Grand Warner Theatre

212 W. Wisconsin Avenue,
Milwaukee, WI 53203

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Showing 1 - 25 of 115 comments

bbdoll4ever on December 12, 2016 at 2:42 pm

Aaron, this is amazing news! I have shared on Facebook with all my design peers to gain awareness on the project. Let’s resurrect this masterpiece!! :)

Aaron Giese
Aaron Giese on December 12, 2016 at 12:56 pm

The time has possibly come for the resurrection of this theater.

Mikeoaklandpark on February 26, 2016 at 8:31 am

The marquee is identical to the now demolished Fox and Stanley theaters in Philadelphia.

Aaron Giese
Aaron Giese on February 23, 2016 at 6:22 pm

You can see 40+ pictures of the theatre and tower thanks to Urban Milwaukee.

spectrum on September 25, 2014 at 3:34 pm

The website for the Grand Warner Trust is:

The theatre itself has a Facebook page with some recent interior photos at:

The Facebook page has a lot more recent news and postings. Unfortunately the Trust’s webpage doesn’t have much recent news – the trust was formed in 2008 according to their webpage. From the photos at the Facebook site, the interior looks in excellent shape and is quite ornate – looks like it’s the original color scheme!

bbdoll4ever on January 21, 2014 at 4:37 pm

sdowns: Ever think of transferring your copy of Paul Wesley’s last organ concert recorded at the Warner/Grand (“Midnight At The Center”) to a digital file to share with the masses? I’d love to hear it in all its grandeur!

mheaton on September 6, 2013 at 4:28 pm

The GRAND-WARNER THEATRE TRUST – was formed and chartered this past year and they have been working with the parties that be to make this happen. As of this writing there is a schedule of meetings with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra about a possible collaboration (they have been interested in two previous projects over the past 12 years.) This month of Sept. may see some movement.

Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois
Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois on September 5, 2013 at 12:45 pm

A Kimball Theater Pipe Organ Opus KPO 6944, 6945, 6946, 3/28, manual/rank, keyboards/sets of pipes was installed in the Warner in 1931. It had thousands of pipes in three chambers, two on the left side and one on the right. The console was on the left in the orchestra pit and was on a worm screw lift that could rise to stage level by a push button. In 1973 when the theatre was twined the organ was to be removed. Paul Wesley gave one last concert. A LP recording was made “Midnight At The Center”. The organ was donated to the Milwaukee Trade and Technical High School for installation in the school’s auditorium, but it was decided that it would be impossible to fit such a large instrument into the available space. The Kimball Theatre Organ Society (KTOS) was formed in 1979 for the purpose of saving the organ from eventual sale. After many years of rebuilding and restoration and greatly enlarged, the Kimball again started playing again at the Oriental Theatre in Milwaukee in 1991.


(1828-1904), Maine, William Wallace Kimball born. 1857, Chicago, W.W. Kimball Company was founded. Offices were at 239-253 Wabash Avenue Southwest corner of Jackson Boulevard, Chicago. The factory was at South Rockwell Street and 26th Street, Chicago. 1877, they began assembling Kimball Reed Organs. 1882, they were producing 15,000 organs a year, the world’s largest organ maker! 1900, had 1,500 employees. 1910’s, made 13,000 pianos a year. 1922, stopped making reed organs, they had produced 403,390 reed organs! Late 1800’s to 1930’s, world’s largest piano manufacturer. 1942, pipe organ division closed down 7,326 pipe organs had been built, they had also made portable pipe organs. World War II, William Wallace Kimball Jr. was in charge. They manufactured needed war items for Boeing Aircraft, Douglas Aircraft and Lockheed Aircraft. 1961, they started making the first electronic or rather electric organs. 1960’s & 1970’s, they made 100,000 pianos and organs annually. 1983, stopped making organs. February 1996, the last Kimball grand piano was signed by every worker and company executive, and remains on display at Kimball’s showroom in Jasper, Indiana. Now Kimball International and Kimball Electronics. Makes furniture and electronics gizmos.

