Published May 20, 2003


Soales  Chapman  Sutherland Kahn Gray Federbush-Dean


A Lot Of Memories Are Now Missing!

rand_demo_c.jpg (60596 bytes)
Corner of Lafayette & No. Washington.
rand_demo_a.jpg (78672 bytes)
Corner of Lafayette & No. Washington.
rand_demo_d.jpg (72621 bytes)
From in front of First Baptist Church.

Click photos to enlarge.

Well, it didn't take long. One day they are simply putting up some safety fence and the next, over a century of a community's history is reduced to a heap of bricks, boards, stone and mortar dust.

How many stories do you think could be told about things that took place in the Rand Theatre? If you grew up in Greenfield you have to have a story about the Rand. Hopefully, you have at least one story you wouldn't dare tell!

And what about the Snack Bar? I figure there are several books worth of tales about the folks that worked and hung out in that tiny little enclave. Hell, I could write half a book just about how much I miss their cheeseburgers, chili and chocolate milkshakes! 

Next to "Tiny's", in what was most recently Steven's Hardware, was a building that housed several important elements of Greenfield's history. At one time it housed the world's only African-American owned automobile manufacturer and later, the beginnings of what remains one of Greenfield's major employers, Greenfield Publishing Company (Banta).

For much of my life the rooms on the second floor of that building were home to the local Eagles Lodge. My father was a member, as were most of his friends. Having known my father, and his friends, I can't imagine the stories that could be told about what happened behind those closed doors!

rand ad 1957 ghs.jpg (46429 bytes)
Rand Theatre ad for February, 1957. Click ad to enlarge.

Gone also, is the building that was once home to a genuine service station. The Sinclair station that sat there for so many years was but one of the many places where a person in Greenfield could take their vehicle and truly get it serviced. Today, you can get a tank of gas and a Snicker bar. Air is extra and you have to, "serve yourself."

Well, you can't stand in the way of free enterprise, growth and progress. But, there are many times when I think we Americans should be taken to the wood pile and spanked. How did we ever arrive at a place where we think a 100 year old building is too old? Our European relatives still live in, buy in, eat in and drink in buildings that are centuries old. But we, who tear down 25 year old ballparks, spend even more of our wealth flying over the pond to see how quaint and lovely Europe is. Shame on us!

To conclude, if you have a remembrance or story about any of this, and would be willing to share, email it to



  • My daughter is in her mid thirties and lives in Seattle, Washington. I took her to her first real movie at the Rand when we were visiting from Columbus. It was Disney's Sleeping Beauty. She was three and she became scared when Milificent turned into the Dragon and she tried to hide. I saw my first movie there about twenty-five years earlier, Return to Treasure Island, starring Tab Hunter. (There's a name you don't hear often.) My Aunt Mary Miller, had taken me. In elementary school, several grades went during school hours to see Ben Hur. I remember it well. It was so long, that there was an Intermission. THAT made quite an impression on me. I lived in terror of Leprosy for years after that. When I was a teen, a lot of girls would go to the restroom to smoke. (Not me, of course.) People actually smoked in the theater in those days. I found the purple strip ceiling lights that stayed on during the features to be one of the physical features of the theater that I remember most. Sammi Miller (Class of '65.)
  • Here's a little additional history regarding the half block that's in the process of being demolished. First, the Norton Seed Company stood on the property that became the Rand Theatre. Secondly, the Rand was built for Kibler R. Roberts and J. Henry Davidson and opened its doors  on January 22, 1937. These two gentlemen also owned a second Rand Theatre located in Lynchburg. Greenfield's Rand was remodeled in 1947. Finally, the Rand was used as a set for a motion picture several years ago. If anyone remembers the details regarding this, please email me the info. Larry Chapman
  • I think the Rand Theater was the home for all of Greenfield, young and old. I know all of my Saturday afternoons were spent there. The cost of the ticket was 35 cents. My sister and I would always stay to see the movie twice. I was at the evening showing of the 1947 remodeled Rand. "Leave her to Heaven" starring Cornel Wile and Jean Tierney was the featured film. The theater was packed. I thought I was at a Broadway opening night. The theater interior was so impressive. I was so scared after watching "The Mummy" twice, that I ran all the way home. The stage appearance of Sunset Carson was a big let-down for my sister, who was younger then me. By the time he came to Greenfield, he was big and fat. She cried because her idol was a big disappointment. Boy, does that date me!!! Barb Sutherland
  • My family and I were in the family viewing room upstairs since my sister Ginger was a baby in the crib. We were there to see the first "Jaws" movie. My mom started taking me downstairs to go to the bathroom so I couldn't see anything going down the stairs and when we got downstairs I was too short to see over the back wall.So I started jumping up and when I did it was just in time to see the scene where the severed leg with the sneaker on it floated in the water. That was a great memory! I've loved horror movies every since. The family viewing room upstairs was the greatest invention since sliced bread. We could all be in the room and talk if we wanted to and not disturb anyone. I live on Long Island in N.Y. now and brought my family back to Ohio for a visit this past Memorial Day weekend so we actually got to see the Rand ruins. Too bad. Amy (Penwell) Kahn
  • The remembrance I have about the theater was when my Mom, my sister, my niece and myself went to see the "Gremlins". We snuck in pizza, chips and our own pop. It was funny when people went to the concession to buy pizza and the theater didn't sell pizza. I also remember seeing grown-up couples in the back row making out. Joy Gray (class of '82). 
  • Just came across the site on memories of the Rand Theatre and would like to share my own. I recall going there with my sisters and friends to see a horror film which, I believe, was entitled, "Them".  It was about ants who had grown to gigantic proportions due to encountering the waste of a nuclear bomb set off in New Mexico.   Everyone was issued 3-D glasses to wear during the show. Does anyone else remember these 3-D movies?  This took place in the fifties. Later we saw another horror movie, "The Creeping Unknown".

    Another memory is that of going to see Old Yeller" with Terri Bergen.  Both of us sobbed during most of the movie.

    Say, does anyone out there remember the "Lyric"?   It seems that this theatre preceded the Rand but I'm not sure.  Hope someone can give input on this.

    Nancy Federbush Dean,  7/28/04


More Rand Theatre Information & Photos


Top of Page