Bradley Symphony Center

212 W. Wisconsin Avenue,
Milwaukee, WI 53203

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Showing 76 - 100 of 131 comments

bbdoll4ever on December 6, 2006 at 6:49 pm

I have had the great opportunity to tour this incredible theatre and adjoining building a couple weeks ago. I am doing a ficticious design project on restoring the theatre to it’s original luster and transforming the adjacent Centre building from old office spaces into a posh boutique hotel. I established a page on Yahoo Photos to display detail photos of these buildings, please take a moment and look at this design marvel. If I had the $$ I would restore the theatre and Centre building in a heartbeat!! Enjoy!

View link

Any Questions, shoot me an email!!

Patsy on October 23, 2006 at 10:08 am

The interior photos remind me of the Warner in Erie PA and the Warner in Youngstown Ohio. The Warner in Erie is still named the Warner as it should be, imo!

Patsy on October 23, 2006 at 9:59 am

redfishpaw: The 27 interior photos that you posted are absolutely beautiful and it’s a shame that the City of Milwaukee has ignored this theatre with the WARNER name and important connection to theatre history!

redfishpaw on October 23, 2006 at 9:51 am

Here are 27 interior photos which I took in 1995 (at closing).
These were scanned and first appeared online in Sept 2006.

JimRankin on October 9, 2006 at 1:09 am

In response to numerous requests, and because no other sources exist on the Web, I have uploaded a vintage photo of the auditorium at: View link If you get only the first page on the Cinema Tour site for this theatre, merely click on the thumbnail photo to enlarge it on another page along with caption. As time goes on I will upload more views if honcho Adam Martin continues to allow it. I think that you all will agree that the wait has been worth it to see this, perhaps Rapp & Rapp’s finest medium scale work. Let us hope a wealthy person with vision will rescue it, since the entire building is now up for sale, price undisclosed.

JimRankin on August 28, 2006 at 10:04 am

Miss Kari, I will privately E-mail you the E-mail address of Paul Bielik, the principal owner of the land under the theatre and he may possibly be willing to mail you a copy of his photo CD with some 30 images associated with the Warner/Grand. Note that he is a busy man and may not be able to respond to your request for a copy of the disc. But, he may also be able to put you in touch with someone at Marcus Theatres, which still owns the building, as to other images and data and possibly a tour.

Larry Widen may be reached in care of his web site: The 1980 Marquee article about the theatre is photographed on Mr. Bielik’s disc, but my article about the grillework is not on-line, but is available via the Back Issues link on the THSA’s web site: where they sell it for $5 plus shipping; likely you can afford this small amount. My health is getting quite difficult where it is now impossible for me to walk to the mail box and I must sleep about 14 hours daily, so I hope that these others can provide the help I cannot. You might also contact Joeseph DuciBella who is supposedly doing a book about the Rapp brothers and their works, in care of THSA. A Master’s thesis was done about converting the theatre to new use, at the Univ. of Wis.-Milw. a few years back and you might find its 100 pages of some interest, though the author made many mistakes, not being a native Milwaukeean. He resides in New Jersey now and shows no interest in the subject now.

As to photos on Yahoo!, please read their Terms Of Service (a link in fine print at thge bottom of every page on their site) and allow me to direct your attention to Sections 10 and 13 where they make clear that they have the right to delete content that has long terms of inactivity. Thus they are no more gracious than the others who at least have the decency to explicitly state just how long a “period of inactivity” is that will result in deletion. Allow me to point out that any contract (TOS, Privacy Rules, and the like are “tacit contracts by default”) is only as good as your ability to enforce it, and very few people are willing and able to travel to California courts to sue for Breach of Contract. All business know this and so write these glowing ‘contracts’ on their sites. Yahoo! is no different from any other business: they will do ANYTHING, fair or foul to increase profits, and if my photos and others should take up space more profitably taken by others, they will not hesistate to delete such items and are completely guiltless in doing so, as their ‘contract’ makes clear. These are the ‘terms’ one agrees to upon using their site. Therefore I know of no site which guarantees that one’s efforts will be preserved for years, much less in perpetuity, and as soon as they delete my photos for their convenience, all the links to them that I have scattered about become worthless, and in sites such as CT, there is not even a means to change them.

bbdoll4ever on August 28, 2006 at 5:43 am

Hi everyone—

My project has come back into focus for this fall semester. (see comment way above for more info) I am hoping that everyone that has knowledge of this building and its history will help me out. I am excitedly waiting for Larry Widen’s book to come out in September for even more information.

Jim, I hope you will help me out, if I help you out— I know a little while back you were talking about posting your photos online but worried that you’d have to keep them up on a site due to space rental fees— I have had personal photos up on the Yahoo Photos site for over 3 years, and it’s free to use their webspace! Here’s the link directly to the site— View link If you are not already a yahoo user you can sign up, but they have unlimited free storage for photos. You could then link to that site from this site… or something— they have a quick upload tool and everything… :o)

I, in other news, have only found 3 free pictures anywhere on the net.. and 2 of them are modern photos. As a student I really don’t have any cash to put into a project that I am not getting any cash out of. Are you in contact with Larry Widen, or do you have copies of that article out of Marquee that you wrote about the theatre’s grillework? please email me with any help— I have yet to get myself down to Milwaukee to the City Records Center, or SARUP’s resource center at UWM, as I am currently working for the Kohler Co. and residing in Sheboygan… However, I may get down there in the upcoming weeks to further my research.

Any advice or additional help would be much appreciated.

Thanks in advance for everything.

