“The time was 6:30 p.m., June 25, 1927. St. Joseph, Missouri citizens-factory workers, packing plant employees, professionals-arrived in Model T Fords, Stanley Steamers, Pierce Arrows or hurried on foot up the sidewalk to the seventh block of Edmond Street for the gala opening of the city’s $1 million, 1,200-seat “Movie Palace.” The air was electric with excitement…”
Nearly 75 years has passed since the historic Missouri Theater lifted the curtain on its premier movie, “Rough House Rosie.” Citizens from every walk of life lined Edmond Street to see one of the city’s most glorious pieces of architecture.
After paying their 25 cents admission, guests were astounded at the theater’s intricate beauty. The silent film showing that evening must have paled in comparison to the theater’s plush seats, ornate chandelier and exquisite plaster work. Though silent films are long past for the theater, this sense of awe returns each time a local theater group, national performer or arts program takes its stage.
Designed by Boller Brothers, the Missouri Theater’s unique structure was added to the national Register of Historic Places in 1979. While movie palaces across the country were being torn down to make room for contemporary structures, the citizens of St. Joseph refused to allow destruction of one of the country’s few examples of Hollywood-Oriental style.
Thanks to the St. Joseph community, once again the Missouri Theater proudly lifts its curtain and celebrates its 75th year as the center of our diverse arts community.
Missouri Theatre | 717 Edmond Street