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One hundred years ago, community members lined up to see “The Girl from the Country” and other shorts from the early 1900’s era at a local theater—now known as The State Theater of Boyertown.
Formally known as The Lyric Theatre upon it’s opening, the theater originally seated 400 people, featuring local talent shows, educational lectures, war bond rallies, and more.
Originally built with the style of Spanish Colonial, the theater stood out from the traditional homes lining Reading Avenue. It reportedly made quite the statement next to St. John’s Lutheran church, which had been built 38 years earlier.
The Lyric was built with the tragedy of the Rhoads Opera House in mind—installing plans for an fireproof structure and accessible doors exiting to the outside.
In 1934, George Kline, manager of the George Bennethum Theatre chain of Philadelphia, bought the theater, renaming it The State. Theater architect David Supowitz was promptly hired by Kline to make renovations, changing the theater’s style from Spanish Colonial to Art Deco.
Of the 22 known theaters that Supowitz designed, only 2 remain in operation--The State is one of them.
Jack Kline would manage the theater for the next 40 years.
In the late 1950’s, the theater was bought by Clark and Greenberg Theaters of Philadelphia, who modernized and redecorated the building; the murals – deemed outdated and in need of updating – were covered.
It wasn’t until 1984 that the murals were re-discovered. Upon immediate examination, and the murals were found to be of historically significant.
In 2008, the Theatre was purchased by Boyertown residents Dawn and Kevin Rhude and was extensively renovated to turn what was previsouly a second run movie theater into a “Theatre of the Arts.”
While ownership of the theater changed hands several times throughout the century, the goal has always remained the same—to provide the community with quality entertainment.
On Dec. 7, the staff at The State will host an open house welcoming the community to relive memories. The State Theatre of Boyertown continues to call for memories as the 100th anniversary approaches.