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Venetian Theatre

Venetian Theatre

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States

First Opened: 18th March 1927 (95 years ago)

Closed: 1954

Demolished: April 2007

Atmospheric Style: Italian Garden

Architects: Peacock & Frank

Status: Demolished

Address: 3629 West Center Street, Milwaukee, WI 53210 Link opens in new window


Overview

The Venetian Theatre was reported as being the first “real” atmospheric theatre in the state of Wisconsin. Built for the Milwaukee Theatre Circuit (a division of Universal) at a cost of over $500,000, the theatre accommodated 1,500 within its Italian garden themed auditorium.

From the balcony the vista of a tree-lined row of building tops interspersed with statuary created a romantic view under the starry sky as projected clouds drifted by. The theatre’s 2-manul, 8-rank Wurlitzer organ (opus 1572) spoke out of chambers on either side of the proscenium arch styled to look like ornate city gates.

The Venetian fell victim to the onset of television in the 1950s and closed in 1954. The space then became a furniture store with a suspended ceiling in the auditorium.

Eventually businesses vacated the building, and in April 2007 the theatre was demolished. As of 2022 the lot occupied by the theatre remains empty.

Further Reading

Online

Historic Photos & Documents
Opening feature as printed in the 18th March 1927 edition of <i>The Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle</i> (1.1MB PDF)
Opening feature as printed in the 18th March 1927 edition of The Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle (1.1MB PDF)
Auditorium circa 1927, courtesy Cinema Treasures user <i>CharmaineZoe</i>
Auditorium circa 1927, courtesy Cinema Treasures user CharmaineZoe
Auditorium circa 1927, courtesy Cinema Treasures user <i>dallasmovietheaters</i>
Auditorium circa 1927, courtesy Cinema Treasures user dallasmovietheaters
Two-page feature on the theatre as printed in the 16th April 1927 edition of <i>Exhibitors Herald</i>, held by the Media History Digital Library and digitized by the Internet Archive (1.6MB PDF)
Two-page feature on the theatre as printed in the 16th April 1927 edition of Exhibitors Herald, held by the Media History Digital Library and digitized by the Internet Archive (1.6MB PDF)
Exterior in 1928, courtesy Cinema Treasures user <i>DavidZornig</i>
Exterior in 1928, courtesy Cinema Treasures user DavidZornig
Entrance in 1946, courtesy Cinema Treasures user <i>Comfortably Cool</i>
Entrance in 1946, courtesy Cinema Treasures user Comfortably Cool
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