State Theater

515 E Street,
Marysville, CA 95901

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State Theatre Marysville

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Opened as the National Theater in 1927. This large theater 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 may have held statues 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 44 comments)

Mikeyisirish on October 20, 2012 at 5:34 pm

Yes, I’ve seen the Holly in Medford. Quite impressive. But that’s Oregon, the state whose craziness is mostly limited environmental issues. But this is California you’re talking about here. It’s almost as though the state and most local governments WANT to dive their areas into the ground, and will sabotage themselves to whatever length to do it. I speak as an employee of the blue State of California.

I wish you luck in your efforts.

DonaldKirk on October 21, 2012 at 2:12 pm

I recently moved back to Oregon FROM CALIFORNIA; and I’ve opened 2 theatres in CA, that I was told that had city issues; and I’ve also ran for office in both Anaheim (CA) and Redding (CA); and have been involved in CA politics since 1971. People that knows how the CA political process works can accomplish things other’s can’t. Now in NW Oregon, I don’t know their politics; and 4 years ago I lost a fight. EVERY state/county/city/block has different rules; and you have to know how to deal with them. I’m learning here in Medford real quickly how the process works; and I’ve already made friends with the Mayor. He’s the only one so far that told me the truth. The Associate City Mgr. is close behind in truth. So far, Marysville officials seem willing to work with someone, if they acquire the State or Hotel.

Entertainment on December 13, 2012 at 11:03 pm

Does anyone know who the owners are or the real estate company handling this property so I can make contact with them? I may be interested in opening it back up… Please let me know…Thanks

DonaldKirk on December 14, 2012 at 9:05 am

I have the contact information for the owners; and have for 2 years been trying to get them to talk with me about selling or leasing it to me. The owners and the city are in legal battles at the moment; and even if I (or anyone) purchased the place, the legal matters with the city will need to be resolved (which I think, just getting ownership of the theatre, would accomplish). Unfortunately Mr. Benny and his Ms won’t talk with me, the city OR ANYONE. I have spoke with the city, the owners of the former tire shop building next door and both would like for Mr. Benny to quit playing games and to sell it. Even with cash offered; and the ability to rid himself of the legal battle, he so far, has not been willing to talk with anyone.

DonaldKirk on December 14, 2012 at 9:12 am

I might add, that there’s $ million(s) of repairs and updating that “MUST” be done before the place could reopen. There was a vandal started fire, that from what I understand will cost well over $500,000. alone to repair the damage. Wiring is outdated, Audio and video equipment is old-school; and need replacing, With many years of non-use, the curtains may need replacing; as well, dampness may have caused seats to mill-due or rot. A lot must be done; and unless you’re willing to, or desire to bring in high dollar acts, requiring $$$$$ to book and advertise, the cost of refurbishing it into a movie theatre is not worth the money. After purchase, you’ll need several $ millions just to refurbish and book a number of shows, advertise them, etc.

Mikeyisirish on December 14, 2012 at 12:15 pm

I hate to ask this, but does that mean that you think it should be demolished, Donald?

DonaldKirk on December 14, 2012 at 12:28 pm

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 12:51 pm

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 8:52 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 11:54 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.

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