Lost Treasures: Baileys Harbor’s Lake Theatre

A movie theater in Baileys Harbor?!

Yup. Not that long ago, you could catch a summer flick next door to the Cornerstone Pub. For 53 years, the reels spun at the Quonset hut, one of 93 structures built for the military during World War II and then repurposed after the war. 

Orville and Elton Voeks (who also opened the Skyway Drive-in Theater in 1950) opened it as the Lake Theatre, and the first movie they screened was Cheyenne, starring Jane Wyman and Dennis Morgan. 

The theater had 323 seats and a soundproof crying room for unhappy babies. William Bunda Sr. bought the theater in 1952, and during the years that followed, it was owned by George Gerdman, Frank Butts and Andy Redmann, who introduced art films to the rotation. In 1984, Gary Goebel, owner of the Donna Theater in Sturgeon Bay, bought it from Redmann, and he later leased it to Tim Suick. 

The final movie nights in Baileys Harbor were held in the fall of 2000, when Space Cowboys graced the screen. The theater was sold to Associated Bank and demolished.