The Al Ringling theatre was in fact owned by Al of the Ringling Brothers Circus. He picked the Rapp and Rapp architectural firm of Chicago to design the theatre in the French Renaissance style. It was meant to be the one of the largest and finest theaters in Baraboo, Wisconsin. It opened its grand opera doors in November 1915 and has been in continuous operation since.
Al Ringling built the beautiful theater in Baraboo as a gift as he grew up there and loved the town so much. The theater did begin with opera, but soon shifted to vaudeville and later to silent movies, showcasing such talents as Lionel Barrymore and Mary Pickford. Originally built as an opera house, it was converted to a movie theater years later. It is also still in use for area theatrical performances, movies, and many other local events. It has certainly kept up with the times and the beautifully ornate Ringling Theatre has held up well throughout the years.
Al Ringling Theatre has been on PBS’ History Detectives as well as many other media sources. I am surprised I have not heard of it before myself. However, it is now on my list of awesome places in America!
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