Fox Theatre

1718 Wisconsin Street,
Marinette, WI 54143

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Ascher Brothers Inc., Fox Wisconsin Circuit, Thomas Theatre Group

Previous Names: Turner Opera House, Marinette Theatre

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Fox Theatre

The Turner Opera House was opened on October 8, 1891. It was renamed Marinette Theatre in 1912 and became a movie theatre. In 1914 it was operated by the Ascher Brothers Inc. On November 23, 1929 it was renamed Fox Theatre with seating listed at 700. The theatre was about a block and a half from the smaller Bijou Theatre. This was one of three theatres in downtown Marinette operated by Fox Theatres.

The Fox Theatre was owned by Fox Wisconsin Theatres thru 1950 when it then became part of the Thomas Theatres. The theatre was still open in September 1966, but had closed by 1967 when it was reported the roof had partly caved in and the building was demolished.

Contributed by Chuck

Recent comments (view all 3 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 8, 2021 at 9:55 pm

Typo in the heading: Should be Vine Street, not Vince Street.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 9, 2021 at 12:21 am

A headline in the Marinette Star November 22, 1929 reads “Fox Theater Opens Tomorrow At 6 PM–Built In Spanish Renaissance Style–Replica Of Place” (the paper itself is not available online, only the headlines.)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 9, 2021 at 8:38 pm

A document from Spies Public Library of Menominee gives the address of the Fox Theatre as 1718 Wisconsin Street. Vine Street is little more than an alley that runs between Liberty Street and Wisconsin Street, south of Main Street and North of Stephenson Street. 1701 would be at the Wisconsin Street end of the block. I suspect that the address 1701 Vine was actually the stage door of the Fox, as the entrance was at the corner of Stephenson Street and Wisconsin Street.

A headline in the Marinette Eagle-Star of May 20, 1967 said “Fox Theater was formerly Marinette Opera House.” Marinette actually had two opera houses built in the 19th century: the Stephenson Opera House, on Hall Street at Stephenson, opened in 1879, and the Turner Opera House, opened in 1891 at the corner of Stephenson and Wisconsin Street. It was the Turner that became the Fox.

Various headlines in the Marinette Eagle sketch the building’s early history. The October 3, 1891 issue said that the new Turner Opera House would be dedicated on October 8. The October 31, 1898 issue said that the Turner Opera House had been sold to James Scott, who intended to improve it. That year’s Cahn guide listed the Turner Opera House at Marinette, but the 1899-1900 edition lists the Scott Opera House. James Scott died in 1908, and in 1911 the March 4 Eagle reported that the house had been sold. The 1912 Cahn guide listed the house as the Marinette Theatre. The April 4 edition of the Eagle that year said that the Marinette Theater would show “continuous motion pictures.”

Madagin and Louerman, owners of the Bijou Theatre, had taken control of the Marinette, and the February 26, 1914 Eagle reported that they had leased both houses to the Ascher Bros. circuit of Chicago. The 1914-1915 American Motion Picture Directory listed both the Bijou and Marinette, and the Marinette was listed in FDY’s through 1929. In 1930 the Marinette is gone from the FDY, replaced by the Fox.

The rebuilding as the Fox must have been extensive. The one photo we have of the Fox shows the entrance on the corner of the building, while historic photos of the Opera House show the entrance in the center of the building on the Stephenson Street side. The Turner/Scott/Marinette had been listed in Theatrical guides as an upstairs theater, but the Fox was a ground floor house. Unfortunately the Eagle headlines are silent on the subject of the conversion to a ground floor theater, so I don’t know if it was done by Fox or at some point when the house was under the Ascher Bros. control.

In any case, the Fox endured for almost four more decades. The November 13, 1959 edition of the Eagle included an illustrated supplement commemorating the Fox’s thirtieth anniversary. The theater was still operating in September, 1966, when the paper sponsored an event there, but the end came in 1967, when the headline in the September 6 issue of the Eagle read “Fox Theater Whose Roof Partly Caved In, June, Is Razed.”

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