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Bremen Theatre

Photo from the Darren Snow collection
1929 Bremen Ave
Saint Louis MO

Record #11285  
 Opened: 1910
 Closed: 1968
 Current Use:
Capacity: 800 seats
Architectural Style(s):
National Register:
Current Organ: none
 Also Known As:
 Previously operated by: Wehrenberg Theatres

Information for this tour was contributed by Darren Snow.

The Bremen was one of several theaters founded by Orrin T. Crawford that made up the nucleus of the St. Louis Amusement Company -- which, in turn, metamorphosed into Fanchon & Marco and finally the Arthur chain. With 600 seats on the floor and 200 in the balcony, the Bremen was comfortably situated at the edge of a North Side park.

The Kaiman family (whose name mysteriously grows a second "n" in numerous listings and documents) was in control when the stagehands' union began picketing in 1939. A circuit judge demanded that the union prove to the court that the Bremen, which showed only movies at this point, needed stagehands at all. Clarence Kaiman(n) postponed negotiations until after his Labor Day wedding, which gave the unions time to get their heads together and really mess things up. In October, the ushers, ticket takers, and cashiers walked out under union orders; these employees were hardly expendable. Clarence's troubles were to grow still worse; in 1944, he was wounded in a dispute with his brother William over ownership of the various theaters in their control; William then turned the gun on himself. William's widow, Marguerite, carried on the feud and bought the Bremen for $50,000. She and her son, William Jr., ran the Bremen until its closing in 1968.

It was then used for several years by the "God's Tabernacle" church, and purchased in 1981 by the Hyde Park Renovation Effort Inc. The estimated cost of renovation was between $210,000 and $280,000 -- a prohibitive sum for an old theater in a frankly depressed neighborhood. The Bremen is presently crumbling, brick by brick, onto the sidewalk.

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Last featured 2002-12-27. Last edited 6/5/2016.

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