6461 Gravois Avenue,
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Previously operated by: Arthur Enterprises Inc.
Firms: Wedemeyer & Nelson
Opened October 22, 1924 for the Freund Brothers chain, the Kingsland Theatre was run as a movie house for thirty years. In 1964, the local Arthur chain sold the theatre to Herschel Lester, who ran it as Lester’s Old Fashioned Gospel Singing, bringing monthly revivals to the South Side.
After thirty years without regular film showings, the Kingsland Theatre bounced back in March of 1984 with “Sudden Impact”. The new owner, Herman Carnell, installed a new roof, foyer, sidewalks, wallcoverings and guttering. He also converted the small balcony into a second screening room with a capacity of 90; there were over 700 sets on the first floor.
Carnell programmed plenty of family friendly fare to maximize potential attendance, but too often the neighborhood kids would arrive unsupervised and wreak havoc. When a developer showed interest in the property in 1997, Carnell sold the building and it was demolished to make way for an Aldi supermarket.
Carnell then poured the funds from the Kingsland Theatre into another property, the abandoned Wehrenberg Melba Theatre in nearby DeSoto, Mo. The Melba Theatre is still operating today.
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