On October 4, 1924, Harvey H. Blank and Warren E. Fenstermacher opened the Grand Theatre in East Greenville, PA. It was designed and built by Souderton, PA architect Jerome S. Landes, who was also the designer and builder of The Palace Theatre in Quakertown, PA and The Broad Theatre in Souderton, PA. The Grand was to be the most modern and beautiful theatre in the Upper Perkiomen Valley. At the same time Blank and Fenstermacher built The Grand, William W. Bieler built and owned the restaurant in the front right corner of the theatre's "footprint". Through the window in the lobby, ice cream and other treats were sold as this was the theatre's only concession area.
In May of 1945, Warren Fenstermacher passed away, and his 50% interest in The Grand was inherited by his son, Linwood K. Fenstermacher. In December of 1951, Harvey Blank’s 50% interest was sold for $10,000 to Linwood Fenstermacher. Linwood became full owner of The Grand. In January of 1953, Linwood and his wife sold 50% of their interest to June Clarke (Linwood’s daughter) and her husband.
By August of 1966, The Grand, at 42 years old, was showing its age. The operator of The State Theatre in Boyerton, PA, Mr. Jack B. Kline and his son Mr. Jack H. Kline, leased The Grand from Fenstermacher and Clarke. The Grand closed for a 5 month renovation project that newly transformed The Grand Theatre into The Valley Theatre.
On January 20, 1967 (advertising the former Grand as "Everything New Including the Name") the Kline’s officially opened The Valley Theatre as a 7 day a week operation. The Valley boasted improvements such as a newly renovated lobby and concession area, new carpeting, new auditorium curtains, and a modern marquee. The younger Kline, Jack H. became the manager of The Valley.
By January 1970, after 3 very successful years of leasing the building, the Kline’s purchased the building from Fenstermacher and Clarke. In July 1975, the Kline’s sold The Valley to Thomas Thornton Enterprises, due to Jack H. relocating for his job.
January 1977 saw The Valley closed for many months by Thomas Thornton Enterprises. The Kline’s bought the theatre back, completed additional repairs, and re-opened The Valley under the care of Mr. Doug Bricker as Manager until Jack H. returned to the area.
In the Winter of 1982, extensive remodeling was done to The Valley, featuring new seats, a new heating system, new concession stand, new draperies, new carpeting, and a brand new Kintex sound system.
In September 1987, the Kline’s sold The Valley to Ms. Wanda G. Kerver, who also owned and operated The Broad Theatre in Souderton, PA.
The Valley, the last remaining theatre in the Upper Perkiomen Valley, showed its last film and closed in March 2004. All equipment and seating were removed from the building as rumors circulated about the theatre's future. There is no doubt that the rather harsh Winters of 2002 and 2003 accelerated the decay of the compromised roof. Sections of the auditorium ceiling began to collapse. Everything left inside was drenched.
On August 20, 2004, Souderton Real Estate Agent Ed Buchinski and his business partner John Schortz purchased, and subsequently christened the building. Buchinski and Schortz’s company, Grand-Valley Holdings, LP, announced that the building would be saved from demolition. Several weeks later, after an extensive evaluation of the building’s condition and hidden historical elements, Buchinski and Schortz announced their final plans to embark on an extensive restoration project to return the building to its spectacular 1924 appearance and continued use as a theater. As part of the restoration, the original name "The Grand" would be used for the first time in almost 40 years. Following "modern times", the spelling of theatre was changed to theater.
On October 4, 2004, The Grand Theater turned 80 years old. Gifts included a new roof, new HVAC, and a very bright future!
After an exhausting 11 month restoration, The Grand hosts a "Black Tie" gala for local community and business leaders on Thursday, July 28, 2005... one day before the official opening. The purpose of this was to re-introduce the theater to the community and spur ideas on how the theater could be used beyond its primary purpose of showing movies. Over 500 invitations were sent out, and there was a very, very good response. The rented baby grand piano on the stage, with classical music played by Victoria Squicciarini, fueled the atmosphere for guests that reminisced on how the theater was, and marveled on what it had become.
July 29, 2005 was the grand opening of the new Grand Theater to the public. Being able to show "Madagascar" was an incredible fete by The Grand's booking agent, Mr. Rick Wolfe, owner of The Roxy Theatre in Northampton, PA.
In the Summer of 2006, work began on installing a 2-manual, 6-rank Marr and Colton theater organ. Originally installed in the Rivoli Theatre in Chicopee, MA, the instrument played in several private homes before finding its way to a theater, where it truly belongs! Interestingly enough, one of those homes was where The Grand's friend, Mr. Carl Black, Jr., resided.
2007 - 2008! The rear section of The Grand's stage is annexed, as work continued on the organ installation, enlarging the instrument to 12 ranks for a future enhancement by adding an additional 3-manual Marr and Colton console.
On December 12, 2008, the 2/6 Marr and Colton premiers to The Grand's audiences as pre-show entertainment for our annual Christmas Tradition Show. Mr. Carl Black, Jr., is the organist!