AKA: Roberts Orpheum Theater, Downtown, Saint Louis, MO; American Theatre, Downtown, Saint Louis, MO

Structure Type: built works - performing arts structures - theatres

Designers: Lansburgh, G. Albert, Architect (firm); Gustave Albert Lansburgh (architect)

Dates: constructed 1915-1916

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416 North 9th Street
Downtown, Saint Louis, CA 63101

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San Francisco-based architect G. Albert Lansburgh designed at least six buildings for the Orpheum Theatre chain during the 1907-1916 period. This was the last large cinema designed for Morris Meyerfeld Jr.'s circuit in 1915-1916.

Building History

The Orpheum Theatre opened its Saint Louis, MO, vaudeville outlet on 09/03/1917, Labor Day. The theatre cost approximately $500,000 to build, and was one of the last large movie palaces built by the Orpheum chain. By about 1920, the company had built approximately 45 theatres in 36 cities most erected west of the Mississippi. Only a handful of these theatres were designed by G. Albert Lansburgh (1876-1969).

The Architect and Engineer in its issue of 04/1915, said of this Saint Louis Orpheum design: "Architect G.A. Lansburgh, Gunst building, San Francisco, has been commissioned to prepare plans for a new Orpheum Theatre building at St. Louis, Missouri. The working plans have just been started. Construction will be Class 'A,' with steel frame, concrete walls, and exterior of pressed brick and terra cotta. The building will seat about 2,200 persons, and will cost upwards of $400,000. Mr. Lansburgh recently completed an Orpheum Theatre at Kansas City, Mo." (See "G.A. Lansburgh to Design Theatre," Architect and Engineer, vol. XLI, no. 1, 04/1915, p. 105.)

Building Notes

Theatre historian David Naylor, in his American Picture Palaces The Architecture of Fantasy, (New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, 1981, p. 216), noted that the Orpheum Theatre in Saint Louis, MO, seated 2,300.

National Register of Historic Places (Listed 1985-03-18): 85000617 NRHP Images (pdf) NHRP Registration Form (pdf)

PCAD id: 17212