State Theatre Long Beach

104 E. Ocean Blvd.    | map |

Long Beach, CA   90802

Opened: 1919

Architects: Harvey H. Lochridge and Kirkland Cutter designed the Markwell Building (later renamed the Jergins Trust Building) and the State Theatre inside. It was originally a 4 story building.

The State Theatre was operated by William Fahey who also had interests in other Long Beach theatres including the Palace. The theatre was the major film and vaudeville house in Long Beach until the West Coast came along in 1926 to share the spotlight.

The State was under the Loew's banner for a brief spell in the late teens and early 20s. It's listed as Loew's State in the 1921 city directory, but not later. Fahey sold his theatres in 1950. The last circuit to operate the theatre was Pacific Theatres, who closed it in 1977.

In 1926 the building was purchased by the Jergins Oil Co. Three additional stories and a penthouse designed by Lochridge were added to the building in 1929.

Until a new courts building was constructed in 1960, this building also housed the Long Beach Municipal Court.

The basement of the building was an underground shopping arcade that opened onto the beach on the south end and also connected to a 35' wide pedestrian subway heading north under Ocean Blvd.

Seating: 1800

Status: Demolished in 1988 for a big condominium project that was never completed.

The State Theatre in the Movies:

Harold Lloyd's "Number, Please?" (Hal Roach/Pathe,
1920) features great shots of the amusement areas of
Venice, Ocean Park and Long Beach. Here, at the end of
the vista looking east on The Pike, we've got the side
wall of the Jergins Trust / State Theatre Building.
larger view

The first marquee we see on the left is the Majestic dance
hall (formerly a roller rink). The second, where we see something
advertised as a "Big Show," is the Strand. See our "Number, Please?"
Theatres In Movies post for more shots from the film that include
 the Rosemary in Ocean Park, the California/Venice Theatre
and the Long Beach Municipal Auditorium.

The exterior of the State briefly shows up
in the final chase scene of "It's A Mad, Mad,
Mad, Mad World" (United Artists, 1963).
full size view

Other State Theatres: See the page on the State Theatre in Pasadena. Our Downtown Los Angeles Theatres site has a page on the Loew's State on Broadway.

More information: See the Cinema Treasures page on the State Theatre for lots of discussion and many interesting posts about the history of the building.

Especially see Ken McIntyre's June 2007 post of a May 30, 1985 Los Angeles Times article about Harold Fahey, the son of the original theatre operator. Ken has also has links to some photos he located of the subway and basement arcade.

The website The Pike has a nice page describing the Jergins subway under Ocean Blvd. The subway was built partly with private money as part of the Jergins Trust Building project. The south entrance was at the State Theatre.

The CSULB web section on early Long Beach Theatres has a page on the State Theatre. They speculate it opened as the Markwell and list capacities as 1,348 and 1,800 with the theory that the theatre was enlarged at one time. They offer an opening date (as the State) of December 19, 1920 and assert that Fahey didn't acquire the theatre until 1922.

    Mahan - Musil Collection / CSULB

This undated photo
from the Ronald W. Mahan and Joseph
J. Musil collection
is on the CSULB site's page about
the State Theatre, which they list as the Markwell
full size view | on FB/LATheatres

    Cinema Treasures

A look at the State while it was running
"Modern Matrimony," a 1923 release. 
full size view

The photo above also appears on Noirish Los Angeles
and in the collection of the Long Beach Public Library.


A fine beach view of the State Theatre building framing
going up at the left behind the roller coaster. At the
center is the 1905 Auditorium. 

full size view

A lovely card with a 1953 postmark looking east at the
1932 Auditorium and Seaside Way. The second building
 from the left is the beach side of the State Theatre building.
full size view

A 1954 vista east on Ocean Blvd. We get a bit of the
State Theatre building to the right of the palm tree.
Thanks to Michelle Gerdes for
 finding these items on eBay!

    Huntington Digital Library

A 1924 look west along Ocean Blvd. from Pettit's Studio.
The huge West Coast Theatre is in the center, with
 the stagehouse of the Fox Long Beach behind.
full size view

On the Huntington Library page, you can
zoom in and pan around to look at details.

A detail from the view above. Note the original Municipal
, the Ritz (later the Tracy) and the State Theatre
from the left side of the photo. Click on the photo to enlarge.

A glorious 1946 panorama looking south from Pettit's Studio.
It's in the Huntington's Verner Collection of Panoramic Negatives.
full size view

In the view above we get the State Theatre at center,
the stagehouse of the Strand over to the right and a
banner for the Roxy at the lower left.

A detail of the State Theatre from the photo above. 
Click on it for a larger view.

    L.A. Public Library Collection

A 1922 exterior view. Note that here the upper
 floors have not yet been added. 
full size view

A 20s beach view. Look at the full size view to
 see the signage as "Loew's State" on the roof.

Compare to a 1925 Winstead Photo beach view
- same sign but no Loew's.

A 1932 photo of the enlarged Jergins Trust / State
 Theatre Building from the Library's collection.
 full size view

A 1947 look at the marquee during the run
of "The Senator Was Indiscreet."
 full size view

A 1923 view toward the rear of the auditorium. 
full size view

More exterior views in the Library's collection:

| 1921 - staff in front  | 1923 marquee detail  |
 | 20s view - looking north on Pine |
 | 1929 - construction - prior to adding new floors | 
later construction view - framing for upper floors  |
 |  new floors nearing completion | 1929 - almost finished  |
 |  30s facade view | 1930 view - looking north on Pine |
| 40s beach view - State building is at left  |

    Jeff Gritchen - SoCal Seen

A view of the Jergins / State Building in the
 "before" version of this panorama that Jeff Gritchen
posted on his blog when he worked for the
 Long Beach Press Telegram.

