Shorewood Theatre

4329 N. Oakland Avenue,
Shorewood, WI 53211

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Additional Info

Architects: H.D. Werwath, George Zagel

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Shorewood Theatre

The Shorewood Theatre opened in 1927 and lasted until 1952 as a movie house. It was located on Oakland Avenue near Marion Street.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

atmos on December 3, 2004 at 4:51 am

The architect was George Zagel,a seating capacity of 1,136 and has been demolished but I don’t know when.

DavidHurlbutt on December 3, 2004 at 1:57 pm

After the Shorewood closed it was used as an ice-skating school. The floor was leveled and an icerink was installed in the auditorium.
The Shorewood was on the west side of the street. I think the old Kohl’s grocery school was built on its site.

JimRankin on January 7, 2005 at 11:02 am

It should be noted that the SHOREWOOD is named after the northern suburb of Milw. it is in along the shore of Lake Michigan. Some 1940s photos of the facade reveal that the theatre had a 16-foot wide entry, 45 feet back from the curb line, with the island box office at the sidewalk line. Above it was a large, semicircular domed canopy rather than a true marquee, the only name sign being a simple double sided rectangle projecting from a multipaned double casement window and balconette on the second story of the two story building. The other seven bays of the facade were also of mottled brown brick with single equilateral arches, or terra cotta topped triple arches in the center bay of the commercial building. The second floor fenestration was double casement windows, with a mock mansard of Spanish tiles on hips above which was a parapet of rectangular grilles formed of white terra cotta squares set into matching rectangles set into the brown brick with matching white terra cotta coping above. In lieu of a marquee (apparently prohibited by this ritzy, leafy suburb at the time) were two large billboards of a demure design flanking the entry area at the sidewalk line, and evidently illuminated from above. The canopy had a single row of light bulbs about its lower edge and, no doubt, underneath, but no other display lighting is apparent. Nothing is known of the interior.

rivest266 on October 16, 2010 at 1:25 pm

This opened on July 8th, 1927
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galateasca on July 13, 2013 at 12:40 am

This photo, above, is my late grandmother’s apartment (ok, my husband’s grandmother, but mine too!) WOW!

Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois
Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois on July 27, 2013 at 8:10 am




The location is about a mile North of the Milwaukee border, Edgewood Avenue.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 24, 2014 at 4:56 pm

One of the few items about the Shorewood Theatre I’ve found is from the May 11, 1928, issue of The Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle, and it doesn’t mention George Zagel. Instead, it attributes the design of the Shorewood to H. D. Werwath:

The Werwath firm, of which H. D. Werwath is president, has become one of the leading designers and builders in the city of homes of distinction, apartments and theaters. The firm has concentrated its activities in Shorewood, which it has materially aided in becoming one of the finest residential suburbs in the country. The firm designed, and built the beautiful Shorewood Theater building on Oakland avenue, which is regarded architecturally as one of the most distinctive structures of its kind in this state. This building has become Shorewood’s community center, containing besides the theater, a large meeting hall, offices for physicians and dentists, bowling alleys, lunch room, and stores for various types of business. It is in this building that the Werwath firm has its offices and display rooms….“
Advertisements for Werwath appearing in various publications in the late 1920s also usually boast that the firm designed and built the Shorewood Theatre. There is even less information about Werwath on the Internet than there is about Zagel, and I’ve been unable to discover anything about his background.

Some sources say that Zagel frequently worked with builders and often didn’t put his own name on his designs. It is possible that Zagel did work for Werwath on this project, and if he did then it’s also possible that he also worked on the Brin Theatre building in Menasha, which the Wisconsin Historical Society attributes to Werwath. I’d like to see a photo of the Shorewood Theatre to see if it resembles the Brin. The Brin Theatre building does have a fairly close resemblance to some of the apartment and commercial buildings of the period that are known to have been designed by Zagel.

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