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Grand Rex Cinema

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The Capitol Theatre, 3015 Washington Ave., is apparent in this Nov. 17, 1981, book photo. It was afterwards renamed the Park Theater. The Burghal Council voted Jan. 19, 2021, to armamentarium the batter adjustment that will annihilate the 1928 celebrated battleground amphitheater that has been the accountable of altercation amid the burghal and locals who appetite to bottle the building.

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Le Grand Rex – Paris tourist office | grand rex cinema

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In the 5000 block of Washington Avenue, breadth Westgate Cinema stood from 1968 to 2006, now stands a Town Bank annex and may anon angle a Discount Tire store, awaiting approvals.

RACINE — For a few decades in the aboriginal 1900s and into the average of the 20th century, the Burghal of Racine was home to abundant cine theaters. Some of these abundant palaces could bench about 2,000 bodies and were congenital with absurd architectonics and design.

Main Artery was the city’s capital cinema vein, with six theaters on the artery alone; 14 others were broadcast throughout the city, several of those actuality Downtown abreast Capital Street. But as the years went on, every distinct one closed, and a majority of the once-grand cine houses accept been demolished. Aback 2006, burghal association accept had to arch to Sturtevant’s Marcus Renaissance Cinema aloof to see the latest flicks.

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With July’s city-issued annihilation adjustment of the aloft Park Theatre, 3015 Washington Ave., Racine is set to lose addition one of its cinema relics. Congenital in 1928, the Park — which opened as the Capitol — bankrupt in 1987 and has aback collapsed into absolute disrepair.

The Park Theatre, 3015 Washington Ave., has been ordered to be razed by the Burghal of Racine, although there is still a cloister action to go through afore annihilation can begin.

The Park may break continuing for a few months while courts analysis the order, but there is little to no achievement to save the battered theater.

Its fate was aggregate by abounding added bounded theaters.

In the end, adults alone

Downtown’s two largest, best blatant theaters were the Venetian and Rialto. They were amid about appropriate abutting to anniversary added on the east ancillary of the 500 block of Capital Street, beyond from Monument Square.

Monument Square is apparent in this Sept. 13, 1950, photo. Abreast the top of the angel are both the Rialto and Venetian theaters in the atom breadth the Johnson Architectonics now sits.

“They were these big, adorned palace-like theaters,” said bounded blur historian Jim Neibaur, who grew up activity to see films at both in their crumbling years.

The exoteric of the Venetian Theatre is shown. Amid in the 500 block of Capital Street, it was Racine’s better theater.

The Venetian was congenital in the atom of the 400-seat Palace Theatre, which opened in 1916 and was afresh burst in 1927 to accomplish way for the 1,972-seat Venetian, which opened April 11, 1928. Its neighbor, the 1,258-seat Rialto, opened Sept. 21, 1918.

The autogenous of the Venetian Theatre is shown. It could authority added than 1,900 people. Congenital in 1928 and accepted as the “crown jewel” of Racine’s Downtown theaters, the amphitheater was broken bottomward in 1977.

In 1968, the Venetian, 505 Capital St., bankrupt afterwards its buyer bootless to pay the lease. Two Chicago entrepreneurs bought it in 1969 and reopened it in July 1970 as a “youth-oriented ball center” that showed family-friendly films, according to Journal Times archives.

When the amphitheater reopened, it had agitation award an audience. Within a week, it was assuming R-rated and pornographic films. “If the accessible shows it wants the bark film, we’ll accord it to them,” co-owner James Turner said in an Aug. 26, 1970, Journal Times article.

The Venetian bankrupt for acceptable in 1971 and was burst in March 1977.

The Venetian, Racine’s better cine theater, is broken bottomward on March 3, 1977.

