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A History of Entertainment


world headquarters for Crown Equipment CorporationLong before New Bremen became the world headquarters for Crown Equipment Corporation, the coincidentally named Crown Theater captivated the local community with motion pictures making their debut in the movie house in 1913.


Owned initially by New Bremen businessmen Herman Laut and Herbert Schulenberg, construction began on the building in the heart of the commercial district in 1912 by Herman Schaefer. Considered state of the art for its time, the theater touted equipment essential for moviegoers like fire protection and multiple exits.


With the electric railway on Monroe Street providing quick transportation to the area, the Crown Theater became a hub of social activity in the community hosting banquets, meetings and receptions for area organizations and guests.


The Crown Theater saw many upgrades in the late 1920s and ’30s. From new ownership upgrading features like the sound system and screen to the installation of air conditioning in 1937. These upgrades were also accompanied by changes to the name of the building itself, including the Roosevelt Theatre in 1933, in honor of President Franklin D Roosevelt, The Little Theatre and The New Bremen Theatre.


In January 1945, a fire broke out in the projection booth between the first and second shows. Patrons were quickly evacuated. The manager’s wife and daughter were initially trapped inside, but, thankfully, the pair was rescued and sustained only minor injuries. The damage to the building, however, was severe


the New Bremen TheatreFortunately, the New Bremen Theatre was rebuilt and continued operation for the next decade before the building was repurposed for other needs. Owners changed as the years passed, including The Sun Publishing Company in 1955 and the New Bremen Senior Citizens group, who bought the building for their expanding membership.


Today, the original tradition of the Crown Theater continues with the Lock One Theater. Enjoy weekly showings of some of the movie industry’s latest hits, presented in our modern facility that still maintains its original quaint feel. It’s an ideal place for a low-stress, temporary escape from the everyday. . . exactly as the movies intended!