Notice the stagehouse of Hoyt's (later
the Strand Theatre) on the right.

A look at the State Theatre in
1986 and the big void in 2012.

These two "then and now" items were posts on the
Long Beach Seen blog Jeff Gritchen was doing while
he was working for the Long Beach Press Telegram,
where he was a staff photographer.

Jeff's blog continues, now with a wider focus
 than just Long Beach, as So Cal Seen.

    Rick Warren Photo on Flickr   

A chance to see how colorful the Jergins
Trust Building was in this mid 80s photo by
Mr. Warren -- taken during demolition. 
full size view

Another demolition photo. 
full size view

A piece of terracotta ornament from the State. 
full size view

These are part of his great
 Old Long Beach Buildings set.

And thanks to Ethereal Reality for his Noirish Los
Angeles post #5977 featuring the State Theatre.
The post has many more interesting photos.

A wonderful view looking east on Ocean Blvd.

Photo credit: unknown

That's the State Theatre building in the middle flanked by the Breakers
Hotel on the left and the Ocean Center Bldg. (1929) on the right. 

Note the signage for the Strand Theatre on the far right
of the photo.  The Strand was down a block on The Pike.

[ click on any of these items for a larger view ]

A c.1919 view with the building still called the
Markwell Building. Where's the theatre marquee?

The card is from the collection
of Michelle Gerdes.

A 50s postcard view with the State at the center.

The card is from the collection
of Michelle Gerdes.

More from the Gerdes collection:
Ocean Blvd. 40s card  |  early Ocean Blvd. card  |
 |  postcard set long beach photos  |
 |  California theatres  |

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    California State Library

A wonderful 1931 night view in the California
Library collection. It's a C. C. Pierce photo
full size view | data page

    Card Cow

A view looking east. That's the State
Theatre building in the center. 
full size view

A view looking east -- that's the State on
the right -- note the roof sign. 

The large building in the center is the Breakers Hotel.
And that's the West Coast on the left -- with the
water tower on the stagehouse roof.
full size view

Also in the collection:
 | view from the beach -- looking up Pine Ave.  |
  |  view from the water  |
  |  a closer view -- looking east -- 1936 postmark  |

    Historical Society of Long Beach

A 1934 view while the State is running "Dark
Hazard" with Edward G. Robinson. 
full size view

Thanks to Stephen Russo for sending the photo our way.
He notes that the photo's occasion was that "Ford sponsored
a race through the streets of Long Beach. They had a Model A
factory on Henry Ford Avenue in Long Beach."

The photo also appears in a smaller version on Ethereal
 Reality's post about the State on Noirish Los Angeles.

    Island of Long Beach

A look at the entrance of the State in 1921.
full size view

A 1930 photo taken from across Ocean Blvd.
full size view

The subway under the building leading
to The Pike and the beach.
full size view

Also see:

another subway view  |  yet another  |

    Long Beach Heritage Museum

A 20s view looking east along the Pike from
the Long Beach Heritage Museum collection.
full size view

Note the "Loew's State" signage atop the State Theatre
building. We get a view of the Theatorium stagehouse
on the left, halfway up the image. 

    Long Beach Public Library

A c.1920 view looking east along the Pike. That's
the State Theatre on the left and the old
 Municipal Auditorium on the right. The image
 is a tinted postcard from the Library's collection.
full size view

A 1985 auditorium view by Wallace McGregor. 
full size view  |  info

A look at the stage in 1985 by Wallace McGregor. 
 full size view  |  info

The projection booth in 1985.
full size view  | info

A c.2007 photo by Thomas Wasper some
of the terracotta from the State Theatre/Jergins
Trust Building lying in a salvage yard. 
 full size view  |  info

Also in the collection:
 | 1921 exterior  | 1932 beach view  |  1950 - from the beach  |
| 1961 looking east - Strand Theatre in foreground  |
| another salvage yard view | another piece | terracotta face  |
| boxoffice rear  |

Many vintage photos of the building are also easily
located in the collection if you search "Jergins."

    Noirish Los Angeles

A great post #5952 by Ethereal Reality explores the
subway under Ocean Blvd. with lots of photos.
full size view

The photo is one of a 41 photo set put together
 by the amazing Scott Trimble.

See post #5966 by Sopas EJ for lots of great views
of the tunnel from the Los Angeles Public Library. 
full size view

    USC Archives    

A c.1925 view looking south on Ocean Blvd.
The State Theatre is on the right.
full size view

A wonderful c.1926 panoramic view of the waterfront. We get a bit of the
Strand Theatre at the far left, lots of The Pike, the State Theatre building
 (note the roof sign) and the old Civic Auditorium. It's a C.C. Pierce
photo from the California Historical Society. 
full size view

Also see:
 |  a very similar panoramic view - dated 1925  |

One of 3 details of the panorama the USC Archives offers,
this one a panel showing the State Theatre in more detail.
 full size view

A c.1932 birdseye view. The new Municipal
 Auditorium is on the waterfront at center. The
 State Theatre is at the far right with the Old
 Municipal Auditorium on the water behind it. 
full size view

Also in the USC Archives:
| 1931 night view - same as California Library view |