State Theatre Essay

2125 words - 9 pages

At a hundred and four years old, the State Theatre still stands as one of Bay City's most recognizable landmarks. Despite floods, fires, and a century's worth of history, the theater proudly remains and operates on Washington Street. Dozens of events are put on there each year. Orchestras, Vaudeville, various musical groups, and comedians are just a few of the thousands of acts that have been housed within its walls. The building inside has been remodeled various times over the last few decades, and each time parts of the past have been found. Though there's a haunting presence, the six hundred seat house is still full for most events. The theater may not be run by the same employees, and the jobs have changed, but the theater is still as loved by many as it was when it was first opened. The State Theatre of Bay City has one thrilling past from its century of being alive!
Competition of other theaters was high in 1906 when The Bijou Theater, now known as The State Theatre, first opened on the “third floor of [the] Ridotto Building, located at the corner of Center and Madison Street in Bay City” (Greene). There was the “Alvarado, Lyric, Grotto, Temple, Roxy, Regent, Empire, and various Opera Houses, all located on [the theaters present day road], Washington Avenue, between the years 1870 and 1960” (LaLonde). On September 6, 1908 “the Bijou Theater was opened in a new building on Washington Avenue” where they joined the higher ranks of competition, and vaudeville was soon to be the main entertainment offered (LaLonde). “The building was owned by Worthy L. Churchill, and managed by Dan Pilmore” (Do you remember...?). In August of 1920 the Theater was renamed the Orpheum Theater, and in 1926 they began showing motion pictures (Greene). Many other theaters at this time began renovating there interiors, “in keeping with the progress of the motion picture industry the building was completely remodeled” (Do you remember...?). C. Howard Crane renovated the theater to resemble a Mayan Temple in 1930, and the theater reopened as The Bay (Greene). The theater had been purchased by Butterfield Theater chain and Crane was extensively hired by the company to renovate the theater into its new exotic design. “The eventual cost of the upgrading is said to have been $100,000. Crane successfully designed a Mayan theme through out the entire building” (LaLonde). Being under new ownership the theater was also under new management. The new theater manager was known as Floyd Ackerman, and it was said the theater was equivalent to a spouse for him with how much time he put into it. Ackerman got so caught up in his work he'd find himself going to the bank in the late hours of the night or even after late night shows. On “December 16, 1943” while going to the bank after a late night show, he was “murdered by Johnny Woos” (“History”). Floyd Ackerman is one of two men killed having to do with the theater. By 1957 not as much excitement had happened, besides the theater...

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