Registers are the official lists of buildings and sites significant in the history, architecture, archeology, and culture of New York State and the nation.
“This is such a great honor,” says Annie Brody, Executive Director of the Chatham Film Club. “Having the Crandell recognized as a piece of living history is definitely cause for celebration by the entire Chatham area community, without whom the Crandell might not have endured. It is not only a highly-respected acknowledgment but also makes the Chatham Film Club eligible for New York State Preservation grants and other funds that require listing on the State and National Registers.”
The Crandell Theatre is a 1920s-era building erected in a Spanish Renaissance style for live vaudeville performances and photoplays but then retrofitted to screen motion pictures with sound. It first opened on Christmas Day 1926. By 1929, the first motion pictures with sound, “talkies,” were being shown there. As such, the building’s early history spans a transformative time in American culture and entertainment. Its construction, backed by a prominent local family, the Crandells, was widely celebrated by Chatham residents, who viewed it as evidence of a new era of local progress and development in the Village.
Beginning in 1961, the Quirino family (first Anthony and then his son Tony) owned the Crandell until 2010, when it was purchased by the Chatham Film Club, a member-supported, nonprofit organization. The Chatham Film Club, formed in 1998, began hosting special matinee screenings of art, independent and foreign films monthly. In 2000, the Crandell Theatre hosted the first FilmColumbia Festival, and in 2013 the theatre converted to a digital projection system with three-dimensional capability.
Rose Harvey, Commissioner of the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, said, “I congratulate the property owners for winning this notable distinction. It is an important step in embracing historic preservation as a tool to create jobs, promote tourism, expand housing and encourage private investment, all while preserving natural resources.”
The Chatham Film Club, a 501(c)(3) member-supported nonprofit organization, owns and operates the historic Crandell Theatre at 48 Main Street in Chatham. For more information or to see what’s showing, visit www.crandelltheatre.org.