Majestic Theatre

240 Collinsville Avenue,
East St. Louis, IL 62201

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Showing 1 - 25 of 51 comments

mistyc82 on October 10, 2013 at 11:16 pm

My grandparents met at this theater in the 40’s. When it closed they sold some things out of it. I own 1 of these pieces and I can see it in 1 of the photos. If anyone might know someone that would like to see it or knows anything about the history of this theater please contact me. thanks

Norman Plant
Norman Plant on March 23, 2013 at 7:43 am

msova, I totally agree. This theater will sit and crumble because the city can’t afford to raze it. Of all the places I’ve been taking pictures, this one was the one I was most concerned about my safety. I can’t see any hope for this one being restored or viable.

msova on March 22, 2013 at 9:35 pm

Sorry for all the iPos (iPhone typos) but u can figure out (got= for, if= of, etc)

msova on March 22, 2013 at 9:33 pm

Great comments all. And thanks to all who’ve taken pix inside this heap. It’s truly a shame. Those of us that live near estl can assure the rest of you that this theatre will never be restored. Estl is simply incable of not only doing the project, but of supporting such a venue. You would have to raze the entire downtown area, hell, the entire city, in order for a “theatre-going clientele” to feel safe enough to patronize it. I worked got a NY based company that restores historic theaters, state capitols, etc all over the country ( is worth perusing) do j hsvd an idea of what’s involved. The New Amsterdam they restored in NY was in BAD shape, but not nearly this bad. Plaster and paint are doable. This sort of structural decay is 99% a death sentence. It’s so sad. Maybe if it could be picked up on ond piece and moved to Dubai….

Matt Lambros
Matt Lambros on October 19, 2012 at 9:43 am

I recently photographed the Majestic Theatre. Check out the post at After the Final Curtain

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 30, 2012 at 2:33 pm

An ad for the American Seating Company in the October 6, 1928, issue of Motion Picture News featured a photo of the auditorium of Redmon’s Majestic Theatre.

ghamilton on October 14, 2010 at 6:13 pm

THIS theater’s demise is a crime.

RobertEndres on October 14, 2010 at 1:12 pm

Re: William’s note about the skylight on the 13th. They did put skylights over the stage in some houses. Radio City had three. They could be swung open if there was a fire on stage to ventilate the area and not fill the auditorium with smoke. When we did the “Lion King” premiere we had a Disney stage show which featured lots of pyrotechnic usage. The first rehearsal where the fireworks were used generated so much smoke that all of the elevators responded to a fire warning, went to the basement and stopped running until the smoke was cleared. Stagehands went up to the roof and opened the skylights. After that, for the rest of the run they were opened for the stage show. Since we were doing matinee performances, we could see a small patch of sunlight from the open skylights hitting the stage floor during the screening of the film. Every day it moved closer to the screen and we were wondering when it would actually get into the picture area. Fortunately, the run ended before that happened, but we were aware of the skylights after that.

I also remember working a Diana Ross concert one really stormy night when the stagehands had to go up and throw tarps over the skylights because the rain was coming down on stage about where Ms. Ross was to make her entrance.

The skylights did contain glass panels as normal skylights would, but the glass was painted black. Thinking about it now, I wonder if that wasn’t done so that a major fire involving the drops hung in the flies would generate enough heat to break the glass, creating a self opening skylight to ventilate the heat and smoke upward.

I would suspect what you saw at the Majestic was indeed a skylight over the stage house.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 13, 2010 at 10:20 pm

The stage house roof is intact on the bird’s-eye view of the theater at Bing Maps, too. In the bird’s-eye, the structure on the roof that resembles a skylight looks more like it might have been part of the building’s ventilation system. It looks like it is partly covered with sheet metal, but some of the metal is missing, exposing an underlying framework.

In the 2008 photo, note the shadows falling from the two beams that cross the missing stage floor. The one on the left extends almost straight down, while the one on the right is at more of an angle. These shadows are consistent with light falling from the left section of the stage house roof, where that skylight-like structure is.

From the bird’s-eye view it doesn’t look like there’s any glass in the structure where the light gets in. If that’s the case, then it doesn’t bode well for the building. If it’s entirely open, then water can get in. Maybe the hole has been plugged since the various photos were taken, but if it hasn’t, water will soon destroy the building’s integrity. The Majestic could soon be unsalvageable— if it isn’t already.

William on October 13, 2010 at 6:07 pm

If you go to ICB’s post from Apr. 30 2009, it has pictures of the interior which shows the light coming from that square on the stage house. I don’t think they would put a skylight above a stage. Was there a water tower on the stage house? It could be the old platform for it.

spectrum on October 12, 2010 at 7:40 pm

Very strange. I checked the Google Maps aerial photo of the Majestic. The roof looks intact over the entire building. There is what looks like a large skylight over the stage, and what might be a small hole above the projection booth area.

Don Lewis
Don Lewis on September 22, 2010 at 11:12 pm

From the early 1900s a postcard view of Redmon'sMajestic Theatre in East St. Louis.

DavidZornig on February 27, 2010 at 6:52 am

To Chuck1231, the link with the current pics (10/11/08) you mentioned is still up, and was/is posted above by supercharger96 on 10/21/08.

The dog skeleton has a pretty large skull. I wonder if it was originally a guard dog that was sadly just forgotten about.

JMSanders on September 10, 2009 at 4:17 pm

My parents and grandparents spent a lot of time in this theater. My Aunt actually worked there in the ticket booth, sometimes letting her husband to be in free. I’d love to share any vintage photos available with them if there are any around.

iancoulterbuford on April 30, 2009 at 2:49 am

I just emailed the mayor about this situation! I agree with all of you! This needs to happen for the sake of us, the youth!

I do have pictures of the Majestic now from 2008. It’s not in too bad of shape considering it has been sitting there for over forty years.

View link

bbrown1 on April 15, 2009 at 8:37 pm

For a brief history and some other interesting information about the Majestic (and some other early East St Louis theatres), go to the link below, and click “View the Record” at the bottom of the page:

View link

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on March 26, 2009 at 3:37 pm

Doesn’t look like it is in the worst shape in the world inside or out. Problem is, what would you do with it if it were fixed up?

Roloff on February 16, 2009 at 1:39 pm

A hi-res scan of the postcard at the top of the page can be seen in my flickr stream:
View link
Gorgeous place, the exterior doesn’t seem to be in such a bad shape judging from the photos posted above. Notice all the detail in the tiny tiles on the facade!

Luis Vazquez
Luis Vazquez on October 23, 2008 at 3:21 pm

Yes, I thought the same thing. The roof appears to be missing. I don’t really have any hope for this theater.

markp on October 23, 2008 at 2:55 pm

Hey LuisV, upon looking again at the photos from the 10/21/08 post, there is a large amount of light coming from the projection booth, which makes me wonder if the roof is gone.
What a shame, such a once beautiful place has been left to rot away.

Luis Vazquez
Luis Vazquez on October 23, 2008 at 10:45 am

Do any CT members know anything about East St. Louis? Is there any movement to Landmark this theater? (Not that it would make much difference). Seriously, this city looks to be in even worse shape than Camden, New Jersey. Is there any real hope for the Majestic or East St. Louis?

markp on October 21, 2008 at 9:48 pm

Looks like many the graffitti artists have been inside. With all that damage, does anyone think it could one day be saved and revived?

supercharger96 on October 21, 2008 at 8:33 pm

Exterior and interior shots from 10/11/08.

Patsy on January 11, 2008 at 3:15 pm

“Regular St. Louis must appear to be Emerald City in comparison.” Interesting quote as I’m a Wizard of Oz fan!