LaPlaza Theatre

504 Central Avenue,
St. Petersburg, FL 33701

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La Plaza Theatre - St. Petersburg FL

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Found references to this theatre opening in 1913. Supposedly had a segregated upper balcony area.

Contributed by John Evans

Recent comments (view all 11 comments)

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on August 22, 2005 at 4:21 pm

One website gives the style as Mission Revival and another gives it as Mediterranean Revival.
A Black History in St. Petersburg website claims this theater opened in 1913. This paragraph concerns the LaPlaza Theater:
“Dick Bothwell points out in his book Sunrise 200 that when the city’s elaborate show place, the LaPlaza Theatre was opened in 1913, blacks enjoyed the shows too although many whites did not know it. Blacks sat in a balcony high in the rear of the theatre, reached by a steep stairway with a separate box office”.

drumrboy36
drumrboy36 on August 22, 2005 at 4:36 pm

Here is a link to a post-card photo:
http://www.stpete.org/images/020601.jpg
It appears to be a larger theatre.

KenRoe
KenRoe on August 22, 2005 at 11:04 pm

I notice on the postcard photo it is The Plaza, not La Plaza. It does certainly look like a large theatre. Maybe La Plaza (or LaPlaza is it is spelt in the 1941 Film Daily Yearbook) was a small theatre attached to the larger Plaza Theatre that was no longer there from 1941 onwards. Just a thought.

We need someone local with first hand knowledge to help solve this one. What is currently located on the 504 Central Avenue address?

drumrboy36
drumrboy36 on August 23, 2005 at 9:51 am

I went to the City of St Petersburg Web site and looked at the City Maps……it appears 504 Central Ave is now a parking lot.

rocsal
rocsal on October 2, 2005 at 1:30 pm

I don’t know the exact size of the Plaza but it was over 2000 seats. In the photo the street going to the right is central ave, while the one going to the left is fifth street. I believe the theater was entered through the arcade on central ave. The central ave part of the theater ( arcade) is now a parking lot and where the auditorium was is the current location of the Holocast museum. The auditorium was located across the theater from the Florida theater.
Until the 1960’s it was not uncommon in the south to have “colored balconies”, especially in small towns that only had one or two theaters

boilerbob7
boilerbob7 on December 25, 2007 at 7:21 pm

I often went there in the early 50s. It had kids matinees for 9 cents. We became friends with the projectionist and we were able to get in when the first holocaust movies were shown, limited to adults only. I was 7 or 8 at the time. I also remember a friend winning a bicycle by getting popcorn boxtops from the customers.

RubyTrio
RubyTrio on June 11, 2009 at 10:03 pm

I had two great aunts who were in vaudeville and played the Plaza in November of 1926. It was part of the Keith circuit of vaudeville.

bhorn2
bhorn2 on July 21, 2009 at 7:06 pm

It was, indeed, “La Plaza” – long gone now. Here’s a link to a 1948 article about it:

View link

bhorn2
bhorn2 on July 21, 2009 at 7:08 pm

And here is one more article – definitively states that the theater had a seating capacity of 1800 people…

View link

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 27, 2010 at 10:26 am

The rear portion of La Plaza Theatre was demolished in 1957. The front portion (which must have been the arcade leading to the theater) had been demolished in 1955, and the entire complex had been condemned in 1953, according to this article in the St. Petersburg Times of April 9, 1957.

This 1913 article about amusements available in St. Petersburg says that construction of La Plaza had begun in May, 1912, and the 1,800-seat theater had opened in March, 1913, with a series of three operas presented by the Royal Italian Grand Opera company. The article also mentions that there were three movie houses then operating in St. Petersburg: the Rex, the Star, and the Royal Palms.

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