State Theatre

157 Broad Street,
Kingsport, TN 37660

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State Theatre

The State Theatre was opened on March 6, 1936 with Bing Crosby in “Anything Goes”. 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. On January 11, 1985 it reopened as the Christian Cinema, screening religous films. On August 12, 1988 it was renamed All American Family Cinema. Around 1990 to 1992 it became a dinner theatre then a nightclub and a gymnasium. It was last used for 10 years as a cheerleading school. In 2007, the theatre was purchased by DB3 Development Company,

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 was planned to reopen in Spring 2009. However restoration appers to have stalled by late-2019.

Contributed by JackCoursey, Doug Beatty

Recent comments (view all 21 comments)

Patsy
Patsy on November 10, 2011 at 9:00 am

What exactly is the current status of this theatre?

ree_ree
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
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:

Article

DavidZornig
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
pnelson on August 27, 2015 at 6:50 pm

Handsome exterior and box office and marquee.

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on December 27, 2017 at 2:10 pm

1954 photo added via David Kroger.

rivest266
rivest266 on September 21, 2019 at 11:40 am

This opened on March 6th, 1936. Grand opening ad posted.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 21, 2019 at 2:53 pm

The official web site link is defunct. The State Theatre Company also has a Facebook page, but it hasn’t been updated in almost two years. There is also a Twitter feed, but its last update is from 28 June 2017. The theater company was presenting events that year, but apparently not at the theater itself. I haven’t found anything more recent, and suspect that the renovation project is currently moribund.

rivest266
rivest266 on September 23, 2019 at 3:36 pm

This reopened as the Christian Cinema on January 11th, 1985 and renamed All-American Family Cinema on August 12th, 1988. All American Family CinemaAll American Family Cinema Fri, Aug 12, 1988 – 29 · Kingsport Times-News (Kingsport, Tennessee) · Newspapers.com

Trolleyguy
Trolleyguy on September 24, 2019 at 7:06 am

Google Street View of April 2019 shows the exterior and marquee to be in reasonably good condition.

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