State Theatre

2235 First Street,
Livermore, CA 94550

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Related Websites

Livermore History -- Schenone Building

Additional Info

Firms: Miller & Warnecke

Functions: Restaurant

Previous Names: Bell Theatre, Livermore Theatre, California Theatre

Nearby Theaters

State, Interior

The State Theatre was the longtime movie building in Livermore, CA. It was located in the Schenone Building in downtown Livermore on First Street. The screen was located in the back of the building along the wall facing Second Street. The State Theatre replaced the original Bell Theatre in Livermore, which was located near the Schenone Building (longtime Livermore residents will know the original location; the Montgomery Ward Catalog Store was later built on the site).

The theatre retained the original Bell Theatre name into the 1920’s. For brief periods it was also known as the Livermore Theatre and the California Theatre. It was finally called the State Theatre on December 30, 1931 with Bert Wheeler & Robert Woolsey in “"Peach O'Reno”, following a remodel to the plans of architectural firm Miller & Warnecke of Oakland. It remained Livermore’s movie theatre until closing on December 22, 1956.

Livermore moved from a small agricultural and ranching community to a residential suburb with the arrival of Lawrence Livermore Laboratories in the 1950’s. With the growth of the city, the State Theatre had too small for the population growth. The Vine Theatre was built approximately ½ mile west of the State Theatre near the intersection of First and P Streets and opened on December 26, 1956. The Schenone Building still stands. For years it housed Dunbar’s Family Amusement Center; it now is home to Quizno’s and has received a new, somewhat controversial paint job.

Contributed by James Tinder

Recent comments (view all 6 comments)

kencmcintyre on December 5, 2006 at 12:16 pm

This webpage shows the Bell and State at different locations:

Bobbalt on December 28, 2006 at 8:32 am

There were two different Bell theatres. The first Bell Theatre was built in 1909 and located at 2nd and J Sts. It burned down in 1919; it was this site that later became home to the Montgomery Ward catalog store and Helen’s Blossom Shop into the 1970s. The second Bell Theatre was built into the Schenone Building, one block north of the old theatre, at 2235 First St. It retained the Bell name for only a couple of years; it later became the Livermore Theatre and the California Theatre, and by 1931 was renamed the State Theatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 28, 2009 at 5:21 pm

Boxoffice of May 19, 1956, announced the intention of West Side Theatres to build what became the Vine Theatre in Livermore. The item said that the new house would replace the chain’s State Theatre. The Vine opened in late 1956. I’ve been unable to find any Boxoffice item specifically announcing the closure of the State, but I haven’t found the house mentioned in the magazine after 1956, so it probably was closed as soon as the Vine opened.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 9, 2013 at 4:12 pm

At 2222 Second Street, you can see the stage house of the State Theatre, which has been converted to retail use with two floors of (probably) offices above. The theater was built behind the existing Schenone Building, with a long passageway leading through it to the new auditorium. A sign to the left of the Second Street entrance identifies the place as The Old Theatre Mall.

A couple of modern sources say that the Bell Theatre began operating at this location in 1914, but I’ve found no period sources saying anything at all about the theater other than that in 1921 the proprietors were Kline & Levy.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 14, 2014 at 11:04 pm

The Livermore Theatre was remodeled in 1931. This item is from the September 19 issue of Building and Engineering News (and it appears that Livermore’s lots have been renumbered since then):

“REMODEL, THEATRE Cost, $20,000

“LIVERMORE, Alameda Co., Cal. 1075 W First Street. Alterations and additions to theatre (new steel roof trusses, roofing, interior decorating & plaster work). Owner — Livermore Theatre (Louis Schenoni, premises. Architect — Miller & Warnecke, Financial Center Bldg., Oakland. Contractor— S. Bothwell, 748 Palm Avenue, Livermore.”

Bobbalt on January 4, 2015 at 6:48 pm

The last time the State appears in movie listings is the 12/22/1956 edition of the Oakland Tribune. “Rebel in Town” with John Payne and Ruth Roman and “The Search for Bridey Murphy” starring Teresa Wright were the attractions. The new Vine Theater opened on 12/26/1956.

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