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More on the Crawford Theater

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  • Bryan Cather
    We ve known for some time that Scott Joplin rehearsed A Guest of Honor at the Crawford Theater, on the corner of 14th and Lucas in St Louis, in late August
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 1, 2012
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    We've known for some time that Scott Joplin rehearsed "A Guest of Honor" at the Crawford Theater, on the corner of 14th and Lucas in St Louis, in late August of 1903,prior to taking it on tour.  

    We've also known for some time that Turpin's Dandy Coon Company, a minstrel troupe, was playing at the 14th Street theater, earlier in the same year.

    St Louis City Directories show an interesting progression of names, at the same address....from 1902-1903, its the 14th Street Theater, which becomes the Crawford Theater by 1904 and eventually was the Gaiety Theater.  

    Interestingly, the Crawford Theater building had started out as the second site of St Louis' First Presbyterian Church, and after the congregation built further west, the steeple was removed and the building was repurposed as a theater.  I've attached a photo of its original configuration

    I found who  "Crawford" was:  Lester M Crawford, a businessman from Topeka, KS, with wide and varied interests.  More about him can be found here :http://skyways.lib.ks.us/genweb/archives/1918ks/bioc/crawfolm.html  It is interesting to note that his son Orlin T. or Orrin T Crawford, began the St. Louis Amusement Co. and built several theaters, like this one  http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/4963  
    St Louis Amusement Co eventually came to control the well-known St Louis Fox theater in the 1940s and 50s, as seen here  http://www.fabulousfox.com/fox_empire_decline.aspx

    There's also interesting images of the Gaiety theater on the St Louis Public Library's Website http://central.slpl.org/tour/construction-a-century-ago/?start=4

    The building survived until at least 1930; I found several references to boxing matches that were held there in that year.

    BryanC
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