Gayety Theatre

410 N. 14th Street,
St. Louis, MO 63103

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The second location of the First Presbyterian Church was dedicated October 21, 1855 at N. 14th Street at Lucas Place replacing the former 1817 facility. The building cost an eye-popping $100,000 and was said to be the finest church in the Mississippi Valley.

Thirty-four years later, the congregation found a new location for its third church and sold its former building to L.M. Crawford, a showman from Wichita, for $40,000. He gave the facility an interior and exterior transformation including the removal of its steeple changing its function and name to the 14th Street Theatre in 1889.

The 14th Street Theatre concept appears to have failed rather quickly. Edward C. Buechel took on the venue on a sublease converting it to the German-language Germania Theatre launching September 4, 1892. The Germania Theatre concept ended after the 1903 season.

In 1903, Crawford took over the theatre again changing it into an English language playhouse named Crawford Theatre from August 9, 1903. On August 6, 1905 it changed its name to Gayety Theatre using burlesque and hosted such talent as Bert Lahr and Joe Penner. The Gayety Theatre then tried mixing in motion pictures, especially exploitation films and some art films. The theatre went back to live shows through April of 1934. Crawford said that sliding financial fortunes and back taxes led to his decision to have the nearly 80-year old building razed.

A salvage sale followed by a permit to demolition came on May 19, 1934 and the theatre/church was gone in June of 1934.

Contributed by dallasmovietheaters
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