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September 13, 2013

OUR VIEW: A new night at the theater

“An evening of pure elegance.”

That’s how history remembers a night at the movies in the 1930s and ‘40s.

Movie-goers would make their way through exciting lobbies to find their lush seats, waiting in a full house for the show to begin. Going to the theater back then was an event to be relished.

And in Logansport, residents were blessed with an abundance of theater options. The city had a heyday of sorts. In 1929, with the Colonial Theatre torn down, crowds filled the new Logan Theatre. It had a kind of elegance one might only expect in a large city.

The Luna, the Roxy, the Ark, the Paramount, the State — they all called Logansport home.

But time has a way of changing things, and this was no different. As state-of-the-art movie theaters became commonplace, the brilliantly lighted marquees of the old theaters faded and were eventually completely dark.

Many of these old theaters are gone from the landscape. Time took their toll and then the bulldozers eventually finished them off.

Communities let these gorgeous landmarks slip away. And many of those same communities look to us here in Logansport with an envious eye, jealous of our State Theatre and its marquee beckoning to the glory days gone by. Yes, we are lucky to still have a historic theater in our downtown.

In its over 70 years, the State has undoubtedly encountered many rocky years. But there likely were few scarier than the last. With a multiplex on the horizon, owners said they couldn’t compete and the future of the theater was in jeopardy.

Residents cried out to save the State. They knew history must be protected, especially history in the city’s core.

Billy Alger answered the call. His company, Alger Motorsports, renovated the theater into a live entertainment venue. Much work has gone into restoring the theatre, even uncovering the old wooden stage from the ’40s.

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