Ozark Theater... one of the oldest standing movie palaces in the world and the
oldest in Saint Louis metropolitan area, it was built in suburban Webster
Groves in 1921. The Ozark hosted
various functions and motion pictures for 60 years before brief use as a medical
Now the Ozark Theater is owned by a preservation-minded group that has saved four other historic buildings in the area, some of which are current nominees for the National Register of Landmark locations. The Ozark Theater is of historical significance in that few neighborhood theater buildings remain. The Ozark Theater was opened in the early 1920's and included an exterior airdome for outdoor movie viewing in the summer months before the advent of air conditioning. Motion pictures were shown at the Ozark six days a week until 1937, when voters repealed a longstanding "blue law," making Sunday movies possible. The theater became almost a babysitter for families on Sunday as children were dropped off to delight in an afternoon of the fantasy world on screen.
|Photos from the 1920's show the original Mission style facade. Much of the facade remains but was covered by a remodeling in 1970 as vintage movie theaters nationwide tried to "update" their look in tandem with the "cinema" movement of the 70's. Recently the Ozark Theatre has been restored to a close approximation of its original look, and it has been returned to its original use as a theatre and performing arts venue.|
By a margin of nearly 2 to 1 voters in Webster Groves, Missouri
turned back ordinances authorizing a huge corporate development in the center of
their town. The development called for the destruction of the Ozark Theater,
among other buildings. The vote totals went as follows:
For - 3,119 - (63.5% against)
For - 2,943 - (65.5% against)
Louis Theatre Organ Society.
Copyright © 2010 [SLTOS]. All rights reserved.
Revised: June 30, 2013