The Rialto Theatre, 521 Capital St., aggregate a agnate fate to the Venetian. In 1973, it began alive into licensing issues afterwards it began assuming R-rated “Blaxploitation” and X-rated films. In 1974, it illegally operated afterwards a authorization and its administrator was afterwards arrested by Racine police. Because of this, the burghal never accepted the amphitheater a renewed authorization and it was affected to close.

Grand Rex - Wikipedia

Grand Rex – Wikipedia | grand rex cinema

This 1946 photo shows the 500 block of Capital Street, Racine, breadth the Rialto amphitheater has the cine “Smoky” listed on its marquee. The history of Racine’s Downtown and beach breadth are the focus of new Heritage Walking Tours now offered by the Racine Heritage Museum.

To end the celebrated theater’s 56-year run, the Rialto hosted the Racine Adult Blur Festival, assuming an X-rated blur anniversary night for its final anniversary and capping aggregate off with a screening of “Behind the Blooming Door” on Sept. 2, 1974.

The Rialto was broken bottomward in January 1978.

The Rialto Theatre, one of Racine’s better aloft cinemas, is broken bottomward in this January 1978 photo.

In the Venetian and Rialto’s abode is now the Johnson Building, 555 Capital St.

Nearby amphitheater duo

Just a few blocks north, at the circle of Capital and State streets, was addition brace of abundant theaters.

The aboriginal of those was the 850-seat Rex Theatre, 211 Capital St. It was originally the New Belle Burghal Opera House, which opened Feb. 18, 1890. The Rex opened May 14, 1914. It fell into tax crime in 1930 and bankrupt in 1939. Racine Canton acquired the architectonics in 1940 in a tax seizure.

The Rex Theatre, 211 Capital St., is apparent the day of its reopening in this July 17, 1937, photo. It was originally the New Belle Burghal Opera House which opened May 14, 1914. The amphitheater bankrupt in 1939, and in 1942 it was adapted to a bowling alleyway which operated there until the architectonics was agape bottomward in December 1978 to accomplish way for alleyway improvements.

A bounded agent purchased the architectonics from the canton in 1942 for $3,000 and adapted it into a bowling alley, J & W Lanes, which operated there until the architectonics was agape bottomward in December 1978 to accomplish way for alleyway improvements.

Across the artery was the 1,170-seat RKO Mainstreet Theatre, 200 Capital St. It opened as the Oprheum Theatre on April 29, 1912. A Journal Times commodity proclaimed that the aperture apparent “an aeon in the affected history of Racine.”

The RKO Mainstreet Theatre, 200 Capital St., is apparent in this April 25, 1912, book photo. In this photo, the amphitheater was still alleged the Orpheum. The amphitheater bankrupt in backward 1951 and was broken bottomward in 1958.

The Orpheum reopened Sept. 7, 1930, as the RKO Mainstreet Theatre. It bankrupt in backward 1951. Over the abutting few years, efforts were fabricated to save the amphitheater or animate it as a burghal borough center, but it remained vacant.

The autogenous of the RKO Mainstreet Theatre is apparent in this Aug. 26, 1913, photo.

In July 1958, the burghal issued a annihilation adjustment afterwards the architectonics ambassador apparent the once-magnificent amphitheater had been bargain to a adumbration of its aloft cocky by aggressive vandalism. The Mainstreet was broken bottomward that November.

The Rex Theatre, 211 Capital St., is broken bottomward in this Dec. 11, 1978, book photo. The architectonics had stood aback 1890.

Frequent name changes

One aloft Racine amphitheater stands aloft all others in agreement of the arduous cardinal of name changes it went through.

It is cryptic absolutely aback it opened, but by 1869, Turner Hall had opened as a alive music and amphitheater breadth at the northwest bend of College Avenue and Sixth Street. In 1901, it became the 1,000-seat Wigley Hall. By December 1907 it had afflicted names twice, axis into the Peoples Family Amphitheater and afresh the Globe Theater.

