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Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
Marshall Cohen—researcher and producer, CNN

Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


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Photo courtesy: Telegraph Herald
STATE THEATRE. The building that later became the State Theater was constructed in the mid-1890s and used by Roshek and Aiman as a clothing store. This was followed by the IOWA HOUSE FURNISHING COMPANY, Hermann Furniture Store, and J. C. PENNEY COMPANY. (1)

Located at the southeast corner of 10th and Main STREETS, the State Theater was renovated in 1938-1939 and claimed to be a "healthy cool" place to escape summer heat and free of echoes. (2) The lounge featured a mural depicting the woodworking industry of Dubuque. The State was one of the Bradley Theaters along with the GRAND THEATRE, STRAND THEATER, and AVON THEATER. (3)

Renovated theater. Photo courtesy: Telegraph Herald and Paul Hemmer
When it opened, the theater advertised 16-cent matinees. (4) The first movie shown starred Don AMECHE and Loretta Young in "Love Under Fire." Admission was 16 cents for adults and 10 cents for children.
One of the items salvaged by the theater. Photo courtesy: Telegraph Herald
On March 30, 1965, the theater and several other neighboring buildings were destroyed in a $300,000 fire. Demolition of the building began in June. (5) Prior to the demolition, artist Frank LICCIARDI removed three concrete angel heads and wooden boards to use in Frank Licciardi Art Gallery at 871 Iowa. (6)

The 1939 through 1962 Dubuque City Directory listed 978 Main.



1. Slichter, Harry. "On the Lighter Side," The Telegraph-Herald, August 11, 1965, p. 14

2. "Yesterdays," Telegraph Herald, February 18, 2003, p. 10B

3. Chalmers, Diane, e-mail, March 26, 2019

4. Slichte

5. "Burned Stores Coming Down," The Telegraph-Herald, June 15, 1965, p. 9

6. Davis, Mary Rae. "Art is in the Eye," The Telegraph-Herald, December 19, 1965, p. 7