Puerto Rico Theatre

2917 N. Holton Street,
Milwaukee, WI 53212

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Showing 1 - 25 of 27 comments

Trolleyguy on May 8, 2017 at 8:28 am

I also don’t believe that photo is of the Grand. Look at the current pictures and you will see the mounts for chains to support an over the sidewalk marquee.

mts61073 on May 6, 2017 at 8:45 pm

I I do not believe the photo from 1944 is the Grand on Holton St. there is no ally on the south side of the building and the window configuration do not match as well as the building surface and marquee. Looking for someone else to substantiate my thoughts.

DavidZornig on May 6, 2017 at 7:31 pm

Article about the Grand, with a photo from 1944 as well as current interior shots.


CarlS on May 28, 2015 at 12:52 pm

This theater was the subject of the following blog post, which includes additional interior images. http://milwaukeenotebook.com/2015/04/24/grand-theater/

mts61073 on March 26, 2015 at 8:08 pm

Great pics Sean thanks so much for sharing. I shared them with my RiverWest group for all to enjoy. If anyone has pics of this theatre from the sixties please share.

d0nut on March 26, 2015 at 7:44 pm

The former Grand is currently a closed/abandoned that is listed for sale. I went through it on March 23rd 2015 and shot the pictures in the attached Facebook album.


mts61073 on April 14, 2013 at 8:05 pm

Thank you Chuck, I was unsure how to create a link. Hope you liked the photo. It was from a slide collection of Mr. Backes who owned the food store next to the drug store. His daughter Terri shared this photo with our River West Face Book group.

mts61073 on April 14, 2013 at 1:58 pm

If you are having trouble viewing this photo, highlight the entire address then right click and hit “open link in new window”

mts61073 on April 14, 2013 at 1:54 pm

This photo is from 1957 and includes the Grand Theatre’s Marquee https://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn1/551403_4787670693294_130984069_n.jpg

Patsy on August 15, 2010 at 10:29 am

Chuck: Pleased to read that the tassle collection went to THSA.

Patsy on August 15, 2010 at 9:28 am

Jim Rankin. He was a treasure on Cinema Treasures and I wish we had more like members like him. I had no idea that you were that close to him and that you shared many phone calls along with emails and CT posts. I also didn’t know that he collected tassles from theatre curtains. I wonder where that collection is today? The THSA should acquire it. Are you a THSA member? I plan to join as their magazine, Marquee is a treasure!

Matthew Prigge
Matthew Prigge on August 14, 2010 at 7:57 pm

The theatre ran its last film in mid-1971 as near as I can tell. during the last year it was open, it was known as the Magik Grand, and showed old classics and experimental films, as well as a steady diet of adult features. At one point, its ads boasted that it was “Milwaukee’s Matinee Adult Theatre,” showing porn from noon until 6 or 7 pm. I didn’t find anything that ever refered to it as the Puerto Rico.

kencmcintyre on June 14, 2008 at 3:57 pm

Click on “map” after the address at the top of the page. When you see the photo on the map page, the theater is to the right.

Patsy on June 14, 2008 at 3:51 pm

ken mc: What is the exact map link address to view this “interesting looking building”?

kencmcintyre on June 14, 2008 at 1:40 pm

You can see the former Grand Theater on Holton per Google maps. It’s an interesting looking building.

Patsy on February 6, 2007 at 4:47 am

This site has many Jim Rankin posts and it makes me stop and pause as I think of our wonderful CT friend whom we shall all remember with great respect and fondness.

atmos on February 6, 2007 at 12:06 am

Listed as Phillipian Church of God and Christ.

JimRankin on April 6, 2006 at 9:15 am

Actually there were 4 GRANDs, but only the two mentioned still stand. There will be a listing of all Milw. movie houses in the reprint of “Milw. Movie Palaces” due out next September under the title “SILVER SCREENS” by Larry Widen, and likely available through amazon.com at that time.

JimRankin on April 6, 2006 at 6:51 am

It was nice of “Lost Memory” to link to a photo of the GRAND, but it is the WRONG Grand. His photo is of Milwaukee’s WARNER/GRAND ( /theaters/1903/ ). This confusion of names is to be expected, even though the two buildings could never be confused! This is also why I disapprove of reusing theatre names within the same city, but then, who asked me?

Bigeyes on December 17, 2005 at 12:15 pm

I spent many a Sunday afternoon at The Old Grand in the middle 40s.
Always two movies, a couple cartoons, a news reel and always a serial of Buck Rogers or some cowboy favorite.
For just a Quarter, all this and candy and popcorn too.

What a great country.
God Bless America

Ralph S.
An Old Man In Arizona

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on January 10, 2005 at 10:02 am

Thanks for posting a most interesting account on the history of the building.

JimRankin on January 10, 2005 at 9:47 am

Milwaukee architect John Roth Jr. was engaged to design a modest 790 seat movie house in 1911 for one Andrew Guttenberg. The building’s pre-1930 address was 1175 Holton St. and was a brick building of 36x140 ft., with wooden floor and roof and seating for 696 according to the city’s inspection report the following year. The boiler room steam heated the building from beneath the stage platform, but there was never a stagehouse. It was a typical box beams and pilasters decor with modest draperies at the doorways to the two aisles, but the Inspector ordered them removed as a potential hazard for fleeing patrons. There were three ceiling ventilators and two floor vents to accommodate the summer heat, but this structure was long before air cooling.

In 1927 the local architect A.L. Seidenschwartz was contracted to turn the then no longer competitive neighborhood cinema into an ‘atmospheric’ or stars-and-clouds design which he did in a most imaginative way, as displayed on the microfilmed blueprints kept at the city’s records center. A new concrete floor replaced the wood, and illuminated glass urns topped the new facade line along the side walls but only inches from the wall with a line of blue horizon lights behind to cast upon the new dark blue plaster vault of a sky. There may have been electric ‘stars’ in the ceiling, but one cannot be sure today after years of rain damaged the ceiling before the place was bought by the Church of the Philippians who run it to this day. They had to make extensive remodelings and repairs, including a new alter wall built over the original screen, but some of the ornament remains. The facade was also completely redesigned in 1927 and one can still see elements of the stepped gable front, with the church’s more modern adaptations to the street level doors and former island box office. A modest, shallow lobby contains some ceramic tiles for decor as well as some antique lanterns of light bulbs suspended from the ceiling. The neighborhood is not prosperous, so one can only hope that this remnant of the city’s six ‘atmopherics’ will remain long enough to someday be restored to its charming second birth.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on January 9, 2005 at 1:37 pm

Headers need updating here to:
Architect: John Roth Jnr.
Seats: 790