The State Theatre, which seats 2,181, opened in 1921 and was then considered the most technologically advanced and elaborate theatre in the United States. One Minneapolis newspaper columnist described it as "a gilded pleasure palace, dedicated to the Hollywood dreams that captured America's heart in the roaring '20s." It was designed by Chicago architect J.E.O. Pridmore in a free Italian Renaissance style and boasted the first well-driven air conditioning system in Minneapolis. The original stage floor was glass, lit from underneath to create stunning visual effects.The opening night program included a silent film, newsreel and travelogue. A Wurlitzer pipe organ was installed in 1925 and concerts were held every day for 25 cents. The State's neon marquee was installed in the '40s and runs the entire width of the theatre. Between 1921 and 1978, the State Theatre was used primarily as a movie house, but also hosted vaudeville acts including Nora Bayes and Victor Herbert, concerts and ballet. The movie screen was the largest screen west of the Mississippi River at the time and designed so every person had a perfect view of the film. "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" set a national record at the State in 1970 for the longest run in America (34 weeks), and the final picture show was "Tommy" on New Year's Eve 1975. In 1978, the theatre was purchased by the Jesus People Church and served as their place of worship. The church covered the murals and sculpted figures with drapes and plaster shields, which were removed during the renovation process.
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