State Theatre

515 E Street,
Marysville, CA 95901

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State Theatre Marysville

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Opened as the National Theatre in 1927. This large theatre has been vacant since 1999, and in pretty bad shape. The facade is either baroque or mission, and painted in unsightly browns. It is interesting for the number of niches along the upper story, which held urns in the past. The street level is boarded up, and has tacky tile from the 1970’s. The marquee is similarly ugly.

Contributed by Seth Gaines

Recent comments (view all 50 comments)

DonaldKirk on December 14, 2012 at 9:28 am

NO…. But needing the amount of restoration it needs, it needs to become a live stage venue again; with big name entertainers, special films, including a yearly film festival. I truly expect that after restoration costs, if someone wanted to show movies, they could build a new movie theater far cheaper. Being divided up into several small movie auditoriums, the entire theatre loses it’s beauty and glory, that is the reason for someone restoring an old theatre. Knocking out the added walls (it’s divided into several theaters right now), will bring back the majestic interior that people want to see in such a restoration; and dividing it into small theatres looses that.

TedLangdell on February 17, 2013 at 9:51 am

By way of introduction:

I’ve lived here 1965-79, 1988-present with a decade in Sacramento’s television news and video production scene. Watched the Crest Theater become a restored facility for a variety of activities including film and live performance.

Formerly active in production and post in Sacramento and here in Yuba/Sutter, I currently represent a German maker of 8mm-35mm motion picture transfer gear used by places like the Library of Congress and the British Film Institute, and on the other end by home movie transfer facilities.

As a resident and also local newsperson watching and covering the area… I can tell you that:

Plans but no money (or ability to bring money to the plans) has been a problem for this theater… and the succession of owners of the same-vintage vacant nearby five-story hotel.

Both are on E Street (Highway 70, the main N-S drag through town.

Redevelopment of the State could be paired with the Hotel Marysville that’s on the adjacent corner along with the other buildings in the State’s half-block (which have parking in the back) and turned into a third or fourth tier conference/meeting destination.

The city owns a parking lot on the south side of the hotel. Unfortunately, when nothing happened with the hotel, Marysville had to return federal funding to build a multi-story garage with retail on the ground floor.

The downtown is ripe for some major improvement, and a well-packaged plan (realistic, funded, backed by someone or a group that actually “gets things done”) would be well received.

Marysville now has a new city manager… a long time veteran of city management who is looking for/at options to grow the economic base here.

As Matthew (GarageStudio) and others have mentioned, there is an arts community, arts commission, and a variety of performance groups that could contribute energy, elbow grease and other support and use the facility for their presentations.

The offices along the ground and second floor could be income producing and/or tied to the theater.

It would seem natural to use the State (and its offices) as the home of a local community radio station… either LP (Low Power that can only be licensed to non-profits) or as the studios for a full power non-commercial or commercial station that took advantage of live entertainment broadcast capabilities the theater would afford.

One can see what being located (and now across from) the Miner’s Foundry facility did for KVMR in Nevada City, 40 miles east.

Thoughts of a broadcast that compares in some ways to “Prairie Home Companion” have occurred to me.

A yet-to-be-created local television station could also make use of the space or show-production capabilities the State can provide. It’s the only theater in the area with a fly gallery, for one thing.

The film festival idea has been discussed in the not so recent past.

One approach grew out of things being planned by the “Yuba-Sutter Friday Night Films” group that was active/disbanded a while ago. It was loosely connected to the Yuba-Sutter Regional Arts Council, at the time. I still have the domain name.

One line of thinking being pursued (before the Tower Theater became an office building and the State had the projection room fire) was to use both locations to showcase films that had been shot in the area. Downtown would benefit by foot-traffic between the two locations.

The content would have included Hollywood features like 1970’s “tick… tick… tick…”, a number of other films shot around Yuba, Sutter, Colusa and Butte Counties along with and the efforts of local and regional digital film-makers.


The Arts Council’s offices and auditorium (former Christian Science Church) are a block north of the State on the other side of the street.

D Street is beginning to see a bit of “artsy"ness in that a new Arts Commission supported space has opened on D street, a east and half-a-block south of the State.

Down the street, The Tower Theater was purchased by a family services group and the auditorium space was turned into offices. The vertical sign and marquee remains. The front lobby and other space is becoming a local history museum.

Across from the Tower, the former Mervyn’s store site—on two city blocks—has been recently occupied by Habitat for Humanity, which may or may not be staying long if it can’t get city permits in order.

If Mervyn’s becomes vacant again, it could be used as a convention/meeting space, and has a large parking lot with easy access from Hwy. 70/E St.

(If the museum at the Tower ever grew too large maybe Mervyn’s would be a good location.)

The State could support the historical aspect of the area with presentations of films about the gold rush and Marysville’s role… regional Native American history, agriculture and water much like IMAX films about specific subjects.

