Melvin Theatre

2912 Chippewa Street,
St. Louis, MO 63118

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Additional Info

Architects: Theodore Degenhardt

Functions: Church

Nearby Theaters

Melvin theatre.

The Melvin Theatre opened in 1914 and seated 481. It opened as an indepedent theatre and remained that way until its closing in the 1980’s. It only had two owners. One of the more successful of the neighborhood theatres located in the Dutch Town area of south St. Louis. Just a block away from the Yale Theatre on Minnesota and within walking distance from the much larger Melba Theatre on South Grand. Even until its closing in 1979 the box office was in the inside lobby and the tickets were on large rolls hung above the cashier. The marquee had no current attraction lettering on it it just simply said Melvin Theatre on all three sides.

The auditorium had two aisles with the larger seating section running down the middle and about four seats on the side aisles. The rest rooms were located on the second floor above the lobby of the theatre.

Bill Miller bought the theatre in 1972 and it was gutted and remodeled, replacing the screen, the sound system, the seats and a new concession stand but kept that old box office with the rolls of tickets.

The Hope Community Workshop Center owns the building, and as well as use as a church, regular concerts of live Christian music were held. The building is in great shape, the facade is restored and still has the marquee, recently painted.

Contributed by Charles Van Bibber

Recent comments (view all 29 comments)

Zorronov on March 10, 2012 at 7:55 pm

I recently watched the Disney remake of Mighty Joe Young. I saw the original at the Melvin Theater back in the 1950’s. Back then, the Melvin was showing double features of older movies. My great aunt used to take my sister and me there when she was “babysitting”. It’s a cherished memory.

Weekend on March 11, 2014 at 11:31 pm

Kyle : where in So Cal?

davidgodbout on July 28, 2014 at 12:54 pm

Bill (and anyone else),

I am a part of a group that has recently taken responsibility for the development and use of The Melvin Theater building.

Our preliminary plans are to utilize the building as a community based and resourced center, including auditorium space, classroom space and possible business incubation space.

I would love to connect with anyone who has historical information or experience with the building.

davidgodbout on July 28, 2014 at 12:55 pm

I can be reached at also

BMiller on September 24, 2014 at 12:01 pm

Hi David, I haven’t seen the theatre in over 35 years. we were family owned and operated from 1972 – 1978. What would you like to know?

BMiller on September 24, 2014 at 12:02 pm

I can be reached at

Timothy L Mayer
Timothy L Mayer on September 7, 2015 at 10:53 am

I recall going to see NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET on a double bill with NIGHT OF THE COMET when I moved to St.Louis in 1984. It was super cold outside and I kept looking up to the roof thinking the tile was going to fall down on me. But I enjoyed the show and thought about this theater when I heard the director of NIGHTMARE had passed away.

SethG on April 16, 2016 at 4:26 pm

Theater should be listed as closed. Black garbage bags covering the doors, so I couldn’t see in. Still in fantastic shape. I don’t know why anyone thought the sign was freshly painted. Thankfully, it’s been untouched since it was installed.

Drive-In 54
Drive-In 54 on May 5, 2016 at 12:49 pm

It is for sale now…

Eugene Higgins
Eugene Higgins on March 3, 2018 at 3:43 am

My family and I used to go to the Melvin Theater every Sunday. They used to have 2 for $1.00 movies there in the early 1980s. The women’s restroom was down stairs and the men’s was upstairs next to the projector room. We went there for years and it has an essential part of my childhood memories. I would love to own the building and bring back the movies as it used to be.

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