Pheil Theatre

424 Central Avenue,
St. Petersburg, FL 33701

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Only briefly read about this theatre that once existed in St Petersburg, Florida. One account stated that it opened 2/20 /1919. Alledgedly had a domed ceiling with cherubs. Reported to have been demolished to make way for a bank building in 1959.

Contributed by John Evans

Recent comments (view all 10 comments)

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on August 15, 2005 at 3:12 am

Pheil Building Central Ave and 4th St.

“During the 1910s, the Pheil Building was constructed for the Pheil Hotel (later named the Madison) and the Pheil Theater. It took ten years to complete, because developer Abram C. Pheil, who had made his money in the dredging and phosphate business, refused to borrow money and worked on it when he had cash available.

Pheil opened the theater in 1918 with an unusual seating arrangement. Patrons entered through one of two doors next to the movie screen and walk up the aisles – toward the “back” of the theater – to find a seat. Pheil had been in a theater fire in Chicago and designed his to be safer in the event of a projection room fire.

In 1960, the adjoining bank expanded into the building, partially demolishing the theater and combining with the remainder to make one larger building. What was the Pheil Theater foyer became the bank’s lobby, mezzanine, and data processing area. The 11-story Pheil Hotel, later known as the Royal Trust Tower and then the First Union Tower, was remodeled in 1982".

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on August 15, 2005 at 3:21 am

This should be the address for the Pheil Theater:
424 Central Ave
St Petersburg, FL 33701

KenRoe on August 15, 2005 at 3:35 am

Listed in the Film Daily Yearbook;1950 edition at the address: 412 Central Avenue, St. Petersburg. FL. with a seating capacity of 735.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on August 15, 2005 at 3:43 am

Ken….The 424 number is given by the St Petersburg Historical Society and that number is also given on a walking tour website for St Petersburg. Anyway, here is a postcard picture of the Pheil Building.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on August 15, 2005 at 3:58 am

Looking at the size of the building in that postcard, it probably spans both addresses.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on August 15, 2005 at 6:13 am

This is a 1925 photo of the Pheil Theater. The caption reads “View of crowded Central Avenue (400 block) by Pheil Theatre, looking east towards 4th Street: St. Petersburg, Fla”.

theatreorganmana on October 27, 2005 at 6:25 pm

The Pheil had a Wurlitzer, Style 135, theatre organ, Opus 756, shipped 12/28/23.

DONALDADUNN on April 4, 2007 at 11:50 am

Anyone ever heard of the Hance Detective Agency that was at 841 Central ave during the 1920'?

AndyCallahanMajorMajor on October 25, 2010 at 12:58 pm

This is a picture I took of the former bank building—and, apparently, the remains of the Pheil—in June 2010.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on November 9, 2010 at 4:24 pm

Doudlas Fairbanks movie “WHEN CLOUDS ROLL BY” played.The prices at the PHEIL THEATRE were Orchestra and Balcony 30 cents,Box seats 50 cents. Extra added Fox newsreels.Miss Swenson played the Big organ.It was called the home of “BIG PRODUCTIONS”.

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