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“The finest show house Mound City has ever had.”

That’s how the State Theater was described at its grand opening Oct. 21, 1938, where festivities at the new movie theater drew a standing room only crowd. Telegrams poured in from Hollywood from such notables as Edward G. Robinson, Pat O’Brien and Bette Davis congratulating the builders, George Harttman and his associates of Kansas City. The cost of the building and equipment was $24,000.


Movies were shown there into the early 1980s, but the building then stood empty and fell into disrepair. In 1988, a group of citizens organized the State Theater Arts Council to restore the theater and bring quality entertainment to the community. Through the hard work of numerous volunteers and generous donations from community residents, the theater was restored and adapted for live presentations.


A grand re-opening was held in October 1989, and since then audiences have been drawn to the theater for a wide range of performances. An addition that includes dressing areas, backstage space for actors, restrooms, costume storage and set construction was completed in fall 1997.


Above left, Dave Holland in the concessions lobby.

Above right, the old projector room.

Photos courtesy of Randy A. Carlisle, Historical Photographer

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