The Historic Pabst Theater

Milwaukee, WI

Hunzinger Construction Company

The Pabst Theater was rapidly built on the ashes of the Stadt Theatre and reopened on November 9, 1895. The theater’s design was considered one of the most innovative of its time: its T-bar counter-weight system was the basis for modern scenery rigging and its cantilevered balconies, which eliminated sight blocking columns, were among the first of their kind. It also was the first “fireproof” theater. The building underwent a complete restoration. Phase One of the Pabst Theater’s restoration included underpinning of the building’s east wall to restore structural integrity. Phase Two, completed in early 2002, consisted of the addition of a winter garden and lobby expansion, installation of elevators serving all levels, replacement and upgrading of the building’s mechanical and electrical systems, along with the complete replacement and redesign of the gallery seating level. Exterior renovations consisted of tuck-pointing, painting, roof replacement, window retrofit, and fabrication of ornamental iron elements to match the existing detailing.