State Theatre

1603 11th Avenue,
Altoona, PA 16601

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dallasmovietheaters on December 22, 2020 at 2:34 pm

Anast N. Notopoulos took on the Gamble-Paramount two blocks from here in 1919 closing it July 23, 1919 for a major refresh. He gave it an entirely new interior and exterior look and renamed it the New Victora Theatre opening on November 15, 1919 for what turned out to be a temporary stay of just over a year.

It turned out Notopoulous would have bigger ideas for the Victoria. Creating a steel interior theatre costing $1 million by local architect Walter Frieling, a new, New Victoria would open at this location at 11th Avenue and 16th St.. Meanwhile, the Gamble/short-term New Victoria Theatre would be renamed from the Victoria to the Capitol Theatre opening now with a Greek architectural theme on March 17, 1921. But the New Victoria fell well behind schedule.

While work continued on the New Victoria, the building’s Victoria Danceland dance hall opened four months prior to the theatre’s grand opening. The new Victoria’s giant sunburst sign had a grand launch all to itself prior to the theater’s opening in June of 1922. The well-placed Palace Confectioner and the Victoria Cigar Store also opened in June prior to the theater’s launch. One of the State’s largest pool halls, the Victoria Pool Hall, also opened in the entertainment mecca with 35 Brunswick pool tables in the basement of the theatre building in July of 1922.

The New Victoria, itself, finally opened on July 20, 1922 with Owen Moore starring in “Reported Missing.” In 1923, the Victoria became a publicly-held entity called the Victoria Theatre Corporation likely trying to recoup its over one million dollar and behind-schedule investment. That company went bankrupt quickly in 1924 and was disbanded in 1925. Wilmer & Vincent Circuit took over the bankrupt property giving it a major refresh and relaunching September 19, 1925 as the renamed State Theatre. The State opened with Harold Lloyd in “The Freshman” and music from the $35,000 Marr & Colton organ with J.F. Keith at the console. The State installed sound and then widescreen to stay competitive lasting to the Victoria/State venue’s 50th Anniversary. But at the end of its 50-year lease, the theatre closed in 1971 and was demolished a year later.

DavidZornig on January 11, 2020 at 9:20 am

Closed the first week of October 1971. Demolished May 1972. Demolition photo & description added.

DavidZornig on September 1, 2018 at 8:07 pm

The State Theater was originally the Victoria Theatre, possibly as early as 1900-1915. It was still the Victoria Theatre in July 1922, per an Altoona Mirror article about a wedding held there. It also had the Victoria Pool Hall in the basement. Two images added of the Victoria Theatre that clearly show it was the same building as the State Theater.

CSWalczak on July 25, 2012 at 1:03 am

This appears to be the photo to which Patsy refers in her comment of of November, 2005

rivest266 on October 8, 2011 at 11:38 am

This opened on September 19th, 1925.

trailerfan on November 11, 2008 at 1:08 pm

During an urban renewal project, the State theater was
demolished in 1972.

Patsy on November 28, 2005 at 3:39 pm

What a nice b/w photo of this theatre that had a Marr & Colton organ in 1925. What is the current status of this theatre other than just being ‘closed’?

teecee on August 29, 2005 at 4:13 am

A Marr & Colton organ was installed in this theatre in 1925.