Tower Theatre

757 N. 27th Street,
Milwaukee, WI 53233

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wcampbel on January 11, 2015 at 8:53 am

I can remember staying at the hospital one time while the Tower was actually a cafeteria. I thought the remodel was sort of tasteful at that time. I did get a chance to peek into the balcony which at that time was used to store equipment. I wondered recently what had happened to the theatre because driving by the building there was no sign of a theater or cafeteria.

Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois
Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois on August 18, 2013 at 5:17 am

On opening night, May 1, 1926, Bernard Cowham played “LET’S GET ACQUAINTED” at the Console of the Golden Voiced Barton Theater Pipe Organ. It was a $50,000, 3/10, manual/rank, keyboards/sets of pipes, shipped from the Barton factory in Oshkosh, Wisconsin in 1926. Where is the organ now?

Firstime on September 24, 2012 at 2:25 pm

I have so many fond memories of the Tower Theater. i have not realized just how luck I personally am to have been a regular patron of the movie theater known as the Tower Fine Arts Theater. I would go to the theater when there was an “adults only” sign at the ticket booth. I was under aged at the time the theater started showing adult movies. It was fun to see if i could convince the ticket seller of my age. From the time I was fourteen to eighteen year old I only was not sold an admission a half dozen times. My weekly visits kept the place open all those years, LOL. The theater was never crowded, i would say only ten people were in the theater on any given night I attended. To bad city leaders let the neighborhood slip into disrepair. I will cherish my memories of the late 1960’s – early 1970’s.

LouisRugani on October 27, 2008 at 3:23 pm

Reopening the Tower Theater could ignite the redevelopment of North 27th Street in Milwaukee, but the cost of the project makes it a tough play.

The SOHI District, which represents the area south of Highland Avenue, wants to attract a theater troupe to use the space. But the building has been vacant for more than a decade and will need dramatic improvements before it can be used for rehearsals or other events, said Keith Stanley, SOHI District manager.

“I think the cost is the main issue,” he said, adding, “It could be something that turns the corner for the district.”

The SOHI District is trying to bring new development to 27th Street between Highland and St. Paul avenues through streetscape improvements, police cameras and efforts to attract businesses.

Establishing arts communities is a proven way to bring companies to an area, Stanley said, and there’s room for production space and offices in the building.

“We’ve seen places throughout the country â€" that are in the same position we are in â€" use art as a way to promote commercial revitalization,” he said.

A little more than 10 years ago, Milwaukee County bought the Tower Theater with a cluster of buildings that includes two towers now used for county offices, said Jack Takerian, county director of facility management. The county doesn’t use the space, he said.

“There have been some theater companies that have contacted us over the years, interested in the space,” he said. “But nothing has developed.”

Tower’s previous owner, Family Hospital, ripped out many of the seats to make room for a cafeteria and erected walls for offices, Takerian said. The seats must be replaced and the walls removed before it’s a theater again, he said.

“Their thought process,” he said, “was the theater was an open space for them to do a variety of different things.”

The county never planned to use the space as a theater, Takerian said, but welcomes the SOHI District’s help in trying to find a group to use the space.

“That partnership with SOHI â€" Keith and his group â€" is essential to turning that development around,” he said.

Stanley said his group is just starting to hunt for a theater troupe and doesn’t expect the project to turn over quickly.

“It’s a unique building,” he said. “I would hate to lose it, but you never know how things are going to pan out.”

kstan48 on October 24, 2008 at 1:29 pm

Thank you Jim for the write-up. See the video presentation on the Tower Theater, .

Keith Stanley

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on May 8, 2005 at 7:44 am

The Tower Theatre opened on 1st May 1926. It was equipped with a Barton 3Manual/10Rank theatre pipe organ that was opened by Bernard Cowham.

JimRankin on April 13, 2004 at 8:22 am

Please let me know if you learn anything more about this theatre. Thank You. Jim Rankin =