The local Punjabi community has events that could take place at the State, and local farming (and now finance) related families who would likely contribute to the restoration or overall several-block effort.

So there’s a lot that can be done, and the area has people willing to do things.

Look at what’s happening to the State’s former sibling, the Sutter Theater in Yuba City. It was converted to a tri-plex at about the time the State was

Also a former UA circuit house, it’s been acquired by a group founded by the owner of the local Carl’s Jr. restaurants and is becoming a local performance space and art gallery.

Part of the process involves making the total cost bite-sized enough to draw funds.

A million dollars is only a thousand $1,000 blocks. Or one hundred $10,000 blocks.

I’d start by getting some private investment or other grant funding to organize a plan, and go from there.


AndrewBarrett on April 24, 2014 at 5:52 pm

According to the “Encyclopedia of the American Theatre Organ”, pg. 628, the State Theatre in Marysville, California, had a two-manual, seven rank Smith organ installed at some point.

I would guess this was probably before the Wurlitzer opus 1627 replaced it in 1927, but not sure, since the book gives no dates or further information.

netfreckles on April 22, 2015 at 8:54 am

well I know my husband and I love taking our young kids to old theatres to watch old movies. we used to visit redford,MI theatre often, we wish Marysville state would be bought, we would volunteer to help reopen it anyway we could.

DonaldKirk on April 27, 2015 at 1:13 pm

I have owned and managed former movie theatre’s, as live-stage & film venues. I am a concert producer, working with both name recording acts and world’s top tribute artists. I also produce major fundraisers and festivals. Unfortunately, the current owners (a Mr. Benny and his girlfriend/wife? partner won’t talk to anyone; including city officials. I would like the city to put the theatre into redevelopment plans and emenient domain the theatre and hotel. Yes, adding restaurant and exhibition/meeting space on the hotel’s ground floor would be expected; with upstairs, offices (the theatre offices might need to be used for ADA access, including an elevator, 2nd snack bar, restrooms, etc). The 3rd – 5th floors could become low-income/senior housing, additional offices for nonprofit theatre groups, etc. I also have a simular situation in CT; where another 1700+ seat theatre needs restoring. My new email is ; if anyone wants to help try to get the owners to talk about selling. I’m sure with new owners, working to fix the structure’s problems, the city would drop or at least reduce, or postpone the fines levied on the building.

neuroted on May 7, 2015 at 10:52 am

I tried to post this, but I think it got lost. I was stationed at Beale AFB from June 1967 to January 1969. Two films I specifically remember seeing during that time are “Bonnie and Clyde” and “The Happening.” Does anyone know how I can find out if I saw these at the State or Tower Theaters? I’m writing something for my film blog and would like to know. Thanks!

cinedependent on January 27, 2016 at 8:07 pm

I remember going there in the 80’s. I was just remembering an add campaign for a charity which ran before every showing. I think it was Carl Reiner, but it could have been Rob. Does anyone else remember these ads, or what chain was running it in the mid-late 80’s and early 90’s before it closed? I also seem to recall it having two screens then, but it had obviously been cut in half from when it did live shows earlier in its existence.

melbatoast on April 25, 2016 at 8:52 pm

I lived in Yuba City from 1966-1974. To neuroted: I saw “Bonnie & Clyde” at The State Theater when it first came out, and then again later, as the State and the Sutter would often “re-run” movies that had been out for awhile, sometimes several years later.

I am very interested in refurbishing and restoring The State Theater to its former glory. I think it would be valuable to the community as a tourist destination, if it could be restored as closely as possible to its former glory in the Gold Rush Days. A museum, tours and a gift shop would help this. Also, local merchants could open gold rush themed restaurants & bars to enhance tourism.

I also think Ted Langdell and Donald Kirk had valuable ideas and insights. Ted, I went to YCHS with you. My name was Lori Laningham. I live in Nashville, TN now, but think often of The State Theater and what can be done. It was so sad to see it neglected when I came to visit for our 40th Class Reunion in 2014. I am so glad to see like-minded people worried and concerned about the State Theater’s fate.

DonaldKirk on April 28, 2016 at 2:29 pm

Unfortunately I tried a number of times to contact the owners of the theatre to no avail. They won’t even reply to the city. I’m hoping the city ends up taking possession of the theatre and allows me or some group to take ownership of it and get it restored and reopened for both movies and live shows. I’d also like to have the Hotel included in the deal. Together they’d make a great entertainment and meeting place; as well as senior housing (especially Vets). My current email is Don Kirk

theatrenut on August 1, 2016 at 1:38 am

i uploaded the original national theatre picture and think that could be a way to restore the marquee. the rockland strand in maine did similiar where the took the 40’s marquee off in favor of the original and set the theatre up for film and stage venues boasting current techonology in a close to historically accurate venue

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