Baden Theatre

8201 N. Broadway,
St. Louis, MO 63147

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Jake Bottero
Jake Bottero on July 29, 2022 at 8:42 pm

Building still there.

StillOkie on June 17, 2017 at 11:30 am

Same here Terryb the Theater was fun to go to with your friends. Only mine was the Sparta Theater (Sparta, IL) when I was kid. Concessions were inside and my mom when she was a teenager worked the counter there. I lived in Baden during 1987, though I never went to see a movie anywhere while there. Baden was a nice community to live and I worked right down the road on jus two blocks north of Broadway at General Envelope & Lithography. I was jus revisiting my old neighborhood on Google Maps. On street view level I see “blight” has begun to overtake the area now. That’s so sad. Now a mult-level Bus Stop where the waving Santa stood out front of the Dollar Store back then. Lived in a 2-story converted carriage house that sits in back of a 3-story house on McLaran Ave. in back abutting the alley that connected to Gimblin St. was up the hill there. It was a neat place to live while there. I could step out my back door since I had the first floor apartment and into the alley and look over downtown Baden from my view. The strip mall was in view from my vantage point there, as well as Vihn Chop Suey. Happy to see that’s still there! Sandlewood Apartments parking lot also abutted the alley there on the south. I remember a bar called “Stooges” down the hill on Broadway there(referencing the Three Stooges).

Terryb on March 8, 2017 at 6:13 pm

My name is Terry Bartels. I was a customer of the Baden Theater in the late 40’s and early 50’s. I attended Baden grade school during this period, and thus the Theater was in my neighborhood. The theater was very busy on the weekends. You had to stand in line to buy a ticket, and the line sometimes stretched for several blocks. My first visit cost 20 cents—10 cents for admission to the show, and 10 cents for refreshments (5 cents for a small bag of popcorn and 5 cents for a small paper cup of soda.) The refreshments were sold by the Sugar Bowl, a restaurant attached to the theater by a common wall—there was a window in the wall which allowed you to be in the theater, and place your order for refreshments to the Sugar Bowl staff. Popular movies included the Bowery Boys, The Three Stooges, And Abbott and Costello. Usually cartoons and a serial were also offered. I can’t begin to tell you how much fun it was to go to the Baden Show with my friends. It was a long time ago for me, but I will never forget the experience.

jgrebe on October 22, 2016 at 4:36 pm

A friend of mine from SLTOS , Wes Kamischkie, had told me before he died that adjacent to the right of the Baden was a place called the “Sugar Bowl” There was a window higher than normal into the theatre that patrons could buy their snacks for the movies. According to Wes, the theatre had no concession stand itself during the 1940’s when the ladies got free dishware for attending. In 1992, I was called to tune a piano in the place for a function of the Baden Town Hall. I gained access to the building from what would have been the front left exit door. When you go in that way to the immediate left which would have been the stage area behind the screen there is about 2 to 3 steps and that is where the owners office was. A Mr. Carpenter owned the building then and had owned it for about 25 years he said. Before WWII he sold popcorn at the theatre. He said when he bought the Baden he also had opportunity to buy the Kingsland also for $5,000. At that time, he and one of the Kaimann brothers had planned to build the North Drive In on land they had purchased. Before that happened the one brother died and the rest of the Kaimann family decided to build the drive in themselves. When Carpenter bought the Baden about 25 years ago he remodeled it. He simply gutted the interior and what would have been the entrance and vestibule is now a kitchen and bathrooms on either side. There is no evidence of a projection booth since there is now a dropped ceiling over the whole interior. Carpenter seemed to be a very crass person and he said the main reason most small theatre owners are un co operative is because most of them lost their shirts trying to operate in the green. Back then the only way operators could make money was to rent the films for one price for an extended period of time and for the owner to have close co operation with other small theatres and trade them amongst themselves. Carpenter said he traded with the O'Fallon and the Janet and would transport the films themselves. So competitors found a way to co operate together in spit of their rivalry to survive. There is no record of what would have provided music for the silents before sound movies.

jaccaj on September 30, 2014 at 11:15 am


jaccaj on September 30, 2014 at 11:07 am

Baden theater seats were given to the Boy Scouts and theater became a funeral home my understanding

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 30, 2014 at 10:05 am

The Internet provides quite a few references to Theodore Steinmeyer, architect of the Baden Theatre, but every other project mentioned is a church. In Google street view, the Baden Theatre building shows a sign that says “St. Louis Worship Center & Banquet Hall.” It must have been preordained.

