Built St. Louis > > Central Corridor > > Midtown > > Fox Theater

This section of Grand Avenue might be considered the main drag of Midtown, its central core. It is certainly the portion which has retained the strongest sense of an urban environment; it also contains one of the city's crowning jewels, the magnificently restored Fox Theater.

The Fox opened in 1929 as the most sumptuous movie palace in the city, and the second largest in the country. It declined with the neighborhood through the 1960s and 1970s, but in 1981 a pair of saviors appeared in the form of Mary and Leon Strauss, investors who purchased the theater and meticulously restored it to near-original condition.

Today the theater hosts first-run Broadway touring shows, drawing crowds from all over the metro area.

For all its intricacy and massiveness, the ornate interior is entirely made of plaster. The ornament, a bizarre fusion of Byzantine and Oriental motifs, is designed to transport visitors into another world: a total theatrical experience from the moment one enters. This was typical of movie palaces at the time; the show consisted not only of the movie, but the theater itself.

Photograph by Kevin Kieffer.

The Fox stands back-to-back with the other major landmark of Midtown, the Continental Building.

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