Shenandoah Theatre

2300 S. Grand Avenue,
St. Louis, MO 63118

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Arthur Enterprises Inc., Komm Theaters

Architects: Leo F. Abrams, F.A. Duggan

Previous Names: New Shenandoah Theatre

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Shenandoah Theatre

The Shenandoah Theatre opened in 1912 as a legitimate theatre on S. Grand Avenue. By 1916, it was showing movies along with vaudeville.

The Shenandoah Theatre was designed by architect F.A. Duggan. Its ornate exterior was eye-catching and the crystal chandeliers reflected brightly in the lobby.

The theatre went to motion pictures later and did very successful runs following move overs from the Fox Theatre and St. Louis Theatre on N. Grand Avenue in the Theatre District.

In 1941, the Shenandoah Theatre was remodeled in Art Moderne style by architect Leo F. Abrams with a wider screen added and was renamed New Shenandoah Theatre. It housed 703 seats on the main floor and 369 seats in the balcony.

As time passed, so did the clientele, and the neighborhood changed. Later went in the double bills and first run B-movies. As the suburban multiplexes came about and population moved to the suburbs the Shenandoah Thearre went into a triple feature program with a dollar admission.

This was originally a bright light on the S. Grand Avenue shopping district but like any light bulb it gradually burns out. The theatre was closed in 1977.

It has been demolished and a parking lot is on the site now.

Contributed by Charles Van Bibber

Recent comments (view all 4 comments)

JAlex on July 9, 2004 at 9:22 am

Theatre opened in 1912 as a legitimate house. Architect was F.A.Duggan. Once affiliated with the Park Theatre on Delmar.

By 1916 films were being shown at the Shenandoah, sometimes with vaudeville added to the mix.

In 1941 the theatre was completely remodeled, a design it sported until closure in 1977. Architect for the redo was Leo F. Abrams.

Kerry Manderbach
Kerry Manderbach on February 18, 2008 at 1:11 am

Lots of great Kung-Fu films were shown there in the mid-late 70s, I still have one of the newspaper ads I saved from ‘77 with a roster of “Return of the Dragon”, “Karado” and “Deadly China Doll”. After it closed we still had the ratty Ritz up the street to see the best of Hong Kong cinema…

JAlex on December 17, 2009 at 2:59 am

One of the many theatres built and initially operated by O. T. Crawford. The Shenandoah opened May 4, 1912 with a policy of vaudeville, musical comedy and movies.

swtaysun on March 1, 2010 at 7:50 pm

The late 1960’s-early 1970’s era of the Shenandoah was a second-run paradise for kids with re-releases of “Swiss Family Robinson”, “The Parent Trap” and new fare such as “The Aristocats”. It was a magical place because when the lights went down there it was Very dark and the side lights were orange and blue neon. By that time the balcony was closed off so that was a mysterious place. And up front it was clear there was a stage along with the huge screen. One could wonder what performances Might pop out between the double features…but never did.

To drive by the sleepy parking lot where the Shenandoah once stood one might never know how much fun the local theatre there once provided. I recall a packed house for “The Trouble with Angels” in 1967 with kids, adults and everyone else from the neighborhood.

The specialty films that took over the Shenandoah in the mid-1970’s arrived as the once busy South Grand shopping areas that culminated in the big Sears store just past Grand and Gravois disappeared as the malls in the suburbs took the business and ended the long run of the Shenandoah, the bright light just off the Shaw neighborhood.

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