Timeline: The Iconic Traverse City State Theatre

The Traverse City State Theatre actually began as the Lyric Theatre just over 100 years ago in 1916. The site has since seen two debilitating fires, the birth of a film festival, celebrities like Madonna, Jane Fonda and Susan Sarandon and, of course, hundreds of movies.

1916

Local entrepreneur Julius Steinberg opened the Lyric Theatre on July 4, 1916. 

1923

The theatre burned down in January 1923. It was renovated over the next year and reopened in December 1923.

1927

Butterfield Theatres took over management. They kept on manager Conrad Foster who continued to work at the Lyric until his death in 1940.

1929

The Lyric showed its first “talkie”—a film called Lucky Boy.

1948

Once again, the theater burned down (January 3, 1948) and had to be renovated. This time it reopened as the State Theatre in June 1949.

1978

Management company GKC turned the single screen cinema into a twin screen so they could show more than one film simultaneously. 

1996 

After 80 years, the State Theatre closed its doors. Over the next several years, the community deliberated what would be the use for the historic site.

2003

The State Theatre Group and Interlochen Center for the Arts announced a complete renovation. 

2007

The rotary charities donated the theater to the Traverse City Film Festival. That November, it reopened with a gala premiere of the film The Kite Runner. 

TODAY 

The State Theatre is an integral centerpiece to both Traverse City and the Traverse City Film Festival.

Historical photos provided by the Traverse Area District Libary, localhistory.tadl.org. Current photos of The State by Traverse City photographer Dave Weidner. 

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