State Theatre

Central Avenue N,
Harlowton, MT 59036

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Additional Info

Firms: Link & Haire

Previous Names: American Theatre

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State Theatre

The American Theatre was built in 1917, and opened on May 21, 1920. It was managed by G.C. Moore and featured vaudeville acts and silent film. The projection box was located at the front underside of the balcony. The American Theatre screened its first ‘talkie’ “Lord Byron of Broadway” on March 21, 1930. It was renamed State Theatre in 1934, and H.W. Knutson became the manager.

The building had been closed for many years, when it was severely damaged by a fire in around 1997. It was victim to a huge fire, which began at the top front of the building on the mid-afternoon of August 15, 2012. Only the walls of the building now survive.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

kencmcintyre on September 4, 2007 at 9:19 pm

Does anyone know if the building is still standing? The fire may have occurred subsquent to the photos above.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 14, 2009 at 12:54 am

The State was in operation by 1936. An obituary published in the April 7, 1956, issue of Boxoffice said that the late Hans J. Petersen had managed the State Theatre at Harlowton for the Knutson circuit from 1936 to 1945.

roger on April 2, 2011 at 6:01 pm

I drove through Harlowton on April 1st of this year, 2011, and the State Theater still stands… no foolin'

johnlove on January 31, 2014 at 2:14 am

The AMERICAN STATE Theatre in Harlowton was purchased by The American State Theatre Corporation in 2013 and details have been completed for restoration of the original theatre built between 1917-1920 as the American Theatre, designed by noted Montana architects Link & Haire. It’s auditorium was identical to Link & Haire’s Judith Theatre in Lewistown. (See CT auditorium view). In the last fire in 2013, the stage and dressing rooms were not destroyed. The building deemed safe and structurally sound by a leading engineer’s report to the Wheatland Council. Found in the dressing room were over 100 blue prints of the original Link & Haire drawings, while a further 30 designs were located in the Montana State Archives. To read about the future plans for the American State Theatre Restoration look in the Harlowton “Live” site. There is a complete historical report about theatres and cinemas in Harlowton. In the new concept the building will be multi-purpose! Any cinema will operated in complete co-operation with the Harlowton High School’s Harlo Theatre, and provide alternative cinema fare. John David Love.

Va155sf on December 2, 2015 at 5:51 am

GC Moore was my great uncle. I have a photo of him if the organization is interested. P. Moore.

LocoCreek on March 11, 2017 at 12:16 pm

John David Love is there any intent of further restoration of this building? There is some movement in the community. The Graves Hotel has the restaurant and bar open and they are working on rooms, although it is for sale. There is also a micro brewery under development and some other projects in the works. The citizens of Harlowton would like to see something done with this structure, it would be nice if it could be restored and Harlowton would become a destination location of sorts if there was entertainment I believe people would come. There are microbreweries in a couple of neighboring towns now too.

LT on March 3, 2018 at 9:50 am

Harlowton is in the process of revitalizing the downtown area. Please let us know if your plans to restore the theater are still in the works. Thank you

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