Airway Theatre

4001 S. Howell Avenue,
Milwaukee, WI 53221

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 19, 2012 at 10:21 am

Linkrot repair. These are the new locations of the Boxoffice items in my previous comment:

Airway Theatre article, May 7, 1949.

Poblocki and Sons ad, May 24, 1947.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 7, 2010 at 5:06 am

The architect field at top currently misspells Belongia.

Boxoffice of May 7, 1949, provides a page about the Airway, with photos. The house opened on January 18, 1949.

Myles Belongia had been a pioneer in using quonset huts for theaters, and had designed the Middleton Theatre at Middleton, Wisconsin, the first such theater in the state. It was opened in 1946.

The Poblocki Sign Company erected a number of pre-fabricated quonset hut theaters throughout the region in the late 1940s, and advertised its services as a design-build company in Boxoffice for several years. Architect Belongia’s relationship with the Poblocki company went back at least as far as 1937. In that year he was one of the partners founding a company called Porcelain Fronts, Inc., which specialized in theater modernization. Bernard Poblocki was another of the partners, according to the item about the company in Boxoffice of September 4, 1937.

Here is an ad for Poblocki and Sons in Boxoffice of May 24, 1947. It attributes the design of its prefabricated quonset hut theaters to the firm of Peacock & Belongia. The Peacock in the firm was, of course, Urban F. Peacock. I’m not sure how long the partnership existed, but it’s only ever mentioned in Boxoffice in the year 1947.

kencmcintyre on December 1, 2006 at 2:31 pm

Here is a photo from Getty Images:

JimRankin on November 20, 2004 at 12:04 am

The architects “Peacock and Belongia” occur on the 1946 Application for Building permit, but nothing came of that permit for some reason, and the 1948 Application and Permit list only Belongia who had left association with Peacock in the interim. The difference in seating total is due to the difference in “proposed” seats listed on the Application, and the actual count of 600. The 50 seats in the upper balcony were not always included in the count total. It was recessed next to the projection room and was discontinued as public seating after not many years.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on November 19, 2004 at 1:42 pm

According to Larry Widen and Judi Anderson’s book ‘Milwaukee Movie Palaces’ (1986) the architects of the Airway Theatre were Peacock & Belognia. It operated from 1949 until 1967 and seated 550.

JimRankin on April 13, 2004 at 8:02 am

Please let me know if you learn anything more about this theatre. Thank You. Jim Rankin =

JimRankin on January 31, 2003 at 9:12 am

A woman working at the Bay View library related to me that she had attended the AIRWAY many times in her youth both for movies and also on Sunday mornings when it served for years as a church. Whether or not this was the Goderski’s congregation, or whether or not such services produced rent for the AIRWAY is unknown.