Milwaukee Theatre

2754 N.Teutonia Avenue,
Milwaukee, WI 53206

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Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois
Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois on July 20, 2013 at 2:50 pm

A Mighty WurliTizer Theater Pipe Organ, Opus 559, a 2/6, manual/rank, keyboards/sets of pipes was shipped 640 miles from the WurliTizer factory in North Tonawawanda, New York, July 18, 1922. It had a piano console, 414 pipes, an 88 note piano (with mandolin attachment), 18 note cathedral chimes, 30 note xylophone, 30 note glockenspiel, bass drum, kettle drum, cymbal, snare drum, tambourine, castanets, Chinese block, sleigh bells, horse hoofs, bird, auto horn, fire gong, siren, triangle, surf, train, steamboat whistle, tom tom and door bell.

At some time a Grand Barton Theater Pipe Organ console was shipped 80 miles from Oshkosh B'kosh, Wisconsin, and was added to the organ along with three ranks of Barton pipes making it a 2/9. What happened to the WurliTizer console?

The organ went to the now deceased Dave Junchen in Sherrard, Illinois. Anyone have any further on what happened to the organ?

DavidHurlbutt on August 27, 2007 at 12:09 am

In the 1940s and 1950 The Poblocki Sign Company which constructed the marquee for the Milwaukee Theater on Teutonia Avenue was located in a building on Kinnickinnic Avenue which once was a movie theater. Widen and Anderson in their book SILVER SCREENS list this location as having many different names, Airdome, Union Electric, Badger, Rex.

Homeboy on July 17, 2007 at 7:16 am

The marquee for the first Milwaukee Theater was contructed by the Milwaukee-based Poblocki Sign Company in 1936. The company, which is still in business today, celebrates its 75th anniversary this year.

kencmcintyre on January 30, 2007 at 12:41 am

Here is an article about asbestos problems during renovation of the Auditorium in 2003. As Jim points out, this is not the original Milwaukee, which has been demolished:

JimRankin on July 13, 2005 at 1:12 pm

I got my authority for the description of the organ from Larry Widen’s listing of the MILWAUKEE in his 1986 book (out of print) MILWAUKEE MOVIE PALACES. He there lists the organ as a “Wurli-Bart”. I don’t know his source for this characterization, but you might contact him through his web site:

steamrocks on July 12, 2005 at 7:49 pm

I visited the Milwaukee Theater in the very early 1960’s when, as an overly optomistic youth of 16, I had intentions of purchasing the organ and installing it in either my home or the auditorium of my high school. The organ would ‘start up’ but in no way could it be deemed playable. The console was obviously Barton, but I had no idea that it also had WurliTzer components in it. The specification appeared to be fairly stock Barton (at least from what I knew as a 16 year old). Does anyone know what portions of the instrument were WurliTzer?

JimRankin on April 13, 2004 at 4:11 pm

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