Zenith Theatre

2498 W. Hopkins Street,
Milwaukee, WI 53206

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kencmcintyre on June 14, 2008 at 5:20 pm

The correct address is 2948 W. Hopkins.

kencmcintyre on November 2, 2007 at 9:47 am

In 1945, the Milwaukee directory listed the Zenith at 2498 W. Hopkins, as opposed to North. I don’t know much about Milwaukee geography, so perhaps someone knows if Hopkins runs north-south or east-west.

Broan on October 8, 2007 at 9:57 pm

Recent photos of this theatre are HERE

GeorgeStrum on August 4, 2007 at 9:04 am

This theatre became a church in 1954. It is now run by Pastor Lewis. The building is in need of work and repairs. The church will gladly accept donations to help in this.

JimRankin on December 30, 2006 at 11:43 pm

I have been told that a FULL COLOR antique rendering/painting of the auditorium has appeared, for sale, at Riverview Antiques shop here, at 175 S Water Street. It is said to be “absolutely breathtaking” by Hugh Swofford, so not only are such renderings rare, but in this case, beautiful as well, but at an asking proce of $680 it should be. Of course, no price is cast in stone, so one might get it for a lot less. It is already framed, but dimensions were not known. It may have made an excellent color cover photo (or 2-page spread, or foldout) for Larry Widen’s new book about Milw. theatres: “Silver Screens,” but perhaps he hadn’t seen this. If you’ve always wanted a genuine antique architectural painting for your wall, don’t pass up this rare opportunity! (Then someday you could photograph it and post that image here!)

deleted user
[Deleted] on September 4, 2006 at 1:48 pm

Thanks, Jim. I’m actually in upstate N.Y. and also probably will not be able to make the THSA convention (unfortunately). I will check out Mr. Wilden’s website as see what I can find. I apprerciate the info.

JimRankin on September 3, 2006 at 6:34 pm

Mike, this is nice to know, especially if we can confirm it. That may be possible next summer if you can go to the Theatre Historical Society’s convention in Milw.; see details to appear on their site at: www.historictheatres.org The former ZENITH will be toured at that time, but my health does not permit me to go, so we all will have to rely upon you to investigate then.

Did you know that Larry Widen’s long-awaited sequel to his 1986 Milwaukee Movie Palaces is now out at: http://tinyurl.com/jlvmu ? I haven’t seen the book yet, but I doubt he will mention a Violano Virtuoso unit even if he knew about it, but that would have made a nice tidbit for his book. I have only seen one such Virtuoso unit playing: at the House-On-The-Rock west of Madison many years ago, and found it and the music it was playing fascinating!

If you are in the So. Wis. area and would like me to put you on my Local Theatres Buffs list for the occasional bulletins I send out, click on my name in blue below and find my address under CONTACT and e-mail me your address.

deleted user
[Deleted] on September 3, 2006 at 5:23 pm

Jim, I found out an interesting tidbit of information about the Kilgen organ in this theater. It was apparently equipped with a Mills Violano Virtuoso unit . The Violano Virtuoso was a player piano-type machine that played a real violin. I was told by a fellow mechanical music enthusiast that Kilgen had some of their theater organs equipped with these unusual devices. He wasn’t sure if the Kilgen still resides in the theater, or if the Violano attachment is still there.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on May 8, 2005 at 7:31 am

The Zenith Theatre opened on 29th November 1927 with the movie “Broadway Madness” starring Marguerite De La Motte and Donald Keith. It was equipped with a Kilgen theatre pipe organ.

JimRankin on June 10, 2004 at 9:49 am

If you learn anything more about this theatre, please let me know: