State Theatre

212 S. Michigan Street,
South Bend, IN 46601

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Showing 1 - 25 of 40 comments

rivest266 on January 18, 2019 at 3:38 pm

This reopened as State on December 25th, 1929. Grand opening ad posted.

sam siklas
sam siklas on October 21, 2016 at 10:46 am

Unfortunately, the State Theater recently closed again, according to an article in The Preface (I.U.S.B. student newspaper). It may need a group of people with combined resources (or a willing financial donor interested in preserving this facility) to break it out of it’s closed-open-closed cycle it seems trapped in.

studioone on December 12, 2015 at 9:47 pm

From 2012 a little self guided tour of the building.

jimvid on November 28, 2013 at 6:30 am

nice profile on the latest efforts at the State Theater.

sam siklas
sam siklas on June 9, 2013 at 11:04 am

Last night 6/8 the State had it’s first film showing in a number of years. The Rocky Horror Picture show was screened at 9p.m. followed by a second showing at midnight; the midnight show was sold out! There is a story on this at

sam siklas
sam siklas on April 14, 2013 at 12:23 am

The State Theater has been cleaned up and the owners are planning to host events as soon as possible. A group called Ignite Michiana held the first event there March 28th. An article in the Preface, I.U. South Bend’s student newspaper, on April 3rd; it gives more details about the State Theater and Ignite Michiana.

coolate on October 8, 2012 at 12:46 pm

New owner, and plans are explained on here, I am trying to help them out, so fingers crossed.

sam siklas
sam siklas on April 12, 2012 at 9:13 pm

You can pitch any idea you might have for this theater by this Also , on this website it lists the State (Blackstone) architect as Henry Newhouse from Chicago.

sam siklas
sam siklas on March 29, 2012 at 9:48 pm

WNDU ch 16 in South Bend reported today that the State theater owners are going to have a contest to decide what they will do with the landmark theater. You can view the report on Perhaps they might include a theater organ?? (hint!) :–) == Sam ==

jimvid on January 14, 2012 at 9:23 am,0,2231042.story?track=rss

sam siklas
sam siklas on January 13, 2012 at 9:15 pm

Oops . I just remembered this! :–)I had visited my mom in a nursing home recently, then went to lunch. I ran into two of her cousins, who also had just been there just before me. One of them recalled being a girl of 15, during WWII, and taking the bus from her small town to South Bend, where they went to the State. While they were in the theatre, they heard a bunch of noise outside the theater. They eventually went outside to see what the noise was. There were hundreds and hundreds of people all up and down Michigan st, cheering and holding up signs— WWII had ended!! They thought they might miss the bus home, but her aunt found her in the crowd, and they stayed there for the celebration in front of the State! She ended up getting a hugs ( and some kisses too!) from quite a few servicemen in uniform! She said that is one memory she will never forget of the State theater!

sam siklas
sam siklas on January 13, 2012 at 8:59 pm

The State theater has another new owner.A group called Banko Investement intends to announce further plans for the building in about 11 weeks. This will follow the completion of a study of the theater just started today by students from the Illinois Institute of Art Chicago. There is more on this as reported today on WNDU ch.16. ( see for complete story. This theater is also a near twin to the Capitol theater (1921-1970), in Cincinnati. Will post further updates on this as I become aware of them.

sam siklas
sam siklas on November 28, 2011 at 8:49 pm

The State could make a great home for a theater organ. I believe the stage are would be large enough to accommodate such a unit. I am not sure if there are organ vaults in place, but if so, that much the better. I am thinking along the lines of the Senate theater in Detroit, home to the Fisher theater’s one of a kind Wurlitzer. After being in use in recent years, the State is at least in fair shape.

Dana_62 on September 1, 2011 at 11:42 am

The last I saw of the State was during the auction of pieces left by the bar that was there. It had an updated sound system and a very good projector(ready to run). If the new owners are looking for a projectionist, contact me ()

jimvid on March 20, 2011 at 5:55 am

View link

State Theatre finds buyer
Identity, planned use still not revealed.

Heidi Prescott
Market Basket
5:18 a.m. EDT, March 20, 2011

SOUTH BEND — What served as a landmark theater for decades, and is situated among downtown restaurants, stores and offices on Michigan Street, ended up unoccupied and in the hands of a bank.

Rather than announce movie showings or upcoming special events planned inside the historic building, the marquee outside the South Bend State Theatre has twice publicized public sales and auctions, attempting to create an interest from potential investors.

A recent February auction resulted in an undisclosed buyer signing a purchase agreement with Rose Acceptance Inc., a subsidiary of First National Bank of America. The company foreclosed on the State Theatre after a local group’s failed attempt in 2006 to turn the State Theatre into a Christian-focused cultural events center.

The theater had been listed for sale at $599,900.

