When the State Theater was constructed in 1919 it was one of the premiere theaters in the country. Located at 212 S. Michigan Street in the heart of Downtown South Bend, this iconic Neo-classical building was designed by celebrated architect Henry Newhouse of Chicago. Originally called The Blackstone Theater, silent movies of the era – accompanied by an orchestra as well as a classic pipe organ and vaudeville shows were performed there.
Upon opening, this theater often called The Pride of South Bend, boasted one of the largest and most complete film booths of its time, seating for 2,500 people (since removed), an orchestra pit (since filled in with concrete), and a nursery for children. The building was renamed the State Theater in 1931 and remained in operation as a theater until 1978.
Things have changed over time: renovations, rehabs, and remodels; some things have been replaced or removed; some have been obscured by a blanket of dust, the faint scent of film and costumes lingering in the air.
One thing that has never changed is the potential that this building holds. The 200-foot tall red velvet curtains still border the stage and big screen, the balconies are still intact, the walls still stand strong, and marble columns still mark the procession through the lobby. Now, you have a unique opportunity to have a say in the future of this remarkable historic landmark.
In addition to the theater space itself, the current configuration features three street-level storefronts with basement access and a number of second floor offices located in the front of the building with views onto Michigan Street and accessible via a separate entrance.