Avenue Theatre

219 Collinsville Avenue,
East St. Louis, IL 62201

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Additional Info

Previous Names: Erba's Theatre, Empress Theatre

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AVENUE Theatre; East Saint Louis, Illinois.

Opened in 1907 as Erba’s Theatre located on Collinsville Avenue, this theater was later renamed the Empress, and lastly, the Avenue. It was remodeled in 1931 and operated until 1952. It last housed an Asian restaurant, but has since been closed and demolished.

Contributed by Bryan

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

kencmcintyre on January 9, 2009 at 6:59 pm

This is from Boxoffice magazine in January 1946:

EAST ST. LOUIS-A fire caused damage estimated at $5,000 at the Avenue Theater here recently. Most of the damage was from smoke and water. The fire was confined to stage properties and the contents of a room used by stagehands. The theater, owned by Dave Komm, continues to operate.

RetroMike on August 3, 2010 at 2:47 pm

I have some newspaper ads for the Aveneau Theatre from 1907, would this be the same theatre?

RetroMike on August 3, 2010 at 8:41 pm

Thanks Chuck, this Aveneau Theatre must have been a different building, and also carried with it a different spelling.

RetroMike on August 4, 2010 at 12:29 am

No, it gives the phone number Bell East 2646 and one of the ads states the following. Re-opens Sunday March 15. Aveneau Theatre E. St. Louis IL.

acatos on January 8, 2012 at 9:50 am

I have a photo of this theatre that I hope to get high quality scanned and entered here before long. It was given to me by a 95 year old gentleman who now lives in Atlanta and is a good friend. He attended this theatre in the 1920’s. The photograph shows a two story building with the words Avenue Theatre at the top and a overhanging marquee with “Erber’s Vaudeville and Photoplays” on the side and “Erber’s” on the front. There is a horse and wagon in front of the theatre.

acatos on January 8, 2012 at 10:06 am

The caption on the photo, which seems to be a promotional photo of some sort, is “Erber’s Avenue Theatre, East St. Louis Leading Playhouse.”

According to my friend, the music in the theatre was a piano. He only heard theatre organs in St. Louis when they’d cross the river.

He also tells me of another community theatre in his area that is not listed here and of the time when “talking pictures” came to East St. Louis.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 31, 2014 at 10:14 pm

The Avenue Theatre was listed at 219 Collinsville Avenue in the 1912 East St. Louis City Directory.

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