Badger Theatre

326 E. Main Street,
Reedsburg, WI 53959

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BADGER Theatre; Reedsburg, Wisconsin.

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Majestic Theatre opened in 1915. It was purchased in 1921 by Oscar Kelly. Three years later, Kelly had a new theater constructed on Main Street, which he renamed the Badger. This 500-seat theater had a pipe organ, a 16 by 23 foot stage, and in addition to silent films, the Badger hosted plays and concerts. A small fire in 1927 at the theater caused little damage due to the Badger’s fire-proof construction, which Kelly pointed out in the local paper after the fire.

During Oscar Kelly’s ownership, the Badger gained a lighted marquee, air-conditioning and was the first theater in town to show sound films. After Kelly’s death in 1942, his wife and son took over the operation of the theater. In 1948, new projection equipment was installed and the interior remodeled. During his election campaign in 1960, John F. Kennedy made a speech from the Badger’s stage.

In 1962, the Krueger family purchased the theater, and seating was reduced to 400, and a new screen and curtain were installed. A decade later, the auditorium was completely remodeled. In 1994, a Dolby sound system was added.

The Badger today no longer operates as a movie house, but is still open as the RAZ Gallery of Fine Art, where art from area artisans is displayed and sold. Furthermore, the Badger still hosts ocassional live theatrical productions and concerts.

Contributed by Bryan

Recent comments (view all 4 comments)

Trolleyguy
Trolleyguy on October 5, 2006 at 11:24 am

The link is no longer valid. This former theater has now been turned into a bar called Burg.

RoadsideArchitecture.com
RoadsideArchitecture.com on February 19, 2012 at 9:32 am

In 2011, the building was housing the Good Times Bar.

fred_hermes3
fred_hermes3 on October 4, 2013 at 7:18 pm

I am doing some research on a theatre pipe organ that was supposedly installed in the Badger Theatre in Reedsburg, WI. in the 1920’s.

Bryan, who made the above post re: the Badger Theatre, mentioned that “This 500 seat theatre had a pipe organ,….” and I would like to contact him (Bryan) and ask him where he got this information. How would I get in touch with him? Any one else who has any information about this organ can get in touch with me at:

LouRugani
LouRugani on January 7, 2014 at 1:11 am

REEDSBURG – Elmer V. Krueger, age 92, of Reedsburg, died on Saturday, Dec. 17, 2005, in his home. He was born July 17, 1913, in Princeton, Wis., the son of Emil and Pauline (Radtke) Krueger. Elmer was a 1933 graduate of Princeton High School. He then farmed the family farm for 25 years until becoming involved in the theater business. He will be remembered for showing free outdoor movies for many years. Elmer operated movie theaters in Princeton, Muscoda, Viroqua, Edgerton, Plainfield and Reedsburg. He operated the Badger Theatre in Reedsburg from November 1960 until his retirement in 2000. Elmer was always willing to reach out and help others whenever possible. He will also be remembered as a Christian mentor and friend to many. He was also the author of his trilogy: “Timeless Treasures,” “Endless Echoes,” and “Eternal Embers”, and was a faithful member of Faith Lutheran Church in Reedsburg.

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