France, Paris, Grand Rex cinema, the aquatic show Stock Photo - Alamy

France, Paris, Grand Rex cinema, the aquatic show Stock Photo – Alamy | grand rex cinema

In 1908, the amphitheater was renamed yet again. It reopened as the College Avenue Orpheum Amphitheater and began assuming bashful films. But because there was the added Orpheum on Capital Street, the College Avenue Orpheum was renamed afresh to the Crystal Theatre in 1913.

Sometime afterwards 1914, the amphitheater closed. It is cryptic aback the architectonics was razed, but the breadth is now a parking lot.

Added Uptown theaters

Though frequently talked about and targeted for restoration, the Uptown Theater, aforetime the Majestic, was not the alone cinema in the Uptown neighborhood.

This added theater, the Grand, was amid hardly east of the Uptown on Junction Avenue. It opened Nov. 10, 1910 and appears to accept bankrupt about March 15, 1928, which was the aftermost day the amphitheater ran its showtimes in The Journal Times. By 1930, it was burst and an auto adjustment boutique was congenital in its place.

Just east of Uptown was addition abstruse theater, the Star Theatre. It was amid on the arctic ancillary of the 1000 block of 16th Artery amid Howe and Racine streets. The Star was congenital in 1913 and operated until 1927, aback it was purchased by SC Johnson and adapted into the JMBA Recreation Hall as allotment of the company’s headquarters.

It backward allotment of SC Johnson until at atomic 1932. Burghal allowance maps announce the architectonics was burst by 1958. A parking lot is now in its place.

No photos of the Grand or the Star are accepted to exist.

In 1926, the buyer of the Star Theatre and co-owner of the Douglas Theatre, 1639 Douglas Ave., appear affairs to accessible addition amphitheater on 16th Street.

The Crown Theatre, 911 16th St., is apparent the day of its aperture in this March 11, 1927, photo.

About a year later, the 900-seat Crown Theatre, 911 16th St., opened to the public. The Journal Times astral it as “a amphitheater august abundant to be the backbiting of kings, bright abundant to be the account of artists and adequate abundant to amuse the ample accessible that wants entertainment.”

The Crown Theatre, 911 16th St., is apparent in this 1935 photo. The amphitheater bankrupt about 1954 and was adapted into retail, accommodation and appointment amplitude in 1964, according to The Journal Times’ archives. It’s not bright aback the anatomy was demolished, but blooming amplitude is in its abode now.

The amphitheater bankrupt about 1954 and was adapted into retail, accommodation and appointment amplitude in 1964. The architectonics was still continuing in 1988, aback it housed a pharmacy. It is not bright aback the anatomy was demolished, but blooming amplitude is in its abode now.

Marcus Theatres’ burst cinemas

Marcus Theatres has operated abounding cinemas in the city, including the Park, Rapids Plaza and Marc. All of those are still continuing — for now — but the two in the burghal best afresh burst were additionally Marcus operations.

When Westgate Cinema, 5101 Washington Ave., opened in 1968, it was the city’s aboriginal new calm amphitheater in 40 years. On top of that, its bifold screens were a about exceptional of affluence at the time.

Neibaur recalled activity to the Westgate, which was originally alleged Cinema 1 and 2, with $1 in his hand. His mother consistently gave him that abundant so he could grab some candy amid bifold features. Aback he paid for his tickets, he was abashed that he got no change back.

“I thought, ‘Oh my God!’ A dollar to see a movie!” he recalled with a laugh.

Though it opened with two screens, the Westgate had bristles aback it bankrupt on Sept. 25, 2006. Its cease fabricated way for the aperture of the Marcus Renaissance Cinema in Sturtevant afterwards that year. The Westgate was burst aftermost July.

France, Paris, Grand Rex cinema Stock Photo - Alamy

France, Paris, Grand Rex cinema Stock Photo – Alamy | grand rex cinema

Anthony Azarian takes a attending central the aloft Westgate Cinema during its annihilation in this July 14, 2017, photo.

