Al. Ringling Theatre

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Al Ringling Theatre
The Al. Ringling Theatre
Al. Ringling Theatre is located in Wisconsin
Al. Ringling Theatre
Al. Ringling Theatre is located in the US
Al. Ringling Theatre
Location 136 4th Ave., Baraboo, Wisconsin
Coordinates 43°28′16″N 89°44′37″W / 43.47111°N 89.74361°W / 43.47111; -89.74361Coordinates: 43°28′16″N 89°44′37″W / 43.47111°N 89.74361°W / 43.47111; -89.74361
Built 1915
Architect C.W. Rapp, George L. Rapp
Architectural style Beaux Arts
NRHP Reference # 76000202[1]
Added to NRHP May 17, 1976

The Al. Ringling Theatre in Baraboo, Wisconsin, United States, opened its doors in November 1915 and has been operating continuously ever since. Designed by the architectural firm Rapp and Rapp, it was built by Albert Ringling, one of the circus Ringling Brothers, for $100,000. Over the years, it has featured performances from vaudeville and silent movies to grand opera starring such notables as Lionel Barrymore and Mary Pickford.

The design of the theater is based on the Orpheum Theatre, built by Rapp and Rapp in Champaign, Illinois in 1914. The decor of the auditorium is said to have derived from Ange-Jacques Gabriel's opera house of 1763-1770 in the Palace of Versailles but some believe it to be at least equally based on Victor Louis's 1780 Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux.

Originally the theater had a Style 1 Wurlitzer[2] theater pipe organ. Later a 9 rank, 3 manual Barton with a "circus wagon" style console replaced the Wurlitzer.

The Al Ringling Theater was featured in an episode of PBS's History Detectives, where they investigated whether it was the country's first great movie palace.[3]


  1. ^ National Park Service (2009-03-13). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  2. ^ "Profile of the Mighty Barton Organ!". Al. Ringling Theater. Retrieved 23 Sep 2009. 
  3. ^ "Movie Palace". History Detectives. PBS. Retrieved 23 Sep 2009. 

External links[edit]

The Al. Ringling's Barton theater pipe organ console