Strand Theater and Island Park Restoration

From vaudeville to Hollywood films, the Strand Theater has witnessed an extensive array of entertainment throughout its history.

Originally built in 1910, the theater exchanged hands and names several times over the years, but it remained a source of amusement for New Bedford’s North End for the better part of a century.
In 1950, the theater underwent a drastic renovation. Its then-owners followed the popular mid-century trend of completely modernizing the building, including stripping its original wooden Italianate façade and replacing it with a modern entrance and lobby. Today, the stuccoed, boarded-up façade obstructs the building’s historic presence and charm.

Although its façade has been dramatically altered, it is one of the only surviving theaters of its era, both in the North End and in New Bedford overall. Additionally, many of its neighboring buildings met the wrecking ball to make room for I-195, further increasing its significance as a surviving historic building.


WHALE, in partnership with the building’s current owners, the Cape Verdean Association in New Bedford, is undertaking the exciting project of reconstructing the historic façade and rehabilitating the interior to return the building to its former glory and serve as the Cape Verdean Cultural Community Center.

The empty lot next to the Strand Theater is being transformed into a verdant green space and welcoming sight at the entrance to New Bedford’s North End. The park will have shell walkways, community gardens and shade plantings standing over park benches to offer a community gathering place and respite on hot summer days.

WHALE is serving as a consultant and project manager for the CVA and is excited to see the long awaited vision of these two spaces come to fruition throughout 2024.