JimRankin on August 12, 2006 at 4:43 pm

Ken may graciously say that he is sorry the photo could not be better focused on the Warner on 2nd St. from this photo looking east from sixth street on Wis. avenue, but he really needn’t be. The sad fact is that in history if we want to see something, we must often put up with less than perfect views, and this nightime winter scene is a case in point. True, it tells us little about the Warner, and better photos do exist; I have a number of them. But in many cases across the country, such as this is all there is, and I applaud the men who bring them to us nonetheless.

Someday when CT has a new PHOTOS arrangement for permanent retention, I will take the great effort in time to upload my images, but until then there remain only the commercial photo exhibit sites, but for all one’s time and effort, they do not guarantee that one’s images will remain without a continual rental fee, and a rich man I am not. It would be too painful to leave a link to them here only to find in a year or so that they were deleted “Due to infrequent viewing.”

kencmcintyre on August 12, 2006 at 9:41 am

I’ll justify the addition of this photo by pointing out the Warner marquee at the far end, but I enjoyed the rest of the photo much more:

Patsy on August 11, 2006 at 11:20 am

Life’s too short: Yes, it does and I intend to say my piece as well.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on August 11, 2006 at 11:06 am

Yes Patsy, I intend to send an email when I get a spare weekend half-hour. It won’t be anything too complicated. It will be a short, respectful, carefully-worded note saying that I support reuse of the Warner Theatre in a historically-sensitive manner along with my contact information. I urge you and anyone else reading to do the same. This sort of action holds weight in political circles.

VincentParisi on August 11, 2006 at 8:38 am

Ken’s photof of downtown Milwaukee is heartbreaking. How beautiful these city centers were. And to think that all the major cities had this.

Patsy on August 11, 2006 at 6:16 am

If the interior was a combination of art deco/french renaissance, it would be great to see an interior photo(s). Hope that someone can provide a photo(s).

Patsy on August 11, 2006 at 6:14 am

Life’s too short: If you are asking for the Mayor’s email, I assume you want to contact him regarding Milwaukee theatres. I think this is great so count me in to send any remarks that are deemed necessary! And to norelco: Are you in a band as you mentioned “supposed to play in that area real soon”?

carolgrau on August 11, 2006 at 4:32 am

Ken mc: great photo, we are supposed to play in that area real soon. I will have to check this out. Thanks again.

JimRankin on August 11, 2006 at 3:13 am

Since I assume you want to contact him regarding our theatres, here it is: His name is Tom Barrett.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on August 11, 2006 at 2:13 am

Jim: do you have an email address for the Mayor’s Office handy?

DavidHurlbutt on August 10, 2006 at 3:33 pm

You should have crossed the river and walked one block south to Wisconsin Avenue where the RIVERSIDE stands and then one block west to see the Warner/Center/Grand.

Patsy on August 10, 2006 at 3:17 pm

ken mc: I’ve never visited Milwaukee though do know folks there and that the city has their annual Summerfest each June and that jazz singer, Al Jareau is from Milwaukee.

kencmcintyre on August 10, 2006 at 3:10 pm

I was in Milwaukee last week, but was only downtown for a few hours. I saw the Pabst theater but didn’t recognize any others, open or closed. We were primarily in the area around Wells Street, by the river.

Patsy on August 10, 2006 at 3:03 pm

ken mc: What a wonderful photo with the vertical WARNER marquee, the trolley car and all of the people!

Patsy on May 12, 2006 at 8:08 am

Jim: Thanks for this important information as I just knew you’d be able to shed some real light onto the subject.

JimRankin on May 12, 2006 at 7:17 am

There is the Milw. County Hist. Soc., but they are a documentarian only and rarely speak pro or con any initiative (tax-supported groups like this are usually as complacent as any bureaucrat and very wary of stepping on the toes of any politician who may have an opinion on the matter, so rarely speak up lest they find themselves or their funding cut).

Several local independent groups have noted the vacancy since 1995 of the Warner/Grand, but all realize that there does not seem to be any local group big enough to restore and operate the 2000+-seat theatre — and possibly also the attached 12-story office building, now mostly vacant. The Symphony wanted to build a virtual concrete ‘sarcophagus’ over the entire theatre to keep out the sound of 2000-watt sirens on emergency vehicles going down Wis. Ave., and this, of course, added many millions to the former plan. So, we cannot take the Symphony’s 50 million dollar estimate as ‘gospel’ since another owner my not be so finicky.

So, no, there is no one advocating for the theatre — least of all its owmer, Marcus Entertainment, who will abandon it in about ten years when the lease runs out. Outsiders must remember that Milwaukee is traditionally a very conservative city, even frugal, and it is now 60% non-White, with most of the movers and shakers living in the suburbs and coming downtown only for entertainment before quickly fleeing back to the burbs. There is, however, a rising population of generation ‘Xers’, or whatever you call them, (as well as some Empty-Nesters) renting and buying condos downtown, but so far no critical mass has formed for the theatre. My health is too poor now that I am 60 years old to lead a movement, and back in ‘95 I did make and hand deliver to Steve Marcus himself an entire illustrated Proposal on how to convert the theatre and office building to a luxury theme hotel WHILE PRESERVING the decor and stage. Marcus’ Bruce Olson responded with a pat-on-the-head letter that they had a “less expensive use client” in the works (the Symphony conversion which is now a dead issue to them.) Marcus company is simply too cheap for the hotel conversion (which would also require building a parking tower next to the theatre), and simply doesn’t care since they now just write-off the approx. $40,000 in yearly expenses against their taxes as operating loss (every corporation wants some losses to make their tax filings look more legitimate).

Don’t look to any government; all are now deeply in debt as industry and wealthy people leave for balmy shores with tax havens galore, leaving mostly the poor and near-poor behind who are unable to pay increasing taxes. Take your photos now, for there is no forseeable money for the GRAND. I weep for this jewel along with you.