Royal Theater

1011 22nd Street South,
St. Petersburg, FL 33712

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Related Websites

Royal Theater - St. Petersburg (Official)

Additional Info

Architects: Phillip F. Kennard

Functions: Community Arts Center

Styles: Quonset Hut

Nearby Theaters

Royal Theater

The Royal Theater opened in 1948, on 22nd Street, in the heart of St. Petersburg’s African-American community with the Western film, “Panhandle”. It was built for Bill Boardman and Horace Williams, Jr., two St. Petersburg businessmen.

The 700-seat movie house was built in Quonset Hut style, and was one of a couple movie theaters catering to African Americans during the segregation era, including the long-demolished Park Theater and the Harlem THeater. Besides movies, live entertainment and talent shows packed the Royal Theater to overflowing in its hey day.

The theater closed in 1966. It now houses the Southside Boys and Girls Club and underwent a major renovation in 2003. The former Royal Theater is a focal point of the revival of the 22nd Street South area, and still regarded with fond memories by older residents of the neighborhood who recall when it was hailed as “an inspiration for the whole community” by a local newspaper when it first opened. It still can be described as such today.

Contributed by Bryan

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

Broan on June 19, 2005 at 11:59 am

“In St. Petersburg, Fla., however, the c. 1948 Royal Theatre, a designated local landmark, is undergoing a $600,000 renovation funded by block grants and private donations. Fitted with a marquee, the theater was one of the city’s few movie houses for African-Americans. "The community still fondly recalls going to the Royal with their soon-to-be husbands and wives on dates,” says Rick Smith, the city’s preservation planner. “So it has as much a social and cultural affiliation as an architectural one.”"

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jflundy on June 14, 2009 at 3:10 pm

The St. Petersburg Times of 25 May 1949 contains an ad calling this venue “South’s Finest Colored Theater”.

Featured on that date a double feature of “Each Dawn I Die” with James Cagney and “Dark Horse”.

Link to Page 25 St. Petersburg Times of that date:

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rivest266 on October 8, 2017 at 8:30 am

Here’s jflundy’s link from 2009

Found on

rivest266 on October 8, 2017 at 8:33 am

This opened on November 23rd, 1948 per this article

Found on

rivest266 on October 8, 2017 at 8:34 am

It seems Mr. Lewis uploaded the wrong postcard back in 2012.

rivest266 on October 8, 2017 at 8:38 am

Also uploaded the grand opening ad as well.

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