Grand Theatre

514 Market Street,
St. Louis, MO 63101

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JAlex on January 28, 2018 at 12:53 pm

The explosion/fire took place in November 1884. The theatre was rebuilt and opened in September 1885. Colonel Hopkins and the Tri-State Amusement Co. began to operate the theatre in August 1896 at which point the Grand Opera House became the Hopkins Grand Opera House. In August 1898 Hopkins and Tri-State parted company and the theatre reverted to simply Grand Opera House.

To St. Louisans, it was the Grand Theatre, not Grand Follies which just appeared on the attraction board of the canopy.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on January 28, 2018 at 10:22 am

After the fire and explosion in 1884 when was the Grand rebuilt and reopened? Because in the 1897-98 edition of the Julius Cahn Official Theatrical Guide there is a “Hopkins' Grand Opera House” listed. Unfortunately, there are no street addresses in this guide. The Grand was run by John D.Hopkins & Charles Salisbury. It had 2,269 seats, ticket prices 10 cents to 30 cents. Auditorium was on the ground floor and had electric illumination. The proscenium opening was 38 feet wide X 30 feet high, and the stage was 44 feet deep. This was a big theater, but I don’t know if it was later the Grand Follies Theatre.

JAlex on January 28, 2018 at 9:10 am

As a “cinema treasure” the venue was known as the Grand Opera House…this being the teens through the 20s. The movie (a subrun) was but one part of the offerings which included up to 9 acts from the Orpheum Circuit. Theatre became simply the Grand in the 30s when burlesque became offered until closure in the 60s.

AmericanHistorysmith1 on January 25, 2018 at 12:01 pm

A long-time before the down fall of American Burlesque—back in the 80’s the 1880’s, this happened on the stage of the Grand Opera House—Lydia Thompson & her New, Grand English Burlesque Company in “COLUMBUS”. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch-March 22, 1889 Page 5 Column 7.)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 27, 2013 at 5:31 pm

A brief biography of Chicago theater architect Oscar Cobb, published in 1886, lists the Grand Opera House in St. Louis as one of his works. This must have been the rebuilding after the 1884 fire and gas explosion that destroyed the original building.

butchieboy on September 10, 2011 at 10:31 pm

Started going to the Grand when I was 15, around 1962. The feel of history in the place was palpable. Loved the old jokes, which I recycled to great effect. Was a regular visitor with my best hs buds until early 1964, when the doors were shut.

RetroMike on May 11, 2011 at 10:15 pm

I have added so much more to my blog about the Varieties/Grand Opera house including original articles from its opening night way back on May 10, 1852!!!

Just click on the above link.

By the way the first show to play at the theater was “The Good for Nothing”.

RetroMike on May 10, 2011 at 7:50 pm

1910 article from the St. Louis Globe Democrat about the rebuilding of the Grand Opera House. Also a photo of the theater.

View link

mike46 on March 28, 2009 at 8:50 pm

I attended the last burlesque performance at the old Grand. I think I was 17 at the time, and you had to be 18 to get in, unless you were big tall enough to pass for 18. I remember the small orchestra, probably no more than 6 men, and they all wore tuxedos. hanging off the front of the stage near the orchestra leader was a lanyard with a whistle on it, i don’t know if that was used for effect after some of the worlds worse jokes by Billy Zoot Reed, and the like., or they blew it when the cops raided the place so the girls could get their clothes on, During intermission, you were invited to walk next door to the York Hotel Bar and meet the ladies. Since i wasn’t old enough to be in the Grand, I sure wasn’t old enough to be in the bar, darn the bad luck !