State Theatre

116 E. Walnut Street N,
Mankato, MN 56001

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Finkelstein & Ruben, Plitt Theatres, Publix Theaters Corporation

Previous Names: Sandon Theatre

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Sandov Theatre...Mankato Minnesota

The Sandon Theatre was opened in March 1916, and was designed in a Prairie style. It had a seating capacity for 850 and was operated by the Sandon brothers.

In 1925 it was taken over by the Finkelstein & Ruben chain and renamed State Theatre. The seating capacity was listed as 690. In 1929 it was taken over by Publix who operated it until 1935, when it was taken over by Minnesota Amusement Co. until 1964. Plitt Theatres then operated the State Theatre, followed by Carisch Theatres who closed the State Theatre in 1978.

Contributed by Billy Holcomb / Don Lewis / Billy Smith

Recent comments (view all 3 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 24, 2014 at 12:41 pm

A few genealogy web sites have pages with references to the four Sandon brothers (Harry, Sam, Bill, and Cash) who opened this theater in 1916. One page says that prior to opening the Sandon Theatre they operated a house called the Wonderland Theatre, also in Mankato, which they purchased in 1913. The Sandon brothers had been itinerant musicians, and after going into the exhibition business frequently played in their own theaters. They later operated theaters in Jackson, Blue Earth, and Elmore.

The March 18, 1916, issue of The Moving Picture World had this item about the opening of the Sandon:

“Mankato, Minn.—A modern moving picture theater has been opened by Sandon Brothers on Walnut street. It has seating capacity of 850 and cost $40,000.”
I’d love to know who the architect of the Sandon Theatre was. The Prairie style was rarely used for theaters, though its geometric elements had some influence on the zig-zag phase of the Art Deco style. In fact, two Prairie school architects, the husband and wife team of Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin, emigrated to Australia in 1914, and a few years later they designed there one of the iconic theaters of the Art Deco period, the Melbourne Capitol Theatre.

paulnelson on June 24, 2014 at 6:48 pm

What a handsome building. Lighting and marquee and stone and hardware holding the marquee up is beautiful. Sort of Frank Lloyd Wright feeling to it.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 24, 2014 at 8:36 pm

There’s a very good chance that whoever designed the Sandon Theatre was one of the young architects who had worked for a time in Wright’s office. Wright and his own mentor, Louis Sullivan, were the chief progenitors of the Prairie style.

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