505 Main Street,
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Firms: United Studios, Inc.
Built on the site of the Palace Theatre, the Venetian Theatre was similar to the Venetian Theatre in Milwaukee, and also built by Universal Pictures' short-lived theatre circuit. Racine’s Venetian Theatre was a larger and more sumptuous Atmospheric style, designed by United Studios of Chicago in an Italian Renaissance style that seemed to have some Ancient Roman thrown in. The rear section of seats in the large balcony was covered by a portico supported by columns. A long entrance lobby was two stories high, with a beamed ceiling.
The Venetian Theatre opened on April 12, 1928 with Laura LaPlante in “Thanks for the Buggy Ride” on the screen and vaudeville on the stage.
Over the years, the Venetian Theatre passed through several ownerships, but was always one of Racine’s top theatres. But by 1971, the city’s downtown area had declined to such an extent that the Venetian Theatre was forced to close. It stood empty until demolished in 1977.
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