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State Theater (photo credit The State Room)

State Theater

South San Francisco, California, United States

First Opened: 2nd October 1931 (90 years ago)

Atmospheric Style: Spanish Courtyard

Architects: Reid Brothers

Status: Repurposed

Website: www.stateroom.org Link opens in new window

Address: 201 Linden Avenue, South San Francisco, CA 94080 Link opens in new window


Overview

The State – dubbed the “Pride of the Peninsula” – opened in early October 1931 with the movie Smart Money Link opens in new window starring Edward Robinson. The 1,000-seat theatre was built by the Bay Shore Theater Corporation for a reported $125,000.

Auditorium in the 1930s
Auditorium in the 1930s

The theatre was designed in an Atmospheric style with a Spanish courtyard theme by M.J. Reid of architect firm Reid Bros., who at the time had designed around 40 theatres in northern California (including the Merced Theatre), in addition to California landmarks such as the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco, the Grand Lake Theatre in Oakland, and the Hotel del Coronado in San Diego.

In the early 1940s the gable roof entrance tower was squared-off with stucco in an Art Deco style. After several decades the theatre closed in the early 1960s and was used by All Soul’s Church for some time. The theatre ultimately closed on 13th March 1973.

Upper auditorium in its present state as <i>The State Room</i>
Upper auditorium in its present state as The State Room

In 1978, Robert Giorgi bought the building and despite some renovations kept the original auditorium intact.

The building was given over to a mix of offices, retail, and a ballroom which was created by dividing the auditorium horizontally into two floors, the ballroom (called The State Room) in the upper section of the auditorium, retaining the original atmospheric appearance.

More recently the stucco walls covering-up the original entrance tower were removed, revealing the original gable roof. Some of the original filigree had to be painstakingly restored by hand in a process that included restoring the original roof line of the steeple.

The State Room has been designated a Historic Resource by the City of South San Francisco.

Information in part sourced from The State Room Link opens in new window.

Further Reading

Online

Historic Photos & Documents
News of the theatre’s opening, as reported in the 2nd October 1931 edition of <i>The Enterprise and the South San Francisco Journal</i> (540KB PDF)
News of the theatre’s opening, as reported in the 2nd October 1931 edition of The Enterprise and the South San Francisco Journal (540KB PDF)
Theatre ads as printed in the 2nd October 1931 edition of <i>The Enterprise and the South San Francisco Journal</i> (620KB PDF)
Theatre ads as printed in the 2nd October 1931 edition of The Enterprise and the South San Francisco Journal (620KB PDF)
News of the theatre’s opening as reported in the 9th October 1931 edition of <i>The Enterprise and the South San Francisco Journal</i> (310KB PDF)
News of the theatre’s opening as reported in the 9th October 1931 edition of The Enterprise and the South San Francisco Journal (310KB PDF)
Exterior circa 1930s, courtesy <i>South San Francisco Public Library</i> (JPG)
Exterior circa 1930s, courtesy South San Francisco Public Library (JPG)
Auditorium rear, date unknown, courtesy <i>South San Francisco Public Library</i> (JPG)
Auditorium rear, date unknown, courtesy South San Francisco Public Library (JPG)
Auditorium, date unknown, courtesy <i>South San Francisco Public Library</i> (JPG)
Auditorium, date unknown, courtesy South San Francisco Public Library (JPG)
Files displayed in this section may be subject to copyright; refer to our Copyright Fair Use Statement regarding our use of copyrighted media.

Photos of the State Theater

Photo credits are noted where data was available at the time of inclusion. Photos displayed here may be subject to copyright; refer to our Copyright Fair Use Statement regarding our use of copyrighted media and contact us Contact Us with any concerns.

Photos
State Theater: Closeup of side wall, courtesy <i>The State Room</i>
Closeup of side wall, courtesy The State Room
State Theater: Bar area at rear of old auditorium, courtesy <i>The State Room</i>
Bar area at rear of old auditorium, courtesy The State Room
State Theater: The Ballroom, courtesy <i>The State Room</i>
The Ballroom, courtesy The State Room


Photographs copyright © 2002-2022 Mike Hume / Historic Theatre Photos unless otherwise noted.

Text copyright © 2017-2022 Mike Hume / Historic Theatre Photos.

For photograph licensing and/or re-use contact me here Contact Us.





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