Burleigh Theatre

925 W. Burleigh Street,
Milwaukee, WI 53206

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Additional Info

Architects: Arthur Swager

Functions: Church

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Burleigh Theatre, Milwaukee, WI

The Burleigh Theatre opened in 1915 on Burleigh Street near Ninth Street. The movie house remained in operation until 1957. A church now occupies the one-time theater.

Contributed by Bryan

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

JimRankin on January 12, 2005 at 7:02 am

I can only add that this 800-seat theatre was designed by Arthur Swager, and had a two manual, eight rank theatre pipe organ of unknown make. If you learn more about this theatre named after the street it is on which was named to honor a New Hampshire lawyer of the local land developer in 1856, please post it here.

wangerin214 on June 24, 2005 at 6:08 am

The theatre had a Barton Pipe Organ.

cison on January 15, 2006 at 11:32 pm

My maternal great-grandfather, Paul Langheinrich Sr., became interested in the motion picture industry with the construction of the Burleigh Theater – in 1914 – and became the theater’s owner. Eventually my grandfather, Paul Jr., owned and operated the theater -along with his brother George. (My grandfather used to play the piano for the silent films). My mother has fond memories of growing up along with every Sunday matinee. Several years ago we learned that the beautiful old pipe organ was sold – “for parts.”

Any information, thoughts/comments may be addressed to me – Claudia -at

JimRankin on January 16, 2006 at 4:08 am

For well over 50 years, the name of this street and its theater was pronounced BUR-li, as it is today and probably was when the English name originated centuries ago, but recent evidence comes to light suggesting that in the mid-nineteenth century the name was pronounced ‘BUR-lee’, whether accurately or not. Kind of reminds one of the “Burlies” of that era, the word being a bastardized version of “Burlesque”, the more unsavory version of vaudeville. Milwaukee did have a few ‘Burlies’ around the turn of the century, but there is no evidence that this ‘photoplay parlor’ ever showed such very live action, nor any films of ill repute.

cison on January 18, 2006 at 9:26 am

Thank you Mr. Rankin, for your interesting/informative comments!

My mother is now 75 years old. She tells me that at one time, there was live entertainment on the Burleigh Theater stage – comedians, for example. She has memories of viewing the dressing rooms, backstage. To her knowledge, there were never any burlesque shows at the theater.

My mom also tells me that the pronunciation, BUR-lee, is the English pronunciation of Burleigh – not necessarily having anything to do with the “Burlies” of burlesque fame. She remembers hearing certain Milwaukee bus drivers, prior to arriving at a bus stop, call out the name using the BUR-lee pronunciation. This was in the era of the 1940’s.

Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois
Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois on July 15, 2013 at 6:31 am

That Barton Theater Pipe Organ was a 2/6, manual/rank, keyboard/sets of pipes, made in Oshkosh, Wisconsin and shipped the 81 miles in 1924. To bad it was sold for parts does anyone know what happened to the console?

dejstewart360 on April 1, 2014 at 4:02 pm

My grandmother & grandfather purchased the building and started a wonderful church for 20+ years .. I grew up there .. always scared of the basement .. upstairs n the side stairs. .. I wish I can see older pictures

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