State Theatre

23 W. Elm Street,
Lodi, CA 95240

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Merlot Banquet Hall (former State Theatre)

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The State Theatre was reportedly opened in 1912. It was a long, narrow theater with a tall, brick stage house. For many years it was operated by T&D Theatres, but in the early 1950’s was run by Fox West Coast Theatres, who closed the house in August, 1954.

Various independent operators attempted to revive the State Theatre over the next couple of years, but it was finally converted into a night club. In 1999, extensive remodeling was done to convert it to its current use, a banquet and reception hall called the Merlot.

The web site for the Merlot Banquet Hall features several photos of the theater as it is now (from which all of the original decoration appears to have been removed), but no historic photos as yet.

Contributed by Joe Vogel

Recent comments (view all 2 comments)

rivest266 on October 28, 2010 at 4:39 pm

This opened on August 27th, 1937.
you can see the multi-page opening announcements at View link
It was opened on the site of the old Tokay theatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 27, 2012 at 3:28 pm

The AKA Tokay Theatre needs to be added, per the article in rivest266’s link in the previous comment. A March 12, 1937, Lodi News-Sentinel article here tells of the purchase of the Tokay Theatre by the T&D Jr. circuit. The house had been closed for several years a that time.

The March 12 article says that the Tokay Theatre began operating in 1908, but a May 8, 1915, article in the Lodi Sentinel said that construction was underway on the Tokay Theatre, and that it would be opened by June 1, so apparently the house was rebuilt that year.

A major remodeling was carried out in 1928, as told in this article from the April 7 issue of the Sentinel. A short time later, the Tokay Theatre was taken over by National Theatres, then also operators of the Lodi Theatre.

In its last days, the State operated as a Spanish language house, but this proved unsuccessful. The State Theatre had ended its run as a movie house by November, 1961, when it was converted into a dance hall.

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