Belmont Theatre

5607 St. John Avenue,
Kansas City, MO 64123

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The Belmont theatre opened in 1948 seating 506. The front facade was rather unique, with a terra cotta with different color stones protruding fron the surface.

The theatre had a central entrance with the box office to the side. It had a large triangular-shaped marquee. About half way up the front on each side of the marquee there was a portico to protect the patrons from the rain or snow while in line.

The Belmont had a large lobby in a modern deco style with bright carpeting. There were benches and couched that matched the carpeting. Three aisles led into the auditorium which was also decorated in a art deco style.

The Belmont outlasted a lot of the neighborhood houses in Kansas city but closed in 1969 and today houses a church.

Contributed by Chuck Van Bibber

Recent comments (view all 3 comments)

Organguy
Organguy on March 20, 2006 at 10:57 pm

The old Belmont Theater was never demolished. It has been a church since it closed as a movie theater. The front is all different, but the interior has not been changed all that much. From the balcony – there are steps going down the side walls to the stage area. The original theater seats are still there and have been redone.

Mike Gallagher

RobbKCity
RobbKCity on December 23, 2006 at 8:27 am

Was this theater ever called the St. John Theater?

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 1, 2014 at 7:19 pm

The Belmont was a very early neighborhood house, dating back to around 1915. In 1925, there were plans afoot to remodel and expand it, but I don’t know if the project was carried out or not. In Google’s satellite views the building doesn’t look large enough to have accommodated the 1,800 seats that this item from the February 7, 1925, issue of The Reel Journal said it was to have:

“$60,000 Remodeling for K. C. Belmont

“Owners Will Increase Capacity of House to 1,800.

“Plans have been announced for the complete remodeling of the Belmont Theatre, St. John and Oakley Avenues, this city, by the owner, Ed Grogger. The cost of the improvement will be approximately $60,000.

“The remodeled structure will be of terra-cotta facing St. John Avenue on a 75-foot frontage, 125 feet deep. A balcony is to be built in to seat 600, which enlarges the capacity of the house from 1,100 to 1,800. A large and elaborately equipped stage is to be added. Construction work is to start immediately.

“The new building will transcribe a story of Oklahoma oil, according to the owners. Just lately their interests have brought in three producing wells in Wagner County, Okla., and all are big producers.

“Ed Grogger built the Belmont Theatre ten years ago and has been in the same location continuously since that date.”

I don’t seen any evidence of a “large and elaborately equipped stage” (there’s only a modest structure that looks almost like a lean-to) nor the high roof and emergency exits that a 600-seat balcony would require, so maybe Mr. Grogger’s Oklahoma oil wells didn’t produce as well as he had expected them to, and he couldn’t afford to carry out his ambitious expansion plans.

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