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Mabel Tainter Theater –
Haunted Place: Mabel
205 Main Street East
Menomonie, Wisconsin 54751
The Mabel Tainter Theater is located in the
historical part of down town Menomonie, on Main Street East,
between 3rd Street and second Street. Main Street E comes
off of Crescent Street, which forks into two streets;
Crescent Street veers to the right and Main Street E veers to the
left.The Mabel Tainter Theater is just south of the
University of Wisconsin Stout.
DESCRIPTION and HISTORY
The Mabel Tainter Memorial Theater is a
non-profit organization who collects over half of their operating
funds from the "generous donations from local businesses,
individuals, and government agencies." With the money raised, this
theater offers "a full performing arts season, year-round rotating
art exhibits, outreach programs to children, and an all-around
fascinating cultural experience."
On our 2007 trip, Tom and I went by for a
visit. Though it was closed due to a major restoration project,
funded by a huge grant from 3M Company and individual
contributions, Tom slipped in an open door and got some quick shots
of the interior, tap dancing his way by a nice theater worker
involved with the reconstruction, long enough to get some quick
pictures. The theater is scheduled to be open for business during
the fall of 2007.
The Mabel Tainter Theater reflects
the love and dedication of parents for their child who died too
young, and a strong desire to contribute to the moral and social
welfare of the community. Captain Andrew and Bertha Tainter
suffered the loss of their beloved, 19 year old daughter, Mabel in
1886. At the urging of their pastor, Henry Maxton, Captain Andrew
and Bertha Tainter decided to build a Theater for not only the good
of the community, but also in tribute and memory of Mabel, because
Mabel loved the dramatic arts. This wealthy lumber magnate spared
It's not surprising then, that The
Mabel Tainter Theater is a glorious 2 -3 story building, built out
of Dunville sandstone in the Richardsonian Romanesque style
with handsome touches done in the Moorish style, complete
with round tower-like structures on either end of the building. The
architect, Harvey Ellis was commissioned to create the "curved
surfaces, combination of articles, and hand-carved details" around
the entrance to the building.
Inside is truly beautiful, reminding
the visitor of a Moorish palace, full of the best of materials used
to create a lovely memorial to a special daughter. The walls and
ceilings of his 313 seat Theater are decorated with hand-stenciled,
Moorish designs, rounded windows, and brass, hammered with designs.
Also the lovely additions of a marble staircase, marble floors,
leaded, designed windows, beautifully crafted oak and walnut
woodwork, and intricately decorated box seats, complete with
curtains adorn the inside. Within the interior of the
building, there are 4 fireplaces, each made of a different
stone/technique. There is also a 1,597 pipe, Steere and Turner
tracker organ which is in working order.
This Theater has long served the
community throughout the 20h century, as well as the 21st. From the
beginning, the building was not only a theater, but also the home
of the Tainter's faith, The Unitarian Society of Menomonie, led by
Rev. Maxton, which still to this day have a reading room in The
Mabel Tainter Theater.
The Mabel Tainter Memorial
Theater is a non-profit organization who collects over half
of their operating funds from the "generous donations from local
businesses, individuals, and government agencies." With the money
raised, this theater offers "a full performing arts season,
year-round rotating art exhibits, outreach programs to children,
and an all-around fascinating cultural experience."
HISTORY OF MANIFESTATIONS:
It is not known who specifically haunts
this theater, only that there is a female entity, and others
Mabel Tainter - The favorite theory is that
this entity is the Tainter's daughter, Mabel, who died as a
young woman, at an age when she wasn't ready to die. Though
it was built and opened in 1890, 4 years after she died, it is felt
by some that Mabel somehow has latched onto this building which was
built in her memory and offers what she loved during life;
theatrical and musical performances, and art activities.
Mother of Mabel Tainter - May be the female
entity floating around, keeping an eye on the Theater, perhaps not
quite ready to let go of a place which gave her so much comfort in
her terrible loss.
There have been no deaths in the building
itself, meaning that this female entity who haunts this place died
someplace else. There are other possibilities to think
Perhaps a young co-ed from the University
of Wisconsin located just behind the theater had an unfortunate
demise and was drawn to the beauty and activity of this beloved
Perhaps a young performer, a young
Unitarian woman or a young patron who died decided to spend her
after-life in this glorious building instead of going on to
the other side.
Theaters are often haunted by entities with
an attachment to the theater in question. The Mabel Tainter
Theater seems to have a few other entities who prefer to stay
earthbound, hanging around the building.
Entity of the woman:
One staff member who was working one evening on the second floor
of the theater, was surprised by a female entity dressed in
white, floating right past him, going about her business.
Women's bathroom attendants have seen an entity of a young
woman walking into and out of the downstairs bathroom,. This same
entity has been seen looking at herself in the mirror, with a
curious look on her face.
Other entities who stay here....
One entity likes to play with the sound
equipment:Perhaps a past employee?
Sound boards readied for the next day's
show, would be changed when the sound engineer came in the day of
An entity still enjoys the reading
room/library and puttering around the old storage room.
A strange light has been seen in both the
library and storage area. When investigated by the living, the
Some entities enjoy the theatrical
While performing on stage, actors and
actresses have reported seeing apparitions watching them.
A big yes is in order -
Many eye-witness accounts and actual
experiences point to the entities who politely stay to enjoy this
beautiful Theater and the activities which take place
mabeltainter.com * unexplainedresearch.com
Historical sign posted outside the
The Wisconsin Guide to Haunted Locations
By Chad Lewis & Terry Fisk
Unexplained Research Company