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Uptown Theater (Racine, Wisconsin) facts for kids

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Uptown Theater, Racine,WI
The Uptown Theater, as it appeared in 2012.

The Uptown Theater was a movie theater designed by Wade B. Denham and built in 1928 in the Uptown neighborhood of Racine, Wisconsin.

Operating history

The building first opened on May 2, 1928, as a live theater, sponsored by businessman Ernst Klinkert., and known as the Majestic Theater. Its single stage with 1,292 seats was built on a hillside, using the natural slope of the land in its design. The building included eight apartments, for actors to stay in during runs. The Majestic Theater closed in 1930, but it was converted into a cinema, and it reopened in 1940, now called the Uptown Theater. It closed once again in 1953, but reopened again the next year, before permanently closing at the end of 1959.

History after closing

After the Uptown Theater closed, its lobby was converted into retail space which became the Avenue Frame Shop. This store remained open for decades, but has recently closed. In 1981, a group called Preservation Racine set out to restore some of the city's former landmarks, including the Uptown, and in 1982, with their support, it was listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

The idea of restoring and reopening the theater was promoted by the non-profit Uptown Theater Group, which was formed in 2001. For Halloween in 2001, the Uptown Theater Group sponsored a haunted house attraction inside the abandoned theater. The haunted house was a fundraising event to promote awareness and support a renovation of the Uptown Theater. In 2002, the Uptown Theater Group planned to hold another haunted house fundraiser at the site, but could not obtain the proper permits from the city of Racine. As a last resort, the organizers rented out a banquet hall adjacent to the theater.

As of 2015, the Uptown Theater remains abandoned.

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