Park I & II Theatre

3015 Washington Avenue,
Racine, WI 53405

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CAPITOL (PARK I & II) Theatre; Racine, Wisconsin.

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The Capitol Theatre was opened May 30, 1928 as a neighorhood vaudeville and movie theatre the interior was beautifully finished with ornate plasterwork and stenciling. A large indirectly light oval covers three quarters of the auditorium ceiling. The proscenium is decorated with plaster ropes flowers and twists. Two pipe chambers complete with false boxes are located on either side of the stage. At one time the theatre boasted a 2/8 Wurlitzer pipe organ.

Twinned on March 5, 1976 when it was renamed Park I & II Theatre. The organ was removed and much of the plaster work covered. Closed on September 1, 1987 with “House II:The Second Story”, it has since been allow to suffer much decay and water damage.

Contributed by Paul Grant

Recent comments (view all 18 comments)

lnckid
lnckid on April 18, 2010 at 8:24 am

I own a cinema in north WI and would love to help get the park going again. I grew up in the town and watched many movies there but I dont get back to Racine much anymore but I would if I could help get it going again. Who is working on the theatre still? Does anyone have a number and name of a contact? I went thru the park years ago when I was looking at theatres to buy. Last I heard the upstairs apts were being fixed up to rent out. Someone must know something up to date about the theatre. LMK please

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on August 14, 2010 at 5:50 pm

bet was a beautiful single screen theatre.

dwallen
dwallen on March 30, 2012 at 9:06 pm

My Grandfather Max Krofta owned the Capital Theater, he also owned the Granada on the north side of Racine I never met Max, he died before I was born. My mother had several boxes of photos she guarded like gold, some I remember are of the Capital and Granada. If anyone is interested I will go through them and post them. Max also owned or managed the Abby in Milwaukee and perhaps the Milwaukee Granada.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 21, 2013 at 11:21 pm

A list of theaters designed by the Milwaukee architectural firm of Dick & Bauer was published in the October 25, 1930, issue of Exhibitors Herald-World, and it lists the Capitol Theatre at Racine among their works. It’s possible that J. Mandor Matson was the supervising architect for the project, but he was apparently just beginning his career around 1920 when the Capitol was built (the earliest project I’ve seen attributed to him in the trade publications dates from 1922.)

davidplomin
davidplomin on December 6, 2015 at 8:27 pm

According to this site, Racine had 17 theaters at one time, and ZERO today! What happened? Two of these are supposedly going to be renovated, but I see no follow up articles. How could a city the size of Racine have no theaters open?

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 6, 2015 at 11:25 pm

The nearest movie theater to Racine is in the outlying village of Sturtevant, and the next nearest is in Kenosha. It does seem odd that a city of almost 80,000 would be entirely without a movie theater of its own while Sturtevant, with only about 6,000 people, would have a large, modern multiplex.

My guess would be that Sturtevant has been very aggressive at attracting businesses, probably through large tax subsidies. If Racine wants a movie theater it will probably have to cough up a hefty subsidy itself to convince an exhibitor to compete with the Marcus Theatres venue in Sturtevant. Marcus itself probably won’t want to open another multiplex so close to the one it already runs.

rivest266
rivest266 on November 15, 2017 at 1:08 pm

This opened on May 30th, 1928 as Capitol. It reopened as a twin cinema on March 5th, 1976.

stephny0923
stephny0923 on November 24, 2017 at 12:37 pm

My sister worked there. It was an oldie but classic. I watched many movies there. It looks like it is still up and running with classes or something like that.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 24, 2017 at 1:03 pm

The judo classes given at the Park Theatre are provided by Racine Youth Sports, a nonprofit volunteer organization. Most of their activities are held in Haban Park.

I don’t know the nature of the group’s arrangement with the theater. I’ve been unable to discover if it is still owned by the Westbury Group LLC, the investment bank that bought it in 2004 with the intention of renovating it for use as a performing arts venue. Thirteen years is an awfully long time for a for-profit company to hang on to a property that can’t bringing in much revenue, if any.

At least the fact that RYS is using the building for kids' classes indicates that it is unlikely to fall down from decay. The promised renovation for theatrical use, however, must be at the very least on hold for now, and has perhaps been abandoned.

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