Kenosha Theatre

5913 6th Avenue,
Kenosha, WI 53143

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Kenosha Theatre

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Opened September 1, 1927, the Kenosha Theatre was designed by architect Larry P. Larson and was commissioned by Carl Laemmle, the founder of Universal Studios, to be operated by the Universal Pictures chain.

A Wurltzer pipe organ, Opus 1696, with a 3 manual console was shipped to this theatre on August 8, 1927. Sometime later it was sold and went to a private individual in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. The Kenosha Theatre closed on April 21, 1963.

This theatre still stands today, but has suffered severe water damage. A new roof was placed on the building in the early-2000’s which has slowed the wear and tear of time. A non-profit group has again begun the process of fundraising to try to restore this building.

Contributed by Jeff Baas

Recent comments (view all 31 comments)

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on November 15, 2010 at 12:24 pm

Many not-so-cool modern phtos here:

View link

MiltonSmith
MiltonSmith on November 27, 2010 at 8:57 am

Compare those recent photos with the photos from the Life Magazine, you see just how far gone that theatre is, sadly.

MiltonSmith
MiltonSmith on May 29, 2011 at 2:31 pm

No, no updates in a long time. To restore this theatre would require a massive amount of time and money. More than any volunteer effort could possibly do. Still would love to see it happen, just don’t see HOW it could happen, unless someone has $25 million to spare.

MiltonSmith
MiltonSmith on May 29, 2011 at 2:35 pm

Also, I think the website for this theatre now is kenoshatheatre.org. Hard to say, kenoshatheatre.com doesn’t seem to connect to anything and the .org doesn’t look like its been updated in a very long time!

Matt Lambros
Matt Lambros on August 3, 2011 at 10:44 am

A blog post on the Kenosha theatre is up at After the Final Curtain

LouRugani
LouRugani on March 6, 2012 at 5:43 pm

Kenosha Theatre projectionist Elmer George Hayek, 84, of Springfield, Illinois and formerly of Kenosha, WI, passed away at 5:00 p.m., November 5, 2001 at his residence. He was born June 23, 1917 in Detroit, MI, the son of George and Mary Exton Hayek. He married Alice Louise Reis in Lake Geneva, WI on August 30, 1938 and she preceded him in death in 1995. He moved to Kenosha at age 16 to work for his uncle, William “Bill” Exton at the Roosevelt Theater. Later in life, he was a motion picture operator at the Kenosha, Orpheum, Roosevelt, Gateway, and Keno theaters. He then worked as a linotype operator and foreman of the composing room at Lloyd Hollister Printing and Pioneer Press in Wilmette, IL. Mr. Hayek lived in Kenosha from 1950 until 1999 when he moved to Springfield, IL. Mr. Hayek was a member of Bristol Oaks Country Club, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and was a volunteer for the Kenosha Memorial Hospital. He had also served his country in the U.S. Army during World War II. He enjoyed playing golf and was devoted to his family. He was also preceded in death by his parents, and a brother: Albert. He is survived by a daughter: Susan (husband, Michael) Shaw of Springfield; a sister: Evelyn Willard of Mena, AR; a grandson: Scot Shaw of Cambridge, MA; and a nephew: George Hayek of El Dorado Hills, CA. Remains were cremated and Private Memorial Services will be observed at a later date. Memorial contributions may be made to the Adams Wildlife Sanctuary, 2315 Clearlake Ave., Springfield, IL 62703. (The Kirlin-Egan and Butler Funeral Home and Cremation Tribute Center, 900 S. 6th St., Springfield, IL.)

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on August 22, 2012 at 11:24 am

Hope something happens with this one. Seems like they were making progress six or seven years ago. It would be a shame if that was all for nothing.

LouRugani
LouRugani on August 26, 2013 at 3:13 pm

(From Boxoffice, October 29, 1938:) William Exton posted $10 to be given any man over 21 years who would remain two full days and one whole night in the lobby of the Kenosha Theatre in a coffin during the two-day engagement of “Frankenstein” and “Dracula”.

DonaldKirk
DonaldKirk on December 22, 2016 at 6:52 am

I have restored/refurbished/reopened historic theatres in the past; and with proper management, no amount of money is too hard to get. They recently spent $95 MILLION, restoring the King Theatre in NYC. I own Kirk Entertainment and work with a lot of name stars; and much of the funds could be raised having them do concerts as fundraisers (reduced rates or free). I’m inquiring about the Palace Theatre in Gary Indiana and it’s in far worse condition; but, the Jackson 5 grew up there and the place is now very important. I would be willing to work with a preservation effort for the Kenosha Theatre

Matt Lambros
Matt Lambros on March 24, 2017 at 7:53 am

The Kenosha is one of the 24 theaters in my new book, “After the Final Curtain: The Fall of the American Movie Theater,” which is available on Amazon or your local bookstore

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