State Theatre

212 E. 4th Street,
Waterloo, IA 50703

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Publix

Previous Names: Crystal Theatre

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State Theatre

The Crystal Theatre opened September 12, 1910 with 800 seats. It was taken over by Publix in 1929 and they closed it June 2, 1929 with the silent movie “Love and the Devil”.

In 1933 a local resident purchased the theatre and it was gutted and an adjacent cafe was also brought into the scheme and the State Theater was created. The State Theatre was opened November 15, 1933 with Helen Hayes in “The White Sister”. It was closed January 31, 1954 with “The Great Diamond Robbery”. It was gutted in 1956 and became a drugstore.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 5 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 31, 2014 at 7:41 pm

This list of Waterloo’s theaters as they appeared in city directories has the State Theatre listed beginning in 1935. There is no directory available for 1934, so the State might have opened as early as 1933, after that year’s directory had been sent to the printer. The State Theatre is last listed in the 1954 directory.

I’ve been unable to discover if the State was newly built in the 1930s, or was an earlier house called the Crystal, listed at the same address from 1910 through 1928. It might have been remodeled and reopened. No directory is available for 1929, either, so the Crystal might have closed as late as that year. No theater is listed at 212 E. Fourth in directories from 1930, 1931, or 1933.

Chris1982 on December 11, 2014 at 2:15 am

The Crystal Theatre was listed as closed in 1933 with only 250 seats. The State Theatre was listed as open in 1934 with 800 seats. From the seating figures I would say the State was a new build.

dallasmovietheaters on January 8, 2018 at 10:36 pm

Although movies were introduced to Waterloo, Iowa, at Turner Hall’s Electric Theatre, brother J.L. and O.C. McClinton brought nickel theaters to Waterloo, Iowa, including the Wonderland and the Dreamland. J.L.’s most ambitious project to date was when he created the Crystal Theatre launching September 12, 1910.

Publix purchased the Crystal Theatre in 1929 likely to take a competitor out of the market. The theatre closed with “Love and the Devil” on June 2, 1929 without converting to sound. In 1933, the theatre got a second chance acquired by a local resident. The theatre was expanded by gutting the Crystal and the neighboring Rowen Cafe creating the State Theatre. The State launched November 15, 1933 with “The White Sister.”

The State Theatre appears to have closed on January 31, 1954 with “The Great Diamond Robbery” playing with “Bad Blonde.” In 1956, the theatre was gutted to become a long-running Osco Drug store.

SethG on July 18, 2023 at 2:55 pm

It’s hard to tell if the bland Auto-CAD facade of what was 210-214 hides older buildings behind it. There hasn’t been an Osco for years. Even the 2009 streetview doesn’t show it. The building is called the ‘Regional Business Center’.

SethG on July 18, 2023 at 3:11 pm

Added a Sanborn view showing the plan. 1962 map shows 210-212 as one facade. I think the front was redone much more recently, and 214 incorporated into it.

Most importantly, it appears that the theater was completely demolished for the Osco. The building on the 1962 map is quite a bit deeper, and none of it is one story, which the theater is shown to be on the 1910 and 1918 maps.

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