The Uptown Theatre opened as the Majestic Theatre on May 2, 1928 in Racine, Wisconsin. The 1,300 seat theater was designed by local architect B. Wade Denham for owner Ernst Klinkert. The interior was designed in the Gothic style — as many theaters at the time were in the Adamesque style, Gothic, a style usually used in churches, was an unusual choice. Denham was praised for using a hillside location to achieve full stage visibility from any seat in the auditorium. In addition to the theater itself, the building also had eight apartments to house the actors when the theater was showing plays and musicals. The Majestic closed in 1930, two years after it opened.
The theater reopened in 1940 as the Uptown Theatre, named after the area of Racine where the theater was built. It closed again in 1953, reopened the next year and closed permanently in late December of 1959. Only the retail spaces in the front of the building have been used continuously.
The Uptown was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. The Uptown Theater Group, a non-profit organization, was formed in 2001 to try to restore the theater. Plans called for the theater to be used as a performing arts center. The Group started a haunted house called the “Haunted Theater” to try to raise funds for the restoration. In early November of 2002, a fundraising party held at a local banquet hall was broken up by local police due to tips that drugs were being sold at the event. Some say that this incident discredited the Group, which prevented it from achieving its fundraising goals. The Uptown Theatre remains abandoned, and no plans are in development for its restoration.
9 thoughts on “Uptown (Majestic) Theatre”
What a beautiful space, I hope someone will take it on and restore it someday. It would be a shame to lose it.
I hope too…
I hope someone takes this and restore it
Nice space to restore
It’s in a very depressed neighborhood. I’ve been in the Majestic since it was closed and it looked much worse than this. I hope that these pictures are newer and show that it has been cleaned up some.
The pictures are a few years old now, so it may have been cleaned up since you were there.
Incredible stories of America, architecture and the movie business.
Marvelous stories of America, our architecture and the movie businesss.
I toured it in 1981 as part of a Preservation Racine project.