Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Look inside this crumbling Racine theater before it's gone forever

Certainly the Racine Majestic/Uptown Theater has seen better days, and indeed better days are ahead for the building as it will renovated for a new use, but it's worth taking a final look at the 1928 theater and imagining its former grandeur.

It earned its reputation as a "movie palace."

"Uptown is one of three survivors of four movie palaces that opened in Racine in 1928, a golden age of theater building that came crashing down with the stock market in 1929," writes OnMilwaukee's Bobby Tanzilo.

"As was common, the 1,292-seat theater was built to accommodate both live performances provided by traveling vaudevillians and the screening of moving pictures," he adds.

Sadly, the last 93 years haven't been kind to the theater's structure; compare the photo above to the ones below, and you can see just how bad things are inside.

But the future is bright, not only for the theater building but also for the neighborhood where it is located. Current owner Tom Paschen is actively working to clear the building out, complete the necessary repairs and reopen the space as a food hall and apartments in Racine's Uptown neighborhood. While he doesn't have a firm timeline to announce yet, he does have vision for the impact he wants to make in Uptown.

"The perception is that it's not as nice as downtown, that it's not as safe as other places,” he says, “but when I say perception problem, I mean just literally that. It's actually fine. Uptown is nice, it's safe. We don't have big problems here," Paschen says, quoted in OnMilwaukee.

Bobby fills me in on the plans in this week's podcast, plus we learn a bit more about the history of The Majestic's glory days. Listen to the podcast below, and visit OnMilwaukee for more history and photos.

Director of Digital Content | Radio Milwaukee