“The transaction is not complete, but we’re moving toward a closing,” says Chris Patterson, real estate salesman at Rose Acceptance in East Lansing, Mich. “We’re excited for the buyer to take over possession and make it a thriving part of downtown South Bend.”

Possible plans for the State Theatre, which opened in 1921 as the Blackstone Theatre Vaudeville House, and contains bullet holes from a 1934 shootout between police and John Dillinger, whose gang robbed their last bank in that block, have not been disclosed.

But South Bend city officials reveal that the hopeful buyer has invested in a safety-and-systems study to be completed on the theater to ensure the neglected building meets various building department, fire inspection and other codes.

The study, which is currently under way, signals the strongest interest the city has seen from a potential buyer since the building went into foreclosure. But what could become of the structure remains unknown.

“The use of the building is up to the buyer. We do not have a say in the future potential use,” Patterson says.

“I do know the potential buyer will be eager to share with you what the future use will be when the time is right,” he adds. “The future owner wants the building to be a positive presence in the South Bend area.”

This sounds encouraging, especially seeing as South Bend will lose the College Football Hall of Fame to the north of the theater in the coming years and is searching for an adaptive reuse for that building, too.

The State Theatre purchase could be completed within a month or so, at which time area residents may know much more about its redevelopment and reincarnation, which city officials believe could involve a hybrid of an educational center during the day and theater concept at night.

In the daytime, a local college or university could use the theater space and stage for rehearsals or as an extension of its music school, department or program. And on weekend evenings, the State Theatre could turn into a brew-and-view concept, says Tamara Nicholl-Smith, director of downtown business recruitment, Downtown South Bend Inc.

A brew and view is a combination movie theatre-restaurant complex. Food and drink are offered at tables, as opposed to traditional theater seating, while the movie is showing. This concept has not only proven popular among movie-goers in cities across the country, including Chicago, but it also has been known to revitalize older buildings and shopping plazas.

Nicholl-Smith believes such uses could generate income with which the potential purchaser could invest in longer-term theater restorations.

The city has invested more than $250,000 toward the upkeep of the theater’s façade as well as improvements to the theater awnings, marquee and roof since the late 1990s. In addition, the Christian nonprofit, Way of Life, said it raised more than $250,000 that was invested in the building before the economic downturn that ultimately led to the bank foreclosure.

“It’s a fact that buildings that are in use and are used by people don’t decay as quickly as buildings that are empty,” Nicholl-Smith says. “So even if someone purchased the State Theatre and couldn’t do a big restoration right away, they could do enough to get in the door and use a percentage of the income generated to renovate piece by piece.”

Opening the doors is the important thing here.

And if this particular purchase agreement or deal does not happen, she is hoping for a community discussion about the theater’s future.

“There ought to be a roundtable, an exploratory roundtable with anyone who has ever been interested in owning or being part of the theater,” said Nicholl-Smith. “Communities have been known to rescue their theaters.

“There are those people in South Bend who fondly remember being in the State Theatre and would love to see it come back to life,” Nicholl-Smith says, “and others have never been inside and want to see it. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like the building and doesn’t want to go in. It’s beautiful and historic and harkening a grand era.”

William on February 1, 2011 at 7:45 am

The theatre is back up for auction in alittle over 5 days from now.
This property was recently listed for $599,000.00, but it’s price has been drastically reduced for this auction.

spectrum on November 13, 2010 at 9:53 am

Current website for the church renovating the theatre is:

The renovations have begun! Their webpage has a photo of the auditorium which shopws the interior decor to be in excellent (and unaltered) condition!

TLSLOEWS on April 4, 2010 at 3:54 pm

Nice 1968 photo posted of the State.

a8avexp on April 1, 2010 at 7:52 pm

I remember going to the State a few times as a kid in the mid-60s. I saw Mary Poppins, Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines, The Singing Nun, Walt Disney’s Cinderella and Yellowstone Cubs and The Trouble With Angels there (although one or two of those may have played at the Granada.

It’s one of the few remaining buildings downtown that I still remember from when I lived in South Bend.

benhur on July 2, 2009 at 12:55 pm

The State Theatre is up for auction July 16th-30th, 2009. Visit for details, a video tour and more.

Sontaran6 on June 14, 2009 at 5:49 pm

According to the 12 June 2009 “South Bend Tribune”, the State Theatre us up for auction. The evangelical community that claimed it failed to meet its goals. Details may be found at URL: View link

Greeneanvil on May 28, 2009 at 1:20 pm

The State Theater in South Bend is up for sale again. An auction will be held July 16 – 30, 2009. I believe that the South Bend religious organization, LeSea, currently owns it.

I hope that a group interested in preserving classic movie houses will buy it. It would be an excellent venue for showing classic films, teaching and discussing movie history, and housing a classic films museum. It is located in revitalized Downtown South Bend, near fine hotels, restaurants and retail stores, and just a block from the College Football Hall of Fame and the impressive Center Center
convention facilty, which sits on the scenic St. Joseph River.