theater entrance

State Theater, early 1940s

In 1925, Fred Mausert purchased property on the south side of Warren St. The location contained the 1896 Presbyterian Church. It was his intention to build a movie palace to rival the Rialto. Since the church was already on the property, he opted to incorporate it into the design. Even the church pews were kept initially until replacements had arrived.

Mausert opened the theatre September 5, 1925. It was a huge success. Even amidst a heavy rain that evening the crowd was not deterred. A thousand people had to be turned away. Mr. Mausert personally greeted patrons as they filled the large lobby which was decorated with floral arrangements from well-wishers. They found their seats in the pews and watched “Drusilla with a Million” and a Clara Bow feature. Admission was 10-15 cents unless you wanted a 20 cent reserved loge.

One month after opening, the seats finally arrived. Due to the increase in construction of theaters nationwide, seats were in high demand. These seats were made special order for Mr. Mausert, who asked for them to be wide and comfortable, made of walnut with curved backs, and leather upholstery to match the interior décor. They were even equipped with ball bearing sockets to reduce the noise when people got up or sat down.

The State closed on June 7, 1953 when a long term lease with the building’s owners, Raynes Realty Co. of NYC was signed by Mr. and Mrs. Alex Hurwitz. Their plans were to renovate the space and operate a furniture store called Jonathan’s Furniture.