After the Westgate closed, the eight-screen Regency Cinema was adapted into Regency Value Cinema. That amphitheater opened with six screens on Feb. 4, 1983, at the northeast bend of the Regency Mall lot, to the arctic of Target.

The Marcus Regency Value Cinema is apparent in this 2009 book photo. It bankrupt and was broken bottomward that year.

It ran as a second-run cinema from 2006 until April 2009. Its cease apparent the end of alive cine theaters in the Burghal of Racine.

The architectonics was broken bottomward that July.

They were elegant, abundant added so than the high-tech multi-plex cine theaters we accept now.  Take a attending aback at Racine’s aloft cine palaces.

The Uptown Amphitheater autogenous is apparent in this October 2012 photo from New York City-based columnist Matt Lambros, who abstracts corrupt theaters through his advancing activity “After The Final Curtain.” The Uptown Amphitheater bankrupt assuredly in 1959, according to The Journal Times archives.

The autogenous of the Venetian Theatre is shown. It could authority added than 1,900 people. Congenital in 1928 and accepted as the “crown jewel” of Racine’s Downtown theaters, the amphitheater was broken bottomward in 1977.

The Capitol Theatre, 3015 Washington Ave., is apparent in this Nov. 17, 1981, book photo. It was afterwards renamed the Park Theater. The Burghal Council voted Jan. 19, 2021, to armamentarium the batter adjustment that will annihilate the 1928 celebrated battleground amphitheater that has been the accountable of altercation amid the burghal and locals who appetite to bottle the building.

The Bijou Theater, 245 Capital St., is apparent ancient in 1906. The amphitheater confused to the 400 block of Capital Artery in 1907. Now, the architectonics houses Divino Gelato Cafe.

The Crown Theatre, 911 16th St., is apparent in this 1935 photo. The amphitheater bankrupt about 1954 and was adapted into retail, accommodation and appointment amplitude in 1964, according to The Journal Times’ archives. It’s not bright aback the anatomy was demolished, but blooming amplitude is in its abode now.

The exoteric of the aloft Granada Theatre, 1921 Charles St., is shown.  The architectonics was purchased in 2015 and is actuality acclimated as a warehouse, according to a 2018 Journal Times account story.

The Douglas Theatre, 1639 Douglas Ave., is apparent Jan. 30, 1926, on its aperture day. The architectonics is about bugged now and houses apartments and a corpuscle buzz store.

The Rapids Plaza Cinema I and II, 2200 Mount Pleasant St., is apparent on Sept. 25, 1992. The amphitheater bankrupt Sept. 27, 1992 afterwards 16 years of screenings. 

The aloft Marc Cinema I and II building, 4111 Durand Ave., now houses Dollar General and Michelle Nails & Spa. It chock-full screening movies afterwards 14 years in 1987.

The RKO Mainstreet Theatre, 200 Capital St., is apparent in this April 25, 1912, book photo. In this photo, the amphitheater was still alleged the Orpheum. The amphitheater bankrupt in backward 1951 and was broken bottomward in 1958.

The Rialto, already amid at 521 Capital St,  is apparent actuality in an undated photograph. The amphitheater was broken bottomward in 1978. In the Venetian and Rialto’s abode s the the Johnson Building, 555 Capital St.

The Rex Theatre, 211 Capital St., is apparent the day of its reopening in this July 17, 1937, photo. It was originally the New Belle Burghal Opera House which opened May 14, 1914. The amphitheater bankrupt in 1939, and in 1942 it was adapted to a bowling alleyway which operated there until the architectonics was agape bottomward in December 1978 to accomplish way for alleyway improvements.

Westgate Cinema is apparent in 2006 afterwards Marcus Corporation appear that it was closing the theater, which had operated aback 1968.

Jurassic Park’ live cinema concert at Grand Rex | grand rex cinema

The Marcus Regency Value Cinema is apparent in this 2009 book photo. It bankrupt and was broken bottomward that year.

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