blurradial on July 1, 2013 at 6:43 pm

Am I tooting my own horn? I am:

*I’ll also be taping an interview segment on WUWM (Bonnie North, Lake Effect) with the Grand Warner Trust guys tomorrow, will likely air next week.

warnergrand on January 24, 2013 at 6:57 am

A Trust has been set up to purchase and restore the Warner Grand. Facebook page is active. Please “like”

Trolleyguy on November 3, 2012 at 7:57 am

The marquee is now lit up at night, bringing a splash of color to the downtown scene. I’ve added a picture of the ticket booth, which has someone in it during the day to distribute literature to tourists.

tisha on January 20, 2012 at 3:08 am

I remember in the 80’s my sister use to take me to this movie theatre. The cost was around maybe $3.50-$6.75. I remember standing in line to see Purple Rain. It played for six months straight. My sister and I watched Grelims there. When I was old enough I went to that theatre by myself. I’ve seen Tremors and Five Heartbeats there. So many memories. I wish they would at least open up the theatre for one more go round. Watch two movies for the price of one. It’s just a thought!!!

Matthew Prigge
Matthew Prigge on October 31, 2011 at 5:01 pm

i had the chance to look around this theatre recently. I have some photos (i am not much of a photog, clearly) here –

The place is in very nice shape inside. But I would bet the farm that it never reopens.

William on August 3, 2011 at 9:17 am

The Warner Theatre in Milwaukee opened on May 1st. 1931.

curiousmoviebuff on June 27, 2011 at 1:58 pm

Does anyone here know the correct contact info for this theatre? Is it still available for rentals? Have they begun the planned renovations yet?

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on May 1, 2011 at 5:28 pm

Nice ads Mike,thanks for getting them on.Two PG pictures equal decent Boxoffice.

mgriffin189 on November 15, 2010 at 6:29 pm

I am also glad that mheaton is working on saving this theater. I frequently drive by it on my commute to and from UWM ( I like side streets) and would love to see it reopened so everyone can enjoy a great venue and great architecture. It’s sad to see it sitting there empty. About a month ago a weather forcast appeared on the marquee. this was followed a few days later by a happy birthday message. does anyone know anything about this? Anyway, I really hope that mheaton’s group succeeds in restoring this theater. They don’t build em like this anymore.

rivest266 on October 16, 2010 at 4:52 pm

Grand opening ad for Warner
View link

rivest266 on October 10, 2010 at 2:35 pm

Grand opening ad for the Centre Twin from December 20th, 1973 is at
View link

dunverrich on August 9, 2010 at 1:40 pm

I am so glad to hear that mheaton is working on saving The Grand Theater. Back in 2005, Marcus Corporation graciously let us use the theater for the short movie Moviebonics. It was a great experience to spend several weeks in the theater. We shot on the second floor lobby, which doubled for the living room of a cinematically obsessed couple in the movie. In fact in your myspace video, you can see the 2nd floor lobby, which we spent days cleaning, including the glass light fixtures. We also left a message to Marcus thanking them for the use of the theater on the Marquee in the lobby. Your video reveals that it has been taken down since then. We have several photos of the set at Our short is on youtube at Hope you enjoy it. I too would like to offer some assistance as well to the cause of restoring the theater. I can be contacted through the moviebonics website. Good Luck.

mjonthemove on July 7, 2010 at 7:43 am

Great info. Please keep me informed.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on May 25, 2010 at 6:22 pm

Great stories to read.

GreatEscape on May 5, 2010 at 7:51 pm

Mheaton – I would love it if you could contact me as well. I am very interested in hearing what your plans on renovation all entail with this theatre. My email address is I think I may be able to be of some assistance as well!


mfdrozewski49 on March 3, 2010 at 10:34 am

Mheaton-Please contact me. I have the solution to your request in your post of Nov. 29th.

mheaton on February 6, 2010 at 12:58 pm

View link

The Grand-Warner Theater – Milwaukee – some old footage plus new footage as of January 2010. Watch for new web site and facebook postings coming soon on this web site.