State Theatre

157 Broad Street,
Kingsport, TN 37660

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State Theatre

The State Theatre was built in 1936. Designed by architect Erle G. Stilwell, the 700 seat movie theatre was originally decorated in the Mediterranean Rivival/Atmospheric style, complete with murals and a lighted star constellation in the ceiling. The theatre has both screen and stage capabilities.

In the mid-1950’s, the State Theatre was remodeled to accommodate more modern tastes and the Cinemascope format. The Mediterranean garden wall was removed, the murals painted over and a premanent screen erected. It was operated by the Wilbey-Kincey chain.

In 1978, the State Theatre showed its final feature film and was closed. In 2007, the State was purchased by DB3 Development Company, LLC. Prior to that it had been in use as a Christian movie house known as the All American Family Cinema in around 1990 to 1992, a dinner theatre, a nightclub, a gymnasium and had spent the last decade as a cheerleading school.

DB3 is currently renovating the building according to Stillwell’s original plans, which they obtained from his archives. Currently (in early 2009) under construction, the State Theatre is expected to open in Spring 2009.

Contributed by JackCoursey, Doug Beatty

Recent comments (view all 17 comments)

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on November 9, 2010 at 5:54 pm

Feb 6 1969 and THE BEATLES are playing in"YELLOW SUBMARINE"

Dec.11 ,1969 and “PARANOIA” a horror movie is playing with no one admitted under 18 without a parent.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 22, 2010 at 3:28 am

Here is a 1947 photo of the State Theatre’s auditorium, showing part of the original Mediterranean atmospheric decoration of the sidewall.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on December 27, 2010 at 12:01 pm

Big Christmas Movie One week only,John Wayne in the “HELLFIGHTERS”.Adults were 1.25 and kids were 50 cents.1967.

davidfhale on November 9, 2011 at 1:54 pm

The developer’s plan is stalled, so the theatre is going to sit there until somebody comes up with the funding to buy it and finish the restoration:

Patsy on November 10, 2011 at 9:00 am

What exactly is the current status of this theatre?

ree_ree on June 10, 2012 at 11:11 am

Lamplight is working to finnish restoring it!Hopeing thay got all the pleages that thay need.

davidfhale on September 16, 2014 at 12:58 pm

Lamplight bailed on the State and bought the Strand instead.

A couple involved in downtown Kingsport has purchased the State:


DavidZornig on August 27, 2015 at 6:22 pm

1951/`52 photo added courtesy of the AmeriCar The Beautiful Facebook page. Original marquee on the far right.

pnelson on August 27, 2015 at 6:50 pm

Handsome exterior and box office and marquee.

DavidZornig on December 27, 2017 at 2:10 pm

1954 photo added via David Kroger.

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