The Retlaw Theatre held it’s grand opening festivities on December 26, 1925 to a packed house of vaudeville lovers. We are learning that Louis Grell may have decorated the interior of the theatre and also painted two, ten foot tall by twenty-five foot long landscape murals entitled Italian Lakes. Based on photographs and Grell’s travels while painting in Italy around 1912, before the war.
The original owner was Walter (Retlaw spelled backwards) Schroeder, who engaged the services of Chicago based Rapp & Rapp Architects, for whom Grell decorated many theaters. The original cost was one and a half million dollars in 1925. Schroeder hired John and Thomas Saxe to mange and operate the theatre.
“The paintings are the work of a Chicago artist who also supervised the decorating of the theatre.”
Click on link above to read the October 25, 2014 Fond du Lac Reporter article written by Carlos Munoz on the Retlaw demolition and saving the murals.
Research and historic images provided by Carlos Munoz of the Fond du Lac Reporter. Color photographs by Patrick Flood Photography. THANKS!