LaPlaza Theatre

504 Central Avenue,
St. Petersburg, FL 33701

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rivest266 on October 8, 2017 at 7:44 am

This opened on March 10th, 1913.

Found on

P. K. "Budd" Ballard
P. K. "Budd" Ballard on November 21, 2016 at 2:03 pm

When I moved to St. Petersburg in 1953, the LA PLAZA THEATRE was closed but still standing. I have been through the entire building. The theatre was entered from Central Avenue between the two buildings with the red roofs and you entered the theatre from its side. As you look at the post card, the large building in the background is the actual theatre with the screen and fly loft being the higher portion of the building to the right of the photo. It was built by Mr. Gandy, the same person that the Gandy bridge was named for. Mr. Gandy wished to bring operas and ballet to the city. Before the theatre opened it was called GANDY’S FOLLY because the local residents said that no opera or ballet company would ever come to St. Petersburg. Well, they were wrong and, Yes, it was a large theatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 27, 2010 at 2:26 am

The rear portion of La Plaza Theatre was demolished in 1957. The front portion (which must have been the arcade leading to the theater) had been demolished in 1955, and the entire complex had been condemned in 1953, according to this article in the St. Petersburg Times of April 9, 1957.

This 1913 article about amusements available in St. Petersburg says that construction of La Plaza had begun in May, 1912, and the 1,800-seat theater had opened in March, 1913, with a series of three operas presented by the Royal Italian Grand Opera company. The article also mentions that there were three movie houses then operating in St. Petersburg: the Rex, the Star, and the Royal Palms.

bhorn2 on July 21, 2009 at 11:08 am

And here is one more article – definitively states that the theater had a seating capacity of 1800 people…

View link

bhorn2 on July 21, 2009 at 11:06 am

It was, indeed, “La Plaza” – long gone now. Here’s a link to a 1948 article about it:

View link

RubyTrio on June 11, 2009 at 2:03 pm

I had two great aunts who were in vaudeville and played the Plaza in November of 1926. It was part of the Keith circuit of vaudeville.

boilerbob7 on December 25, 2007 at 11:21 am

I often went there in the early 50s. It had kids matinees for 9 cents. We became friends with the projectionist and we were able to get in when the first holocaust movies were shown, limited to adults only. I was 7 or 8 at the time. I also remember a friend winning a bicycle by getting popcorn boxtops from the customers.

rocsal on October 2, 2005 at 5:30 am

I don’t know the exact size of the Plaza but it was over 2000 seats. In the photo the street going to the right is central ave, while the one going to the left is fifth street. I believe the theater was entered through the arcade on central ave. The central ave part of the theater ( arcade) is now a parking lot and where the auditorium was is the current location of the Holocast museum. The auditorium was located across the theater from the Florida theater.
Until the 1960’s it was not uncommon in the south to have “colored balconies”, especially in small towns that only had one or two theaters

drumrboy36 on August 23, 2005 at 1:51 am

I went to the City of St Petersburg Web site and looked at the City Maps……it appears 504 Central Ave is now a parking lot.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on August 22, 2005 at 3:04 pm

I notice on the postcard photo it is The Plaza, not La Plaza. It does certainly look like a large theatre. Maybe La Plaza (or LaPlaza is it is spelt in the 1941 Film Daily Yearbook) was a small theatre attached to the larger Plaza Theatre that was no longer there from 1941 onwards. Just a thought.

We need someone local with first hand knowledge to help solve this one. What is currently located on the 504 Central Avenue address?

drumrboy36 on August 22, 2005 at 8:36 am

Here is a link to a post-card photo:
It appears to be a larger theatre.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on August 22, 2005 at 7:54 am

Listed as the LaPlaza Theatre in Film Daily Yearbook;1941 and La Plaza Theatre 1943 editions as having a seating capacity of 375 in both editions. It was operated by Paramount Pictures Inc. through their subsidiary E.J. Sparks.

In the 1950 edition of F.D.Y. the La Plaza Theatre, 504 Central Avenue, St. Petersburg, FL has a seating capacity listed as 2,390! Surely a mis-print here and it must be 390?