Fern Theater

2556 N. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive,
Milwaukee, WI 53212

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JimRankin on March 7, 2006 at 9:42 am

Why the non-theatrical name “Fern” I was asked, and to that question I can only respond with the speculation that it belonged to one of the female relatives of the men who built it, as an honorific, rather than for any reference to any supposed plethora of potted ferns or palms about the stageless cinema. It must be remembered that living plants require a minimum of about 100 footcandles of light to survive, and windowless theatres would have a great deal less! However, it is possible that a number of artificial plants reflected the name.

JimRankin on January 12, 2005 at 7:41 am

Almost nothing is known of this 580-seat theatre designed by Charles Smith in 1911, the year that the fabulous BUTTERFLY opened downtown and reflected the beginning of the Photoplay Parlor era of exhibition, but it is doubtful that this neighborhood house had anything as remotely ornate. Since no listing for a theatre pipe organ was found, it is likely that it, like many of its cogeners, had only a player piano to accompany its originally silent films.