Throw Back Tuesday: Gravois Theatre

On November 1910 a building permit was issued to O.T. Crawford for a new theatre on South Jefferson. The architect was Duggan and Huff. It was constructed for $33,000. The new Gravois Theater was located at 2631 S. Jefferson Avenue.

According to a report in Billboard Magazine the Gravois opened February 11, 1911. As the report said: “a beautiful piece of architecture, and the opening night all were unable to get in that wanted to. With a seating capacity of 1,100 and the packed houses of each performance, much of the first cost of construction was canceled.” The opening policy was three acts of vaudeville and moving pictures. Admission was 10 cents.

The Gravois seated 1,100 between the main level and the balcony. The balcony had a steep slope toward the front of theatre which was almost four stories high with a large vertical sign on the front of the theatre. The marquee was rather small in comparison with only two lines to announce what was showing. The front of the theatre was lined in a soft beige square panels about 2 feet by 2 feet with green panels down the middle of the front.

Photo: Gravois Theatre, circa 1943.

In the main auditorium the seating was a combination of old and new seating. Half way down the auditorium the padded seating ended and you had wooden back and bottoms on the seats. On each side of the balcony a large column ran down each side of the auditorium with a ornamental light fixture running from about two foot from the ceiling to about 8 feet from the floor. It featured different colors lights in the fixture and when the movie started the fixture would dim to a soft yellow light.

The Gravois' management went to Famous Players-Missouri, to City Wide, and finally to St. Louis Amusement. The Gravois Theatre closed in 1968 and was demolished in 1972 to make way for a fast food restaurant. Today, a Lee's Famous Chicken sits at 2631 S. Jefferson

Sources:

CinemaTreasures.org, http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/5701

Missouri Historical Society, http://collections.mohistory.org/resource/149315

Motography, Volume 5, Issue 6

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Benton Park West Neighborhood Association (BPWNA) was incorporated in 1998 with the state of Missouri and the IRS to be a 501(c)3 organization. © 2014 by Benton Park West Neighborhood Association. All rights reserved. Webmaster at info@bentonparkwest.org.

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