Badger Theatre

311 E. Grand Avenue,
Eau Claire, WI 54701

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Paramount Pictures Inc.

Architects: Jack J. Liebenberg

Firms: Liebenberg and Kaplan

Styles: Art Deco

Previous Names: Wisconsin Theatre

Nearby Theaters

Badger Theatre

This downtown Eau Claire theatre opened on November 23, 1925 as the Wisconsin Theatre, located on Grand Avenue at Barstow Street. The opening program included the feature movie “California Straight Ahead” starring Reginald Denny. Organist Stanley Anstett opened the Smith organ. It was remodeled in 1938 to the plans of architectural firm Liebenberg & Kaplan and on December 25, 1938 the Wisconsin Theatre was renamed the Badger Theatre and was taken over by Paramount Pictures Inc. through their subsidiary John Friedl. It continued to operate until 1957. The theatre was torn down in 1966.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 6 comments)

kenosharay on March 23, 2008 at 5:31 pm

I remember going to Saturday kid’s matinees at this theatre. They always had cartoons, a serial and a movie. Before the show they would have contests in the front of the theatre in which you could win prizes. After it closed as a theatre, the floor was leveled and it was a youth recreation center for a short period. Later it was used for a small boat show. I remember attending it and seeing the brightly lit auditorium with hardly remnants of a movie theatre except for the small balcony which was still intact with theatre seats.

kdadq on May 5, 2008 at 10:09 am

I also remember the Saturday cowboy matinees, only 12 cents. There
was a weekly newsreel that took forever when I was waiting for Trigger and Roy Rogers, Tom Mix, Gene Autry, or the Lone Ranger with Silver and Tonto.

Now I’m trying to find my mom’s story. Zona Turk was the pianist for one of the movie theaters, and I suspect it may be the Badger. She was once engaged to a young man who died after a fall from a ladder as he was changing the marquee at the Badger(Wisconsin). That incident would have been 1925 or 1926.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 5, 2012 at 4:08 pm

This house was remodeled by Liebenberg & Kaplan in 1938, and is listed as the Badger Theatre in the finding aid to the Liebenberg & Kaplan papers at the University of Minnesota.

rivest266 on January 28, 2018 at 7:57 am

This opened as Wisconsin on November 23rd, 1925 and as Badger on December 25th, 1938. Both grand opening ads in the photo section.

50sSNIPES on September 22, 2020 at 1:51 pm

I Almost Laughed At One Attraction While Looking For Random Looney Tunes Cartoons Off Of The Newspapers Website. Unfortunately One Time, The Wisconsin Theatre On October 28, 1933 Completely Almost Refused To Screen “What’s Price Innocence” Along With Buddy’s First Looney Tune “Buddy’s Day Out” (Only Cartoon With Pre-Beta Characters And Only Appearances Of Cookie’s Baby Brother Elmer And Buddy’s Dog Happy) And A Pathe Newsreel. I Quote On This And Said: “Can The Children ONLY See The Cartoon AND The News Instead Of The Movie”?

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 22, 2020 at 4:42 pm

Liebenberg & Kaplan were the architects for the 1938 remodeling.

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