Wisconsin Theatre

235 W. Grand Avenue,
Wisconsin Rapids, WI 54494

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Additional Info

Architects: Donn Hougen

Nearby Theaters

Postcard with the Wisconsin blade sign circa 1960.

Built in 1917 as a bank. The Wisconsin Theatre opened on February 1, 1939 with Eleanor Powell, Robert Young and George Burns in “Honolulu”. The original seating capacity was for 900 in its single screen, and the theatre was designed by local architect Donn Hougen.

It was owned by Mr & Mrs Eckart, who also operated two other theatres in Wisconsin Rapids, the Rapids Theatre and Palace Theatre. The Wisconsin Theatre was featured in the ‘Best Theatres’ edition of Motion Picture Herald on June 24, 1939.

The Wisconsin Theatre was demolished in February 1995.

Contributed by Ken McIntyre, Paul Goss

Recent comments (view all 9 comments)

kencmcintyre on March 6, 2007 at 4:30 pm

The Wisconsin was remodeled in 1939 to accommodate 900 patrons. It closed in 1984 and was demolished in the mid nineties.

kencmcintyre on March 6, 2007 at 4:45 pm

This article is dated 9/15/60. If you’re only going to take $3, you might as well take some Raisinets at the same time:

Small Amount of Cash Stolen from Theater

Burglars entered the Wisconsin Theater, 235 W. Grand Avenue, some time after the second showing of Wednesday night’s movie, and took $3 in cash from the candy counter money drawer and an unidentified amount of change from a soft drink machine. Entry was made after a flat rock was inserted in the rear door lock mechanism, causing the door to remain unlocked when the theater was closed for the night, according to police.

kencmcintyre on December 27, 2008 at 8:17 pm

Here is a May 1947 ad from the Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune:

Ron_Harris on January 27, 2014 at 10:37 am

From Paul Gross, former projectionist at the Wisconsin Theatre:

The Wisconsin opened February 2, 1939—not June.

The Wisconsin was built new—not remodeled.

Paul just had his 90th birthday and is working on a documentary movie to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the opening of the Wisconsin Theatre.

Unfortunately, the site of the Wisconsin is now a park.

Ron Harris

rivest266 on February 4, 2018 at 4:08 pm

This opened on February 1st, 1939. Grand opening ad in the photo section.

LouRugani on September 13, 2018 at 12:27 pm

The Mead Witter Foundation announced on Sept. 6, 2018 its plans to demolish four buildings on the “Theater Block” in Wisconsin Rapids. The foundation’s first purchase in the Theater Block was the Wisconsin Theatre building that was left vacant by previous owners. The next purchase included the Palace Theatre building that had housed a clothing store that closed. Sieber’s Restaurant offered to sell its building, as did the Potter family who owned two parcels of land. That area became a private park in 2002.

DavidZornig on November 11, 2018 at 8:54 am

1939 souvenir program.


DavidZornig on August 14, 2019 at 9:26 pm

Seven images added.

robboehm on October 31, 2022 at 11:32 am

The building which housed the Wisconsin Theatre was built in 1917 by A. Moorman & Company for the Citizens National Bank. It subsequently served other purposes until it was renovated to become the Wisconsin. I have uploaded an early photo showing the Citizens National Bank name.

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