On April 27, 1894, the nation's foremost freethought orator, Robert Green Ingersoll, delivered his political lecture "Lincoln"at the Bastable Theatre in downtown Syracuse. On Saturday, March 9, 1895, Ingersoll returned to the Bastable to deliver one of his most controversial lectures on religion, "About the Holy Bible."
The Building and Site. Rebuilt in 1893 by architect Archimedes Russell following a devastating fire, the Bastable Block office building was anchored by the Bastable Theatre. Theatre entrepreneur Frederick Bastable, flushed with the success of his Wieting Opera House and Grand Theatre, launched a third under his own name. The facility achieved full success when local promoter Sam Shubert took over its management—launching the Shubert dynasty still influential on Broadway today.
The building was again destroyed by fire on February 12, 1923.
The site is now occupied by the State Tower Building (completed in 1928). At twenty-one stories it was (and remains) Syracuse's tallest building. Its tower section faces the city's Hanover Square, now the anchor of a small historic district. A state-of-the-art office building when new, the State Tower gradually lost its luster. It was extensively renovated in 2018; at that time floors nine through twenty-one were converted into sixty-one upscale apartments while floors one through eight remain as retail and office space.