RKO Mainstreet Theatre
200 Main Street,
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Previously operated by: RKO
Firms: Rapp & Rapp
Previous Names: Orpheum Theatre, National Theatre
A handsome theatre with a corner entrance and a number of box seats circling the auditorium. It was located on the northwest corner of State Street and Main Street in Racine. The Orpheum Theatre opened in April 29, 1912 as a vaudeville theatre. It was home to the Racine Theater Guild between its regular film programs. On September 7, 1930 it reopened as the RKO Mainstreet Theatre with Sue Carol in “She’s My Weakness” on the screen and vaudeville on the stage.
After it was closed in late-1951, the local newspaper reported “wild vandalism” within (things like loosened radiators, discharged fire extinguishers and broken plaster which probably looked worse than what it really was), and despite a few pleas to rethink the situation, the pro-demolition momentum won out and the still-solid RKO Mainstreet Theatre was flattened in 1959.
The local paper made light of the event by showing the wrecking process along with a still-attached sign below the rounded marquee reading “Smashing Adventure”.
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