Tower Theatre

2138 E. Grand Avenue,
St. Louis, MO 63112

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Arthur Enterprises Inc.

Architects: Leo F. Abrams

Firms: Kennerly & Steigemeyer

Styles: Art Deco

Previous Names: Florissant Theatre, Grand Florissant Theatre

Nearby Theaters

Tower Theatre

The Tower Theatre opened in 1927 as the 1,850-seat Florissant Theatre. It was built and operated by Fanchon & Marco Theatres which later became St. Louis Amusement/Arthur Enterprises Inc. It was known as the Grand Florissant Theatre in 1932. It was located just a block south of the N. Grand Avenue water tower, thus the name change to Tower Theatre came about when the theatre was remodelled in 1947 in an Art Deco style to the plans of architect Leo F. Abrams. One of the larger neighborhood theatres, it seated 1,022. The balcony seated 402 and the main floor seated seated 620.

The theatre was at the wedge of E. Grand Avenue and N. Florissant Avenue and the box office faced on an angle at the intersection. During the early to mid-1960’s, the theatre held battle of the bands on Friday evening prior to the starting of the show. The teenagers would go down in front of the stage and dance to the bands as they played and then before they started the movie they would vote as to which band was the best.

Arthur Enterprises Inc. let the theatre run down and did not maintain it very well. The Tower Theatre closed in 1970. When the theatre was demolished in 1972, it took two large cranes to dismantle the steel beams that held the theatre and its balcony.

Contributed by Charles Van Bibber

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

JAlex on October 18, 2004 at 7:48 am

Theatre designed by Kennerly and Stiegemeyer, a firm which designed a good number of St. Louis nabes.

Opening day was Sept. 1, 1919 (Labor Day) under the management of Wm. Goldman. Theatre opened as the GRAND-FLORISSANT.

As a good number of St. Louis nabes, house was taken over by Famous Players-Missouri in 1920, then City Wide Amusement, and in 1921 St. Louis Amusement.

Seating capacity listed in many sources as 1850, possibly the largest nabe in St. Louis.

Theatre renamed the FLORISSANT in 1930.

In 1946 house was remodeled and reopened as the TOWER.

Norman Plant
Norman Plant on January 9, 2006 at 2:28 pm

Chuck, the link above doesn’t work any longer and I would love to see the picture of the Tower. Please contact me if you can send it.

JAlex on August 18, 2007 at 9:01 am

Tower closed June 12, 1969. Arthur Enterprises ad the following day said theatre had been sold for a new commerical development. To this day, site remains a vacant lot.

Kerry Manderbach
Kerry Manderbach on February 17, 2008 at 10:59 pm

Well, the site wasn’t exactly a vacant lot after the demolition…

I saw a horror movie there as a child around 1965…it was a sort of consolation prize because my mother couldn’t afford to let me go to Chain of Rocks Fun Fair for my school picnic. I think it was the only time I was in that theater.

A Jack-In-The-Box restraunt was later built there. I had a girlfriend that worked there circa 1978. The building later became a Dairy Queen, and another girlfriend worked there circa 1987. Sometime in the 1990s the spot did indeed become a vacant lot.

TLSLOEWS on March 2, 2010 at 2:09 pm

Too bad no photos.

JBeatty4 on June 17, 2016 at 5:14 pm

Do you remember when Frankie Avalon, John Asher and Debbie Wallace, came to the Tower and signed autograph, for one of their movies, I think it was the one about the sky diving!

JJernigan51 on May 8, 2019 at 1:20 pm

Memories! I must have seen 100 films at the Tower, from 1961-67, including The TAMI Show & It’s a Mad Mad Mad World and others too numerous to mention. All my friends from Eliot & Holy Name schools met there every Friday nights. Afterwards, we’d walk down to the Velvet Freeze for ice cream. I can close my eyes and still see the concession stand. ..loved their popcorn. Man, what fun we had!!!!

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