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Haunted Place: Mabel Tainter Theater

ADDRESS:

205 Main Street East
Menomonie, Wisconsin 54751
(715) 235-0001

LOCATION:

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.

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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 no expense.

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."

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HISTORY OF MANIFESTATIONS:

It is not known who specifically haunts this theater, only that there is a female entity, and others entities unknown.

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 about.

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 Theater.

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.

MANIFESTATIONS:

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 the show.

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 light vanishes.

Some entities enjoy the theatrical activities.

While performing on stage, actors and actresses have reported seeing apparitions watching them.

STILL HAUNTED?

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 here.

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SOURCES INCLUDE:

mabeltainter.com * unexplainedresearch.com

Historical sign posted outside the Theater.

The Wisconsin Guide to Haunted Locations
By Chad Lewis & Terry Fisk
pg. 61-63
Unexplained Research Company
2004