Granada Theater

4519 Gravois Avenue,
St. Louis, MO 63116

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Granada Theater

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The Granada Theatre opened on October 1, 1927. It was a neighborhood theater located in the Bevo area of St. Louis. The theater was designed in the Spanish Baroque style and featured a beautiful overhanging balcony.

It originally seated 1,585 combined on the main level and balcony. Much of its decor was considered too ornate for just a neighborhood theater.

It was a flagship theater for the Arthur Brothers/St. Louis Amusement Co. Chain. It mostly ran first run movies until the demise of the Arthur Theatre Chain.

Located in a densely populated neighborhood, locals were faithful to the theater until it closed. Part of the roof and back wall over the stage gave way over night during a storm and the cost of repairs was too high so the theater was razed in December 1992 despite efforts to save it.

Contributed by CharlesVanBibber, Norman Plant

Recent comments (view all 23 comments)

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on November 21, 2008 at 5:53 pm

Here is part of a December 1992 article from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

The scheduled coming feature attraction at the condemned Granada Theater building this week might be called “Coming Down.” That’s because Don Bellon, owner of Bellon Wrecking and Salvage Co., which has the contract to raze the long-vacant building at 4519 Gravois Avenue, said last week that demolition of the landmark could begin as early as this week. By mid-week, workers were removing the building’s ornate trim.

Bellon was issued a permit late last week to raze the theater building. He also has clearance from the air pollution control office of the city’s building division. That permit was needed because of asbestos in the building.

The building’s owner, Mark Wenner, a lawyer who lives in Ladue, is to appear today before City Judge Christopher Smith to report on the progress of razing the building, which was condemned in November 1991. Last September, Smith found Wenner guilty of eight of 13 violations cited in the condemnation order.

Alderman Jack Garvey, D-14th Ward, who has criticized the condition of the building, said, “It’s sad. There is a lot of memories and history there. But when you neglect a building like that, and it threatens safety, then you have to take it down. Buildings with a 15-foot hole in the roof are a problem.”

mike46
mike46 on March 28, 2009 at 5:39 pm

Back in the 50’s my neighbor on Alfred Ave. told me that when the Granada was being built, they had the front wall up (just the structural brick) and a windstorm came up one night and laid the wall all across Gravois Ave.

Giggleloop
Giggleloop on May 4, 2011 at 8:49 am

I have the vaguest memory of the Granada as a kid, I know that it’s where I saw my first movie (The Empire Strikes Back). I didn’t realize that it was torn down in the 90s, I had always heard that there was a fire there. I must have gotten it confused with something else!

Frank Scalf
Frank Scalf on August 13, 2011 at 6:30 am

I was born in St. Lou and grew up over by my grandparents house on Juniata St and Gustine Ave. I remember seeing Nightmare on Elmstreet w/my dad and uncle and sister and being scared to death walking home, because every alley we would pass by my uncle would yell “THERE’S FREDDY!!!!!” Also saw Airplane. Hated that the theater couldn’t be saved.

studio2
studio2 on December 29, 2011 at 11:34 am

I remember coming to the Granada to see Back to the Future and the film kept busting and they had to restart it. Also saw my first R rated film there as well Porky’s. My parents took me I think I was 9 years old. They must have thought it was about that Looney Tunes character.

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on July 22, 2012 at 5:19 am

Renovations described in the second page of this 1964 article shared with the Hi-Pointe: Boxoffice

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 3, 2013 at 8:30 pm

According to this item from the September 23, 1927, issue of The Film Daily, the Granada Theatre was built by the Skouras Borthers and Harry Koplar:

“New St. Louis House Named

“St. Louis — The Granada is the name selected for the theater at Gravois and Ellenwood Sts. which will be opened by the St. Louis Amusement Co. in a few weeks. The new house will seat about 2000 and will be among the largest of the outlying theaters operated by Skouras Bros, and Harry Koplar. It is planned to use this house for subsequent runs getting pictures immediately after the Missouri and Ambassador.”

