Wigwam / State Theater

The Trost & Trost designed Wigwam, located on the south side of San Antonio next to the new Plaza parking garage in downtown El Paso, was built in 1912 on the site of the previous Wigwam, which was a late 1800s saloon and gambling house. Throughout the Wigwam's early pre-Trost years, it housed a number of ventures, including a high-end restaurant and cantina (the Fashion Saloon and Restaurant), in addition to leased office space. (Note: One or two sources will place the Fashion Saloon at the location after the Trost building was finished. However, the new 1912 building was designed as a theater so this is very unlikely).

In around 1907 it was converted into a movie house, and then in 1912 Henry Trost was hired to design a remodel of the building, which was to have started in September of that year. For an unspecified reason, after inspecting the building on September 7, the plans to remodel were trashed and it was decided to demolish the old building and erect a new structure. The new theater had Colonel Robert Campbell and W. R. Winch as proprietors.

Cinema Treasures states that the new Trost Wigwam Theater was opened in 1914, however most other sources open it in 1912. It was probably early 1913, since construction did not begin until probably the third week of September 1912.

The building is brick with a terra cotta facing on a concrete foundation. The architectural style is described by the 1912 architectural journal "Architect and Engineer" as Mission (Ref: Google Books).

The building remained the Wigwam until September 25, 1919, when it was renamed the Rialto Theater. In 1922, it was reopened again under the Wigwam name until renamed the State on April 2, 1949. In 1981, apparently struggling financially, it became an Adult venue, but then closed its doors as a theater later that year.

The Paso del Norte Paranormal Society currently owns the building and headquarters there.

The Wigwam as she looks today. Generic, especially compared to the way it looked
with the Trost design intact. Picture taken by myself on 8/13/2018

The Trost Wigwam shortly after completion. What a stunner!! Image credit: Cinema Treasures, although the image is widely available.

The lobby shortly after opening in early 1913. Image credit: Otis Aultman collection in the El Paso Public Library via The Portal to Texas History. It is also in the Rescuing Texas History collection.

As the State theater in 1981. Image credit: Binion Collection, via Portal to Texas History

Grand opening of the State! El Paso Times ad courtesy of Cinema Treasures

As it looks today. Why in the world would sombody do this ↑↑↑ to the gem pictured above??!? Picture taken by myself on 8/13/2018

Picture taken by myself on 8/13/2018

Picture taken by myself on 8/13/2018

Undated photo credit Cinema Treasures. The Longest Day was filmed in 1962, so we'll go with that :-)