Extremely Urgent Update

The City of Racine razed this 1928 historic landmark Feb-March 2021. Below is one of many efforts to save it.


drawing, Capitol Theater, Racine, WI


Capitol/Park Theater, 3015–3021 Washington Ave. Racine Wisconsin

Please help save Racine’s 1928 historic Capitol/Park Theater
Time is short – the City has a raze order on it

UPDATE – Jan 3, 2021

On Dec. 15, 2020: The low bidder was NOT awarded the raze contract because the Common Council sent it to committee for review (Vote: 11-3).
This creates a brief opportunity to save the theater.

So, before the Jan 12, 6.30, meeting, please let the Public Works Commissioners know that there are at least 7 OTHER OPTIONS rather than razing

  1. Defer (table) the raze contract approval
    Debate the need to spend such a large amount ($200,000 of taxpayer money) to end up with an empty lot! This money can be saved – citizens want to repair and restore the building.
  2. Verify the original inspector’s report for specifics vs hearsay, before making a decision
    Before any raze order can be issued, there must be specific reason in the inspector’s report. What specific “dangerous, unsafe, unsanitary” components does it list? (For example, what, precisely, is “falling down”?) Ask this before an irreplaceable, historic landmark building is razed on hearsay and rumors!
  3. Review the licensed architect’s report provided by the Capitol Theater Friends
    This report sets out the building’s actual condition. It does not need to be razed. On-site evaluations show that it is stable and can be restored (even the Chief Building Inspector said it could be repaired, at the Commission meeting, Oct. 28, 2020)
  4. Pause the raze order and work out a plan with the citizens
    The Capitol Friends are waiting to work with the City! Work out a plan to protect, repair, and restore the theater as a historic landmark, public venue and economic benefit to the City.



    If the above options are not possible,
    please consider these LAST RESORT options:




  5. Save just the facade, 2 store fronts and 3 apartments
    Tragically, this would sacrifice the auditorium with its original 1928 stage, decorative proscenium, domed ceiling, arches and more – the prime features of the building’s interior! BUT it would at least preserve the tax-generating sections and the historic street facade.
  6. Save the historic facade alone
    This is done all over the world, with a local example at Elkhorn WI
  7. Architectural Salvage
    A VERY LAST RESORT! Save historic pieces to incorporate in a display at City Hall and the Heritage Museum, or to sell to local businesses and the public. Never just throw away historic treasures!

Remember: This raze order was quoted at almost $200,000 of taxpayer money and will result in an empty lot that no one will buy because of the back-taxes and razing costs attached to it. Since the City already has a debt of $91 million, the City cannot afford to waste this money when citizens can SAVE THIS COST by restoring the building.







  1. City of Racine Residents:
    Call and leave a message, or email the Public Works Commission Alders (contact info, end of this letter): Each of these alders voted YES for Landmark status, and to send the raze contract to committee! Ask them to PLEASE find a way to pause the raze order, table the contract, save $200,000; review the licensed architect’s report of the building’s condition, and/or make a motion to work with the citizens before making the irreversible mistake of razing a loved local historic, landmark building.
    Please contact any City of Racine residents that you know and pass them this message.
    Ask them to call or email all of the alderman (not just theirs, as all alderman vote on this topic.
  2. Everyone:
    Please join us with a pledge in any amount for immediate repairs. The building IS stable, but roof and exterior masonry repairs are needed ASAP. Costs for this first stage are estimated at $103,000. Your pledge will not come due until we have signed contracts for this work.
    Pledge here to show the City there is public support for saving this historic building!



The Public Works Commission meets 6.30 pm, Tue, Jan. 12, 2021
Watch it, City of Racine Facebook page:






Capitol Theater Restoration Committee, Affiliated with the West Racine Alliance (501-c-3 non-profit)




How to contact the Alders on the Public Works Commissions

Letters must be sent BEFORE NOON, Tue. Jan. 12, 2021; sooner is better.
Be sure to include your name and mailing address!
If you want to speak virtually at this meeting, make the request at the top of your letter.

Edwin Santiago, Jr. (262) 822-8302 Edwin.SantiagoJr@cityofracine.org
Henry Perez (262) 676-2364 Henry.Perez@CityofRacine.org
Mollie Jones (Chair) (262) 634-2971 Mollie.Jones@cityofracine.org
Mary Land (262) 456-6585 Mary.Land@cityofracine.org
Jennifer Levie (414) 364-2192 Jennifer.Levie@cityofracine.org
Mayor Cory Mason (262) 636-9111 mayor@cityofracine.org
Copy these people:   clerks@cityofracine.org, John.Rooney@cityofracine.org, Tom.Eeg@cityofracine.org, capitoltheaterfriends@gmail.com

Just highlight and copy this list and paste it into your email “to” field:

Edwin.SantiagoJr@cityofracine.org, Henry.Perez@CityofRacine.org, Mollie.Jones@cityofracine.org, Mary.Land@cityofracine.org, Jennifer.Levie@cityofracine.org, mayor@cityofracine.org, John.Rooney@cityofracine.org, Tom.Eeg@cityofracine.org, clerks@cityofracine.org, capitoltheaterfriends@gmail.com
Summary of Points to mention to the Aldermen
  1. Defer/table razing contract pending further information
  2. Review building inspector’s report
  3. Review licensed architect’s report
  4. Pause raze order and plan with citizens
  5. Save facade, store fronts and apartments
  6. Save facade only
  7. LAST RESORT: require architectural salvage

Les Paul played on this stage in 1930, at age 14! Cool!