Movie Palace

The Case:

Is it possible that a theater in the small town of Baraboo, Wisconsin, could have been the country's first great movie palace?

The exquisite theater, was built by circus impresario and local resident, Al Ringling, as a thank-you to the town that had always supported him. It was designed in 1915 by Chicago architects C.W. and George Rapp, and is a masterpiece in the style of the great French opera houses.

But at the time Baraboo had a population of less than a thousand.

Why was such an ornate theater erected in such an obscure location, and how has it stayed relevant throughout the years?

The History Detectives enlist the help of the Theatre Historical Society of America to solve the mystery of this grand edifice. 

Discuss this story

Season 1, Episode 2

Elyse Luray Detective:
Gwen Wright Location:
Baraboo, Wisconsin

Related Content


This is a place for opinions, comments, questions and discussion; a place where viewers of History Detectives can express their points of view and connect with others who value history. We ask that posters be polite and respectful of all opinions. History Detectives reserves the right to delete comments that don’t conform to this conduct. We will not respond to every post, but will do our best to answer specific questions, or address an error.


blog comments powered by Disqus