jaccaj on September 30, 2014 at 9:40 am

We were at the theater on 4th weekend of the month account we were in the German St Vincent orphanage association on Normandy missouri.

jaccaj on September 30, 2014 at 9:28 am

I could be wrong about the Bowmans ownership. But my dad did worked there as an usher I helped him with my 4 other brothers and two sisters. Cleaning the theater up .

jaccaj on September 30, 2014 at 9:10 am

The was last owner was the Bowmans sisters I believe they own 5 theaters along with north drive-in theater . One other theater was the Bremen Theater

jaccaj on September 30, 2014 at 9:07 am

My dad worked there from 1960 to 1965 .Alois George spies Along with a man call Clifford. Ushers

evian257 on September 17, 2013 at 10:29 am

Steve Kaimann was my great-grandfather. The company was Kaimann Amusement Co. At least two of his sons were in the business with him. His son William (my grandfather) ran the Bremen; another son, Clarence (my great-uncle) ran the Bridge, and also owned the North Twin Drive-In, as well as the property where Christian Hospital NE now sits.

Noir on September 15, 2013 at 4:31 pm

We saw the building but it was already closed(1965) by the time I saw it 1960’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s…No theatre.

Baden always felt like it’s own little town. Other buildings around it continued for awhile. Arlens department store was there into the later 1970’s—I went to the closing sale. School uniforms and other little stores were there for a while. A few re-sale shops and antique stores were there for decades. Bars were still there. Sterling Grocery store was there for a time. The Hostess bakery outlet was well known on Broadway. The neighborhood was 92%-95% African-American for many decades. Plus people who lived in Walnut Park and Mark Twain neighborhoods made the journey through Calvery and Bella Fountaine cemetaries to reach Baden.

Almost all businesses on the far remote edges of North St. Louis pulled some old sustaining business from the more well-to-do prior residents who fled to the county. This sustained them, briefly. Ultimately, centers for the purchase of goods or entertainment pressed farther out. Income is very low and although there may have been over 100,000 at times in that zone, no theatres existed in that half of the city limits.

Baden is not far from the North Twin drive-in. North Twin was the ultimate surviver in this area staying open till 2001 that was in Jennings, North St. Louis County. I loved it. It is probably the closest shared experience of theatre to children who lived in a 95%-99% African-American ethnic North St. Louis City and counties and the prior Caucasian residents of North St. Louis who left North St. Louis closing down the theatres in 1950’s to 1960’s. Why? It is one of the few that stayed open that was in range.

Typically if you lived in North St. Louis City even as a child in the last half century you do not remember a theatre that closed 48 years ago. I do remember the building. Baden was always nice.

JAlex on October 4, 2012 at 8:27 am

I mispoke when giving an opening year of 1916…it should have been 1926. Trade papers noted the construction contract in November 1925.

The other hardtop in the area was the Hoffman/Baden Family at 8237 N. Broadway which was listed in the 1911 City Directory.

Indeed, the Baden at 8201 replaced an airdome which had opened in 1921.

As well, there had been an earlier airdome at 8414 N. Broadway which had opened in 1915.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 3, 2012 at 10:11 pm

There might have been two houses called the Baden Theatre. The September 19. 1925, issue of The Reel Journal had an item about a proposed theater on North Broadway in St. Louis:

“Steve Kaiman, owner of the O'Fallon and Baden theatres in North St. Louis plans to build a new theatre at 8200 North Broadway, a block from the Baden. The new house will cost about $75,000 and seat 800 persons. The plans call for a two-story building, 60 by 130 feet. Contractors will be asked to submit bids on the construction work this week. Theodore Steinmeyer, International Life building, is the architect.”
Darren Snow’s CinemaTour page about the Baden Theatre says that the house opened in 1927, and was built on the site of a theater called the Baden Airdome, which had been in operation at 8201 Broadway since at least 1920. The magazine article gives the address of the proposed house as 8200 Broadway, which would be across the street from the actual location of the Baden, but that might have simply been an error.

Also interesting is the statement that the new theater’s site was “…a block from the Baden.” Perhaps that house a block away was the theater that opened in 1916, or perhaps it was the Airdome that opened in 1916. Either way, it seems likely that the existing Baden Theatre building was built in the mid-1920s, not 1916, though judging from the architectural style it could have been built in either year.

JAlex on September 26, 2007 at 11:18 am

Theatre operated from 1916 to 1965. Seating capacity of 939.