State (Towne) Theater

State Theater.

The State Theater (located at 508 NP Avenue) opened on November 28, 1921. The theater was built by W. J. Hawk. Hawk, who arrived in Dakota Territory in 1879, purchased the Liberty Theater in April 1909 when he moved to Fargo. He purchased the site of State Theater in 1920 from the Advance Rumley Company. Construction of the $250,000 theater began in March 1921. With a seating capacity of 1,350, the theater was the largest in North Dakota at the time. Downstairs seating was about 650, box seats accommodated another 100, and there were 600 seats in the balcony. The theater had an orchestra pit and a Robert Morton pipe organ.

The first moving picture shown at the theater was The Wonderful Thing starring Norma Talmadge.

W.C. Clavier, Hawk's business associate, owned a "picture house" in Marshfield, Wisconsin before moving to Fargo in 1909. He was a projectionist at Fargo's Palm Theater. He persuaded Hawk to reopen the Savoy Theater as a five-cent picture house. Clavier was operating manager of the State and also supervised the management of the Liberty Theater (as the Savoy became known after remodeling in 1917).

Hawk and Clavier operated the theater until they sold it to the American Amusement Corp. of Minneapolis. At some point in the 1950's, the theater name was changed to the Towne Theater. The theater is now gone.

The view above looks southwest from the corner of NP Avenue and Fifth Street.