Lafayette Theatre

1643 S. Jefferson Avenue,
St. Louis, MO 63104

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Arthur Enterprises Inc.

Architects: Gustav P. Wuest

Nearby Theaters

Lafayette Theatre

Another neighborhood theatre built in 1909. Located on S. Jefferson Avenue at Lafayette Avenue in the Lafayette Park district. The uniqueness about the Lafayette Theatre was the front of the theatre. The entire front of the theatre was lined with beautiful black marble.

It had a rather ornate lobby even though it was a small one with two small crystal chandeliers in the lobby. The Lafayette Theatre had a small balcony, seating a little over 100 with the bulk of the seating on the main level. If you were handicapped, this theatre would have been a problem, as the restrooms were on the balcony level.

The Lafayette Theatre closed in 1957 and was demolished to make way for a National supermarket.

Contributed by Charles Van Bibber

Recent comments (view all 4 comments)

RetroMike on May 6, 2011 at 10:27 pm

Theatre opened in 1910 and per St. Louis Globe Democrat article from January of 1910 the architect was Gustav P. Wuest.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 7, 2011 at 5:48 pm

I wonder if the name “Stueal” on the 1909 building permit for this theater was actually “Wuest” written by someone with a sloppy hand? Stueal might be a real surname, although’s immigration records find only one person of that name. The form on which it was found could have been a bureaucratic error, of course. I can’t find any other references on the Internet to anyone named Stueal, except in results from Cinema Treasures.

I’ve found several references to Gustav P. Wuest, though, in publications from the 1910s as well as in a couple of documents prepared for nominations of buildings to the National Register of Historic Places.

RetroMike on June 9, 2011 at 11:06 am

Here is a link to my blog about St.Louis area movie theater history. The article can be found on the St.Louis theater tab and you can click on the article to enlarge.

Per that article, some of the information on this site can be updated. Seating capacity was 850 (which included 100 in the balcony). The building was erected by Independent Amusement Company and it was the first theater built especially for motion pictures and light vaudeville in St.Louis opening in 1910. Also was the first theater built in St.Louis primarily for motion pictures.

Joe, I agree with your “hunch” about the sloppy handwriting. The “W” might have looked like an “S” and “t” and the “T” at the end of Wuest might have looked more like an “a” and “l”.

Plus the article that I linked up above clearly states that the architect was Gustav P. Wuest and so the other name should be omitted.

Norman Plant
Norman Plant on September 12, 2013 at 9:04 am

RetroMike, the picture of the Lafayette on your blog that I uploaded here was one I took in the early 70’s and not the 60’s. It was not long after (maybe a year) that it was torn down for a National Food Store.

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