Warner Bros. took over Skouras Brothers Enterprises in 1928. I don’t know when the Arthurs took over the Saint Louis Amusement Company.

nadadale
nadadale on November 17, 2013 at 5:41 pm

In a recent book, I read that Ginger Rogers lived above the Grenada in its early years, prior to teaming up with Fred Astaire. JDH

Stephenvb
Stephenvb on November 25, 2013 at 1:27 am

This is a dedication to our loving father whom was called home by out heavenly father on November 11, 2013.

Our great grandmother managed theatres in St. Louis so theatre was in dad’s blood. Then while in high school he was in the DECCA program his Junior and Senior years and went to school a half day and worked at the Loew’s State in Downtown St. Louis. Dad loved the movie theatres and started researching them early in his life. He was most fond of the Loew’s State. Mr. Bovin was the City Manager for Loew’s in St. Louis. The two built a special bind. Others there were Nick Manzella the manage and John Muich the assistant manager. Dad wanted to be a pilot above all things though. He did his college and then his flight school, met our mother in college. Through pulling some string by people that could dad was able to get a job with TWA. His life was happy, a beautiful career and a wonderful loving wife. They had three children, Stephen Philip, Christopher Charles and Zachary Benjamin. Mon developed cancer while carrying Zachary and passed away three months after Zachary was born. It was very difficult for all three of us boys but it was extremely hard on dad. He had to do local flights so that he could be home with us as much as possible. We must say we had the greatest dad the heavenly father could put on this earth. As we got older dad was able to work international flights. When we were not in school we would make as many trips with him as possible. Dad joined an online site called Cinema Treasures and it worked out great for him. When he had layovers in his destination cities he would research theatres. Dad joined Cinema Treasures not very long after it went live inline. He joined on October 6, 2003 and over the years has contributed more than 5,000 theatres, 14,000 comments and almost 4,000 photos to the site. Dad lived for his sons first, flying second and the theatres were his one and only hobby. He made some special friends on Cinema Treasures, Patsy from down south, Ken from New York,, Randy Carlisle the great photographer from Texas, Don Lewis from the Dallas Fort Worth area (Don is also a airline worker with Southwest) but they all are contributors to Cinema Treasures. There is also Ken Roe from the United Kingdom who was a wonderful friend to dad. Out Mom was born and raised in the UK. Being a pilot dad had his favorites to fly to. His number one spot was Hawaii. That is where mom and dad were buried. They are there is spirit and we well be able to feel that spirit when we go over there. Mom and Dad had their condo new Honolulu on the ocean and he spent the mainland cold months in HI. We have family and friends in St. Louis, Salt Lake City and of course Hawaii so we had to have services at all three places before dad was finally buried. Dad got me started on Cinema Treasure but I don’t know if I will ever be able to fill his shoes. But I will try. Mahalo to all those that have helped me so far, especially Joe Vogel and Ken. Ken I can’t count the times that when we were around dad and he would read your comments and just bust out laughing. You touched his heart in so many way. I know there are many others but those mentioned in this dedication are the one that dad talked about most of the time. His love through my spirit goes out to you all. You are all treasures in so many ways and thru a treasure that your friendships came to fruitation “Cinema Treasures” Mahalo to you all. Dad really fought a tough battle but his body was so weak from the first tumor that he didn’t have the physical strength to beat it this time. I tried to be there for him as much as possible and sometimes I felt like I wasn’t there enough. Being the firstborn there was a special bind between the two of us. I still feel the flow involuntarily when I go through his theatre research, when I see something that was special to him, his photos. Time will help I know. And since we were all sealed together in the Temple I know we will all be together again one day.

Well to all I say Mahalo and Aloha (An eternal Aloha to Patsy from dad)

Stephen Philip Van Bibber, Christopher Charles Van Bibber, Zachary Benjamin Van Bibber

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