Opened September 1, 1927, the Kenosha Theatre was designed by architect Larry P. Larson and was commissioned by Carl Laemmle, the founder of Universal Studios, to be operated by the Universal Pictures chain.
It was decided that the Kenosha Theatre would eclipse any theater built in the past or currently being built in the Milwaukee theater circuit. Many months of design effort and sketches were put into the project before it was decided that the theater be built in the motif of a Spanish castle. Then in 1928, the theater fell victim to a robbery orchestrated by its own night watchman.
The 2300-seat theater, the auditorium ceiling was painted a dark navy blue and covered with lights that were meant to look like stars. This gave patrons the illusion that they were sitting in a courtyard under the night sky while watching a film.
The theater served the community for 36 years before being closed in 1963. Since that time it was used for a time as a warehouse and also as a flea market but for the majority of time it has remained vacant. In 1983 the theater was purchased by Kenosha Theatre Development. The group repaired the storefronts and the apartments attached to the building to help generate funds towards restoration of the theater. The building is now being restored, with hopes of transforming it into a performing arts facility.