State Theatre

233 E. Front Street,
Traverse City, MI 49684

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State Theatre - Traverse City MI

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The State Theatre was built on the site of the original Lyric Theatre that opened in 1916 and was gutted by a fire in January 1923. On December 20, 1923, it reopened after being rebuilt and had a seating capacity of 1,250. The Lyric Theatre was taken over by Butterfield Theatres in September 1937.

It was destroyed by fire again on January 3, 1948. Rebuilt, it reopened as the State Theatre on June 30, 1949.

The State Theatre closed on September 10, 1978 for remodeling into a twin screen cinema. In December 1984 it was purchased by the Kerasotes chain.

In January 1996 the State Theatre was purchased by Barry Cole for the Michigan Ensamble Theatre and it closed as movie theatre on April 13, 1996. A 6.9 million renovation into a Community Performing Arts Center was envisaged, but these plans stalled.

In September 2003 another restoration group took on a restoration project on the State Theatre.

In June 2005 it was given a general cleaning and fix up to prepare for the Traverse City Film Festival in July 2005.

The State Theatre was officially reopened on November 17, 2007 with a gala premiere of “The Kite Runner”. Today she sits in great shape with her neon State upright sign and large marquee in funtioning order.

Contributed by Chuck Van Bibber

Recent comments (view all 30 comments)

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on March 11, 2009 at 12:47 pm

This site has a photo of the Lyric during one of the fires that occurred here. You can click on the photo to expand it.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on June 26, 2009 at 2:02 pm

This is another 2009 photo.

SchineHistorian on March 26, 2011 at 7:40 am

Theatre Historical Society will be visiting this theater during our 2011 Conclave – “The Michigan Roads Less Traveled” June 21-25. See the website for details

DavidZornig on July 31, 2011 at 3:50 pm

The State Theatre has a prominent role at the beginning of a new Lip Dub video, featuring the people of Traverse City. The link should be easy to find on YouTube.

steelbeard1 on June 14, 2013 at 11:17 am

The State Theatre is developing a second theater behind the State dubbed “Bijou by the Bay” in the old Con Foster Museum. Details at

baileysporck on July 28, 2013 at 2:04 pm

The State Theatre has the most comfortable and easy viewing seats in town. Refreshments are extremely reasonable in price and the volunteers are very friendly. Great prices and some shows are free or reduced on certain days. The visually restored and pleasing theatre is a great way to experience films.

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