Marquette Theatre

1806 Dr Martin Luther King Drive,
St. Louis, MO 63106

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A neighborhood theatre just northwest of downtown that originally served the Irish/Italian neighborhood to the north of downtown. The Marquette Theatre opened in 1913.

The Marquette Theatre became an African-American theatre in 1943. The theatre went to weekends only in the mid-1950’s and closed in 1961 when the area was mainly demolished to make way for an industrial park.

Contributed by Charles Van Bibber

Recent comments (view all 3 comments)

JAlex on September 26, 2007 at 11:29 am

Theatre opened in 1913 and closed in 1961 after various periods of inactivity.

Began catering to the Black audience in 1943.

In the 20s had a capacity of 795.

Noir on September 28, 2013 at 3:29 pm

Like many things in these black communities, the general society———decided to force the closing of many theatres. Neighborhoods that use to be Irish and Italian had become black. Spreading out of Laclede’s Landing, to Chestnut Valley to Mill Creek and to The Ville and then farther north——-similar to how Native Americans were pushed west.

Seen by many as a consequence of WWII civil rights gains in war factories for blacks, black population increase to fill these factories, being present after the war and a building civil rights movement—————-had a back lash—-to clear them out.

A Caucasian theatre for 30 years, turned to defacto segregated theatre—few caucasian people would go there in 1943 and survived 18 years—-til the general society killed it.

It is very close to Dr. Martin Luther King Blvd.

Vast areas of the City of St. Louis are desolate, ghost town, “redeveloped” areas, that carved away the black population—-in an attempt to build a buffer zone——-separation space—-segregation space——black to white——East to West and to preserve downtown St. Louis and its 4 million annual visitors.

Theatres and many business' were shuttered.

The local black theatre going population was not allowed to preserve them—due to emminent domain.

SethG on April 15, 2016 at 12:45 pm

Probably should be demolished. Google can’t find an 1806 Franklin. Well, it says it can, but it drops the marker in the 2800 block. Streets weren’t renumbered, the St. Louis Plating building in the current streetview has a very faded ‘2920’ painted next to the door. Maybe MLK used to be Franklin? In that case, the 1800 block features a huge old school and some big ugly industrial thing.

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