Kenosha Theater

5913 6th Avenue,
Kenosha, WI 53143

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LIFE Magazine essay on the KENOSHA Theatre, 1938. (Bernard Hoffmann photo)

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Opened Sept 1, 1927, the Kenosha Theater was designed by architect Larry P. Larson and was commissioned by Carl Laemmle, the founder of Universal Studios.

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

This theater still stands today, but has suffered severe water damage. A new roof was placed on the building 5 years ago 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 8:21 pm

Interesting, but I’m not sure what the angles it:

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Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on November 15, 2010 at 8:24 pm

Many not-so-cool modern phtos here:

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MiltonSmith
MiltonSmith on November 27, 2010 at 4:57 pm

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

jwballer
jwballer on February 10, 2011 at 3:03 am

Any renovation updates?

MiltonSmith
MiltonSmith on May 29, 2011 at 10:31 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 10:35 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 6:44 pm

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

LouRugani
LouRugani on March 7, 2012 at 1:43 am

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 7:24 pm

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 11:13 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”.

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