THS’s second to last stop of the day was the State Theatre in Traverse City, MI. The theatre welcomed THS with free popcorn and sodas. They also gave guided tours of every nook and cranny of the theatre and a presented a wonderful overview of the history of the building.
The Lyric/State Theatre in Traverse City opened in 1916. On January 17, 1923, the Lyric was destroyed in a fire and subsequently reopened on December 20, 1923. The theater was destroyed by fire once again on January 3, 1948. It was subsequently rebuilt and reopened on June, 30, 1949 with a new name, the State Theatre.
On September 10, 1978 the State Theatre was closed for remodeling and the new owners split the single theater into a twin with two small screens. The last movie shown in the 1948 single auditorium State Theatre was “The End” with Burt Reynolds. The theater was operated as a twin by GKC for several years before it closed again.
Several groups then kept the theater safe from weather and time while various plans were made for its reopening. In 1996, Barry Cole and the State Theatre Group purchased the theater from GKC and announced plans to convert the theater into a performing arts complex. Then, in 2003, the State Theatre Group and Interlochen Center for the Arts announced a partnership to renovate the theater. The building wound up in the hands of Rotary Charities, who generously donated the State Theatre to the Traverse City Film Festival in May of 2007.
Following a complete renovation, the Traverse City Film Festival officially re-opened the State Theatre on Saturday, November 17, 2007 with the northern Michigan premiere of “The Kite Runner.”