State Theatre History
1924: Calvin Coolidge was in office, the Model T was still in Ford showrooms, jazz had become the most dominant musical influence, and the “Roaring Twenties” were in full swing. With the continued population and economic growth in St Petersburg, a young Jacob Alexander commissioned his new bank to be designed by prominent architect Neel Reid, and the address at 687 Central Avenue was born.
At 6,000 square feet, The Alexander National Bank became one of the largest of the nine banks in the area, and one of the only banking establishments to print currency locally. To this day, it remains only the second example of a Neel Reid building in St Petersburg.
The passing of Jacob Alexander a few years later led to the purchase and transition of the building to The Fidelity Bank and Trust. Opening in July of 1929, and then experiencing the stock market crash only three months later, Fidelity Bank and Trust, along with many local businesses, never recovered. Sadly, the local, future-landmark building would occupy a carousel of revolving business, until eventually becoming vacant. Then something amazing would happen
1949 – 1980s
The State Theatre is Born
With the Great Depression firmly in the rearview mirror, a new team of visionaries purchased the building at 687 Central Avenue with the concept of creating a state of the art movie theater. The age of “Technicolor” movies were all the rage, and the idea of creating a conceptually stunning venue in such a unique building became a reality.
After a complete renovation, featuring the area’s first “floating screen”, push-back chairs, air conditioning and a smoking lounge, State Theatre was ready to open their doors to excited cinema goers on May 1st, 1950. “The Outriders”, a country-western film starring Joel McCrea was the first ever film played in the expansive new theater.
The theater would enjoy success for over three decades, before ultimately going out of business in the early 1980’s.
State Theatre: the concert venue
One walk in the door, and you can’t help but feel the evolution of this grand building. Over recent years, State Theatre: the concert venue has become one of the premier destinations for a diverse and vibrant music scene. Hosting exciting acts ranging from up and coming local talent, to Grammy winning artists such as Bon Jovi, artist showcases, and avant-garde theatrical presentations, the State Theatre truly continues to “wow” event attendees of all genres.
To this day, 687 Central Avenue still holds the beauty, grace and dignity of her “almost” hundred year existence, equating to a one of a kind, unparalleled concert experience to be honored for the next hundred years.