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The Grand, Ellsworth, 1938-1962

Date listed: 8/1/2012

Criterion A: Community Planning and Development, Entertainment and Recreation Criterion C: Architecture

In 1933 an intentionally set fire destroyed approximately 130 buildings in the downtown area of Ellsworth, Maine. Five years later a brick commercial block was erected by the City in order to help propel the city and region’s economic recovery. Known as The Grand, the one-story block on upper Main Street contained five steel and glass storefronts and a recessed lobby that lead to a 730 seat auditorium. Dedicated initially to screening motion pictures, the interior of the theatre features Art Deco motifs executed in patterned painted wood and tile, and streamlined trim elements. In addition, although the overall exterior composition of the building reflected current, but common trends in storefront design and materials, the marquee and 20 foot tall sculptural tower of stainless steel and Vitrolite glass marking the entrance to the theatre is an extraordinary example of Art Deco/Modern design. The architects responsible for the building were Krokyn & Browne of Boston, Massachusetts. The Grand was listed in the National Register of Historic Places at the local level of significance under Criterion C for its architectural importance as a notable example of Art Deco design, and under Criterion A, entertainment and recreation, in recognition of the establishment’s lengthy significance as the town’s most important venue for cinema and performing arts. As a building constructed during the Great Depression by the City of Ellsworth to provide multiple commercial spaces and a theatre, the property is also significant as a significant local example of Community Planning and Development.