State Theatre

929 College Street,
Bowling Green, KY 42101

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Crescent Amusement Co., Martin Theatres

Architects: Joseph W. Holman, Thomas Marr

Firms: Marr & Holman

Functions: Church

Styles: Streamline Moderne

Previous Names: Diamond Theatre

Nearby Theaters

State Theatre

The Diamond Theatre was opened in 1921, with a seating capacity of 850. By 1950, the theatre was listed with 1,053 seats. The Diamond Theatre operated as a single screen, first run hall. It was remodeled on November 3 1949 to the plans of architectural firm Marr & Holman and renamed State Theatre continuing into the mid-1980’s.

Contributed by Will Dunklin

Recent comments (view all 29 comments)

195161 on January 14, 2013 at 6:39 pm

I remember the STATE Theater quite well,I was fortunate enough to be able to work there from 1966 thru 1967.I started at the door then to running projectors.Happy Hardcastle was the Mgr.I have a lot of great memories of my time at the STATE.Larry Cassady

Mike Richardson
Mike Richardson on January 14, 2013 at 8:32 pm

Larry, Do you remember what projectors you had?

BillScates on January 14, 2013 at 11:34 pm

I remember Happy Hardcastle well. He was assisant mgr at the Capitol when my uncle John lived and worked the projection booth there for many years. Timelines have faded a little in my memory but when Cresent Amusement Co. sold to Martin Theatres my dad went with Cresent for a couple of years to manage the Cresent Lanes bowling. He came back to Martin’s as city manager when the Martin Theatre opened in what was then the “new” mall. I believe it may have been during that period that the Capitol closed and Happy came to the State. Happy probably knew more about the projection booth than anyone. We were never sure that breathing all that acetone glue didn’t contribute to his latter health problems… great guy.. I actually remember when his hair was “blondish” but for the last 40 yrs of his life it was snow white. I believe at the time Larry worked there, they were still using the old carbon-arc lamps. I want to think the projectors were RCA but my memory is foggy on that. They were later replaced with Xeon lamps and platter systems but I believe the heads were retained at least for a while.

195161 on January 15, 2013 at 8:07 pm

Mike,Bill was right,we used the old carbon arc lamps.Although i must correct him on something,Happy was already Mgr. of the STATE before the Martin Twins were opened.I know how it is to have a clouded memory because i’m not sure about the months,although i do remember working the door in the winter,having to break the frozen letters from marquee.The first movie i ran on my own was Truman Capote’s “In Cold Blood”,what a way to start!I’ll write about some more of my memories later,got to sign off for now,Take Larry Cassady

BillScates on January 16, 2013 at 1:03 pm

I’m sure you’re right Larry. When I think back, I have to reference the time I spent in the Military (Apr 64-Sept 68). Much of that time was spent in a fog anyway and I had little contact with folks in BG. As I mentioned before, my Dad left Martin Theatres for a while to work for Cresent Amusement Co. (the previous owners of the BG theatres.) That would have been sometime around ‘62 or '63 (I was away in college.) I don’t know exactly when he came back with Martin’s but I do remember he worked for a few months managing theatres in Columbia, TN before coming back to BG as city mgr. but I’m not sure what year that was. I do know it was before I got back stateside because when I returned in '68, I managed the Riverside Drive In for him while I finished up at WKU. I believe Happy was still managing the State at that time. I left BG again in '70 but came back after Happy died to help Dad out and managed the State for a couple of years. That would’ve been around '73 or '74. Two movies that I remember presenting during that time were “Jaws” and “The Exorcist”… both sold out the house and lines extended around the corner and down 10th street! That’s best record my memory allows. Later, in my career as a teacher, I encouraged students to keep a daily journal because I had always wished I had.

195161 on January 17, 2013 at 10:39 pm

Hello Bill and Mike,Sorry i haven’t responded sooner,I have been a little busy,just not getting a lot done.Was reading your last message and it brought back some more memories of my time at the STATE.When “The Graduate"came out we got to run it because of the seating capacity,it was one of the few times we got to run a grade A movie.We ran it for three weeks and it was a sellout everynight.I had to thread the projectors pretty much in the dark because of having to keep the projection booth door shut due to people sitting in the balcony.It presented a challenge but i enjoyed doing it.

SethG on August 5, 2022 at 4:02 pm

The church moved in in 1985. Poor thing is looking pretty seedy today. I’ve added a 1925 view of the original floor plan.

robboehm on August 5, 2022 at 9:25 pm

Uploaded an image of a 1921 ad in the Park City Daily News for the State.

robboehm on August 6, 2022 at 11:04 pm

Uploaded a photo as the Diamond from the WKU Library Special Collections.

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