225 State Street,
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Architects: Edward Tough
The Varsity Theatre was opened by W.L. Furman and R.L. Thacher on September 10, 1914. Its formal opening was held two nights later. Furman and Thacher used the motto “Safety First” for this and its near-twin theatre in Green Bay, the Strand Theatre. Both houses were designed by architect Edward Tough of Madison, Wisconsin. The programming policy of the theatre was “the loch key’s out to you” which translated to Madison’s first theatre with continuous shows running every day from 10:30am to 10:30pm at just five cents admission.
The grind house changed its programming five days a week. Furman left the business within a year. The theatre never gained much traction and appears to have ceased operations in December of 1917. In 1918, the theatre was retrofitted for a retail music and later shoe store. The building was one of five business razed in 1942 for a new-build Montgomery Ward’s retail store.
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