A not-to-be missed experience in Cass County is a visit to the State Theatre, now celebrating its 82nd year. Listed on the Indiana and National Registers of Historic Places as part of the Courthouse Square Historic District, the theater has operated almost continuously — except for the COVID pandemic — since its opening in 1940. That year it opened with a gala event and the showing of “My Favorite Wife,” which starred Cary Grant and Irene Dunne. When movie studios switched to digital productions, however, the State faced either spending a tremendous amount of money for digital projectors or changing its focus altogether.
When it was put up for sale, Kevin Burkett, a local who had been living in Philadelphia, recalled fond memories of seeing his first movie here as an 8-year-old with his dad. He purchased the property and gifted it to the State Theatre Preservation Society, a 501(c)(3)non-profit organization. This enabled the group to seek government grants and private donations for the purpose of preserving and restoring the venue. Burkett estimates it will eventually cost $5 million to $7 million to bring the building’s structure, interior and technology up to date. A Main Street Revitalization Program has already spruced up the building’s façade.
Today the State Theatre operates primarily as a performance space and a hub for educational offerings that inspire and nurture local talent and provide a home for the area’s rich artistic community. The season runs from Labor Day to Memorial Day, with summer usage reserved for events such as class reunions and wedding receptions. Future offerings include concerts, comedians, theatrical presentations and occasional showings of significant movies.
“It’s incredible to see how things are changing here,” said Burkett, who is also the author of “But Not Forgotten,” a history of Logansport. “We’re making an impact, and it’s exciting to be a part of that process.”
For more information: www.visit-casscounty.com/pop-up-trail/state-theater/