Historic Theater Renaissance

Published by The Bee News

March 23, 2023

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The State Theater in Kingman, Arizona dates to 1948.

The early history of the State Theater in downtown Kingman, Arizona is shrouded in mystery. But there is no mystery about its future as the Beale Street Theater owned by the non profit Kingman Center for the Arts. It’s ongoing restoration has fueled a growing sense of community that is centered on the historic business district and the Route 66 corridor. When it opens, the renovated theater will be a crown jewel in the districts renaissance, and a focal point for the city’s vibrant arts community that includes galleries, live performances, murals, and sculpture.

As envisioned, the theater that dates to 1948 will serve as a performing arts venue, and as a home for the Kingman Center for The Arts Theater Company. It will also be used for classic cinema, film festivals, and live concerts.

The general contractors for the theaters renovation are T. R. Orr Inc. and Angle Homes. Both companies are donating to the project, and Angle Homes has pledged to match all donations made in 2023 up to $200,000. Donations can be made at bealestreettheater.com/donations, mailed to 402 E Beale Street, Kingman, AZ 86401 or by calling (928) 530-8432.

Numerous businesses are contributing to the project with funds or in kind donations. These include Arizona Sommers Heating and Cooling, Black Bridge Brewery, Bullen Orthodontics, Campbell Redi-Mix Co, Cerbat Dental Group, Desert Archery, Desert Family Eye Center, Taco Bell, Route 66 Auto, Kingman Chevrolet Buick, Low Cost Spay and Neuter, Mangelsdorf Dentistry, Mohave Artists and Craftsman Guild, Kingman Quilter’s Guild, Pioneer Title, Preston Investments, Slightly High Maintenance, Sounds of Kingman, Swanty Hyundai, Vision Landscape and Design, Arizona Desert Dermatology, and River Rock Oral Surgery.

During a recent tour of the property Toby Orr of T.R. Orr Inc. said, “We’ve actually exceeded our goals for 2022 which was completion of needed demolition, the interior rough carpentry, and the concrete interior work including a new line of sight angled floor.” Orr also noted that for 2023 plans are to do everything needed to complete interior drywall. The tentatively scheduled date for completion is 2025 but it was noted that this is dependent on funding.

A unique bow truss at the historic State Theater. ©Jim HInckley’s America

Renovation of the theater complex that orignally also included a liquor store, barbershop, and offices has revealed interesting architectural details. A few of these have led to speculation about its construction. This includes the unique bow trusses, one of which has “Kilroy was here” painted on a gusset.

In the late 1940s many buildings from the WWII Kingman Army Airfield were sold for salvage or moved into Kingman and repurposed. These type of trusses are found in some of the orignal buildings at the former airfield, now the Kingman airport, and the Kilroy slogan was prolific graffiti used by American soldiers during WWII.

In addition to the theater, the Kingman Center For The Arts is committed to enriching the community through art related education, live performances and development of suitable venues. With generous finacial support from Angle Homes, the ArtHub, a community arts education center and gallery on the corner Fourth and Beale Streets, was established in the 1912 Powers Building.


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