Milwaukee Theatre

Click the image to learn more. This photograph of the building that became the Milwaukee Theatre also illustrates the streetcar tracks of Milwaukee in the early 20th century.

The Milwaukee Auditorium opened in 1909[1] at 500 W. Kilbourn Ave., replacing the Exposition Building.[2] Operating under a public-private partnership,[3] it became Milwaukee’s major public spectator facility.[4] The main hall originally accommodated more than 8,000 people. It served as a venue for events including religious revivals, the arts, sport, and sociability.[5] In 1912, after a failed assassination attempt on Theodore Roosevelt, the Auditorium hosted the former president’s campaign rally before he sought medical treatment.[6] In 2001 the Auditorium closed for renovations.[7] It reopened as the Milwaukee Theatre in 2003, with its original murals portraying local history intact.[8] Now seating an audience of 4,086,[9] it continues to host a variety of events, from a Radio City Music Hall show[10] to political rallies.[11] In 2017, the Milwaukee Theatre was renamed the Miller High Life Theatre.[12]

Footnotes [+]

  1. ^Milwaukee’s Auditorium Is a Town Hall of Real Democracy,” The Milwaukee Journal, September 10, 1922, accessed December 28, 2013; Tom Strini, “Curtain Going Up,” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, November 6, 2003, accessed January 3, 2014; John Gurda, Cream City Chronicles: Stories of Milwaukee’s Past (Madison, WI: Wisconsin Historical Society, 2007), 157.
  2. ^Milwaukee Auditorium Headache,” The Milwaukee Journal, February 19, 1936, accessed December 28, 2014.
  3. ^Milwaukee Auditorium Headache.”
  4. ^ Gurda, Cream City Chronicles, 157.
  5. ^Milwaukee Auditorium is a Town Hall of Real Democracy.”
  6. ^ William J. Foley, M.D., “Theodore Roosevelt and the Assassin’s Bullet,” The Milwaukee Journal, May 19, 1972, accessed January 3, 2014; “Roosevelt Shot at Hotel in Milwaukee,” Gettysburg Times, October 15, 1912, accessed January 3, 2014; The Wisconsin Center District, “WCD Facilities Have a 100-Year History of Events,” The Wisconsin Center District, accessed December 28, 2013.
  7. ^ The Wisconsin Center District, “WCD Facilities”; Strini, “Curtain Going Up.”
  8. ^ Strini, “Curtain Going Up.”
  9. ^ The Wisconsin Center District, “WCD Facilities.”
  10. ^ Strini, “Curtain Going Up.”
  11. ^ The Wisconsin Center District, “WCD Facilities.”
  12. ^ Rich Kirchen, “Miller High Life Theatre Signs Installed at Former Milwaukee Theatre,” Milwaukee Business Journal, April 27, 2017, last accessed March 6, 2018.

For Further Reading

Bruce, William George. A Detailed Description of the Auditorium Building and a Brief Historic Review of the Labors and Incidents Leading to the Erection of the Same. Milwaukee: Auditorium Governing Board, 1909.

Strini, Tom. “Curtain Going Up.” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. November 6, 2003. Accessed January 3, 2014.

The Wisconsin Center District. “WCD Facilities Have a 100-Year History of Events.” The Wisconsin Center District. 2014. Accessed December 28, 2013.


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