Majestic Theatre

240 Collinsville Avenue,
East St. Louis, IL 62201

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: B-A-C Theatres, Paramount-Publix

Architects: Carl Boller, Robert O. Boller

Firms: Boller Brothers

Styles: Gothic Revival

Previous Names: Redmon's New Majestic Theatre

Nearby Theaters

Majestic Theatre

Built on the site of an earlier Majestic Theatre (ex-Rex Theatre) which was destroyed by fire in 1927. The Redmon’s New Majestic Theatre opened February 26, 1928 with “The Lion and the Mouse” a part talking Warner Bros. picture starring Lionel Barrymore and there were 4-vaudeville acts on the stage. It had 1,767 seats and was equipped with a Wurlitzer 8 ranks theatre organ. Initially, it was operated by Harry Redmon. It was equipped with Vitaphone & Movietone sound systems and also had a 100-piece orchestra.

Closed in 1960, it is now owned by the city. Like the rest of downtown East St. Louis, has been in a state of decay for years.

It was Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985.

Contributed by Paul Knittel

Recent comments (view all 52 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 13, 2010 at 11:20 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.

RobertEndres on October 14, 2010 at 2:12 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.

ghamilton on October 14, 2010 at 7:13 pm

THIS theater’s demise is a crime.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 30, 2012 at 3:33 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.

Matt Lambros
Matt Lambros on October 19, 2012 at 10:43 am

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

msova on March 22, 2013 at 10:33 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….

msova on March 22, 2013 at 10:35 pm

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

Norman Plant
Norman Plant on March 23, 2013 at 8:43 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.

mistyc82 on October 11, 2013 at 12:16 am

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

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on April 11, 2024 at 5:38 pm

I was stuck in traffic heading out of St. Louis on I-55 yesterday. I looked to my right and there was the Majestic Theatre, still sitting there. It’s now been in a state of decay much longer than it was open. Pretty wild.

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