Loew's Mid City Theatre

416 North Grand Ave,
St. Louis, MO 63108

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Loew's Mid City Theatre

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The Shubert, at the corner of Grand and Olive, was built in 1912 and opened October 13th, as the Princess. This building must have suffered identity crises because it changed its name about every decade.

The theater on Grand was renamed the Rialto in 1919 and later became known as the Shubert-Rialto. It showed movies from 1930 to 1953. Eventually, this became the Shubert, then the American, Then Loew’s Mid City, the Campus and the Sun Mid-City.

Late in its theater career, this was a movie house. It seated 1,500, 200 fewer than the original American, although the Shubert/American’s seats were larger and provided more leg room. The narrow, long auditorium had only one balcony. The American moved into it on October 5, 1953, the American had found its new home but not for long. When the American moved in, the stage was 10 feet deeper than its former home.

It had undergone extensive remodeling, $150,000 worth. Some may have not recognized the palace because it had new everything, seats, seating arrangements, lighting, orchestra pit, carpeting, dressing rooms, draperies, lounges, furniture, painting and scenery lofts.

The terazzo floor and facade were marble while the paneled lobby had murals by artist John Sherman. Although the theater had a striking appearance, it was not well attended. One critic said it was caused by the new and unusual wave of off beat drama. Audiences didn’t like it.

So the American once again changed its format to Broadway musicals. The playhouse remained at this location for seven years before moving back downtown to the old Loew’s Orpheum Theatre.

In 1960, when the American moved out, the building became known as the Loew’s Mid City Theatre after the swap with the Orpheum downtown. This gave Loew’s on North Grand along with the other big movie palaces along the Grand White Way. The Loew’s was a movie house and replaced the once lively stage with a silver screen.

The Loew’s Mid City didn’t last long in St. Louis. Eventually it had to close. Later as the Campus and Sun Mid-City, the theater was also unsuccessful and eventually was razed.

Contributed by Charles Van Bibber

Recent comments (view all 3 comments)

Lak on January 14, 2010 at 7:55 pm

After several attempts to find tenants, the owners decided to raze the theatre in December 1978 due to property taxes and little to no chance of leasing the building. Saddly, if they could have held on for a few more years, this situation could have turned around!!

TLSLOEWS on February 22, 2010 at 7:17 pm

Any Photos anyone?

JAlex on June 29, 2010 at 3:35 am

Theatre opened September 12, 1910. The architect ws Frank McClure.

On March 6, 1919 theatre re-opened as the Rialto after the structure had been completely redone (with the exception of the four walls and roof). The architect for this reconfiguration was Charles Dietering.

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