Roosevelt Theatre

810 N. Leffingwell Street,
St. Louis, MO 63103

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Additional Info

Styles: Art Deco

Nearby Theaters

Roosevelt Theatre

The Roosevelt Theatre was one of about six neighborhood theatres built for African-American clientele. The theatre opened in 1927 seating 591. A single floor theatre, located in the middle of the block just a half block from busy Franklin Avenue and three blocks from the neighboring Criterion Theatre. The Roosevelt Theatre outlasted the Criterion Theatre by many years.

The front of the theatre was a simple block front with a cream and orange mix in color with a large marquee lined with tons of neon. The theatre closed in 1966 when the neighborhood was slated for redevelopment. It remained a busy theatre until the day it was closed. Admission prices remained the mainstay until the theatre closed. When it closed adults were 75 cents and children were 25 cents.

Contributed by Charles Van Bibber

Recent comments (view all 3 comments)

JAlex on August 28, 2007 at 10:05 pm

Theatre operated from 1923 to 1966.

Original seating capacity was 646.

Noir on September 28, 2013 at 3:12 pm

What happend to the Pendleton theater, maybe 4264 Finney or 4298 finney?

Douglas, Roosevelt, Critereon, Comet,
Star, Laclede
Bonanza, Auburt, Queens,

Art Theatre/Screening room North Comptan and Olive-seemed to endure because it was 4 blocks south of the starting psuedo Color Line—-Washington Street across the whole length east to West of the City and it was 7 blocks south the the Delmar Color line. It was north of and close to the Stowe—segregated St. Louis black teachers school. Plus it was near St. Louis University

The top were segregated theatres—began that way. Were there only six or many more?

Segregated black theatre in Laclede’s Landing where blacks owned businesses down on the Levee—-after the great fire that gutted the riverfront and part of downtown?

Any additions to:
Chestnut valley?
Mill Creek valley?

How many became theatres de-facto segregated due to who came to the theatre later via closing down of these neighborhood reservation ghettoes and forced push of—-blacks elsewhere. Meaning few to no Caucasian people would come to that neighvorhood or come to that theatre or sit with descendents of slavery. When these theatres did not close on their own city hall had——a “redevelopment” plan to shut them down.

Roosevelt, Criterion and other theaters may be in this group.

What was the tipping point? 10%, 15% or 20%—-for all the other theatre’s whose customer base shifted?

These are entire areas, almost half the City of St. Louis where——the Caucasian population fled and extreme majority has not lived in, invested in, spent much time or stayed til dark and slept overnight in, for 50 to 60 years.

It is easy to make mistakes when people may not have been to that theatre or lived in that areas for——half a century.

Vacant lots and crumbling theatres have a story to tell.


zotos123 on April 9, 2018 at 10:30 pm

The Roosevelt Theatre was owned by my grandfather Chris Zotos and father, William Zotos. Together they formed an awesome team through their diligence and hard work, providing great joy to the community in which they served. As Greek immigrants, they understood the community and had a very special relationship with all they encountered. Some very special members of the Saint Louis Community who were their friends, were Chuck Berry and Tina Turner. My father often relayed stories to me on how Tina would ask him if she could perform on stage after a movie showing. He also said Chuck Berry would perform on stage.

   William and his father worked hard at the theatre but they always said they got great pleasure from all the smiles of the patrons after showings of such great classics as "Wizard of Oz", "King Kong", "Tarzan", "Gone With the Wind" and so much more.    I felt growing up that my father had a sense of a lonely heart when he had to embark on other ventures following the closing of the Roosevelt in 1966.    He went onto other entrepreneurial endeavors afterwards, primarily in the restaurant arena.   However, i know deep down, the Roosevelt was his most revered project, it was his pride, his passion. 

Elaine Zotos Charles Allgood,
Daughter of William Zotos

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