Home Theatre

126 East Cook Street,
Portage, WI 53901

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HOME Theatre; Portage, Wisconsin.

The smaller of two downtown Portage theatres, the Home Theatre was opened around 1916. It was still operating in 1950. The building is today used as a furniture store.

Contributed by Lou Rugani

Recent comments (view all 2 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 7, 2014 at 9:16 pm

Page 27 of this PDF has a photo of a derailed streetcar with the Home Theatre in the background. The document says that streetcar service in Portage ended in 1916, so the Home Theatre was in operation by then.

I had a friend in high school who had lived in Portage, but he never mentioned the names of any theaters there.

AndrewBarrett on September 26, 2014 at 7:49 am

According to “The Encyclopedia of the American Theatre Organ” by David Junchen, pg. 631, the “Home Theatre” in Portage, Wisconsin, had a two-manual Smith theatre pipe organ installed at some point.

Other than the state, town, and theatre name, and # of manuals, no other details are given in the book.

However, given what I know so far about the Smith firm in its various permutations:

If this organ was installed through about 1916, it was likely a Smith organ made in upstate New York.

If it was installed between about 1917 and early 1921, it was likely Seeburg-Smith organ made in Chicago in the Seeburg factory under Smith’s supervision.

If it was installed between late 1921 and early 1924, it was likely a Smith organ made in Chicago in Smith’s own factory.

Finally, if the organ was installed between late 1924, and the end of the 1920s (c. 1927) it was likely a Leathurby-Smith organ made in Alameda, California. However, the latter is quite unlikely, since I’m not aware of any Leathurby-Smith organs sold outside of the West Coast states (California, Oregon, and Washington).

If anybody knows any more info about this organ, or the theatre itself, that would be great!

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