State Theatre

406 S. Burdick Street,
Kalamazoo, MI 49007

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Related Websites

Kalamazoo State Theatre (Official)

Additional Info

Previously operated by: Butterfield Theaters

Architects: John Adolph Emil Eberson

Functions: Concerts

Styles: Atmospheric, Spanish Colonial

Phone Numbers: Box Office: 616.345.6500

Nearby Theaters

State Theatre, Kalamazoo, MI - auditorium from balcony

This Atmospheric style movie palace is now the home of performing arts and live concerts. The State Theatre was opened by the Butterfield Theatres chain on July 14, 1927. It is equipped with a Barton 3 manual 14 ranks organ.

It was renovated in 1964, and some of the interior decorations were removed. Butterfield Theatres closed the State Theatre in 1982. Taken over by the Hinman Company in 1985, the interior was restored to its original condition.

On December 3, 2021 it was added to the list of the National Register of Historic Places.

Contributed by Ross Melnick

Recent comments (view all 40 comments)

sarahbauman on January 14, 2007 at 6:20 pm

Hey. Since some of you seem pretty interested… Actually, a lot of the cool stuff they moved/took down when they’ve “cleaned up” or changed things in the theatre is still there. It’s either been put back up, or put somewhere else safe where it can still be seen, but not harmed. We have some in the box office in the entryway and in the office next door to the main entrance. And the fountain, cool spanish light fixtures are still working & there, and even the moving clouds & stars ceiling still works. It’s funny â€" the switches & everything you have to use to turn on the lights & all of that are so old. I feel like I’ve warped back in time every time I use them. Granted, there are some things that won’t be coming back… The doors got changed in the 60’s to an all-glass front & there used to be a big gorgeous fountain in the entry way, and where the bars are now used to be posh little seating areas with chairs/couches and terra cotta (sp?) pottery with big lush plants all around & whatnot. Sometimes I wish I were absolutely loaded so I could make that place look as lavish as it once did. Would be so cool.

The original marquee actually was so massive and heavy that the way it was put up on the corner of the building corroded things over the years and it eventually went crashing down, so the marquee you all see now was put there in its replacement. Some things have fallen down over the years, yes, such as little statues & whatnot. There are some things that fell or broke over time, but we’ve still got a lot of it. Tons of old posters, too, but we wish we could find some from its early days. This year’s the 80th anniversary!

There are pictures up on the website ( If you guys were that interested, I’ve got a ton of pictures of old cool stuff we found cleaning out random little hidden storage rooms under the seating areas & whatnot. I could get them up somehow.

For those of you that are myspacers, check out

sarahbauman on January 14, 2007 at 6:22 pm

Oh, yeah… PS…

The building the theatre is in is pretty huge, so there are other companies or offices that use office spaces upstairs. So companies like Case Management aren’t actually part of the State Theatre, they’re just located above it. The State Theatre’s just the State Theatre!

TimothyRuf on May 25, 2007 at 5:09 pm

Sarahbauman… sorry to move us off topic for a post… would you be so kind as to contact me regarding your theater. I’m working on an article about Ebersons Atmospheric designs and would enjoy being able to ask a few questions. Thank you.


Patsy on July 20, 2007 at 9:15 am

“When the State Theatre opened on the corner of S. Burdick and Lovell Streets in July 1927, it brought the "atmospheric” movie palace experience to Kalamazoo.“ All towns should be so lucky to have an "atmospheric” movie palace experience brought to their hometown!

e50e on October 16, 2007 at 9:08 am

I remember going to see the Butthole Surfers there in the 90s and people destroyed one of the statues down towards the stage. I look back at that and become really angry at the needless destruction of one of Kalamazoo’s most historic buildings under such stupid circumstances.

sarahbauman on January 18, 2008 at 11:14 am

Haha – of course you get a picture of our marquee the day the wind knocked the letter N off… “REO TICKETS ON SALE OW” It wasn’t even like that for very long. Sneaky, sneaky. You probably noticed the bit of white paneling behind the letters that’s caved in a bit. That’s getting fixed, thankfully.

kencmcintyre on January 18, 2008 at 11:43 am

Frank Caliendo is the guy that does the John Madden impressions on the football pregame show.

JAlex on November 28, 2015 at 8:09 am

Colonel Butterfield’s first name was Walter, not William which somehow has taken on a life of its own.

DavidZornig on May 4, 2020 at 10:29 am

Full history link below.

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