Menomonie, Wisconsin History/dubiela7524

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The Mabel Tainter Center for the Arts[edit]

Outside view of the Mabel Tainter Theater.
Outside view of the Mabel Tainter Theater.

The Mabel Tainter Center for the Arts, located in Menomonie, WI, has gained the opportunity to be recognized as a popular venue for weddings, parties, musicals, plays, ghost tours, and even as one of the top fifteen spectacular theaters in the world over the course of 125 years. The history of the Mabel Tainter Theater includes the sympathy and love for Mabel Tainter that essentially led to the creation of the building itself and the founding of performances and celebrations held at the theater to this day by the community. Alongside the history, the Mabel Tainter Theater has also been known to have paranormal activity that has both been experienced and researched by members, guests, and investigation teams in recent years that undoubtedly leads back to members within the history of the Tainter family themselves.

Andrew Tainter Biography[edit]

Family and Career[edit]

During the year of 1848, Andrew Tainter had met and become husband and wife to an Ojibwa woman, Mary Poskins Goose, whom he had conceived five children with: Julia, William, Charlotte, Thomas and Elizabeth.[1] Although, after nine years of discovering the hindering of their relationship due to cultural differences, Andrew and Mary had separated and Andrew had gained custody of all five children. After the separation, Andrew had begun a new life at Read’s Landing in Menomonie, where he hired Bertha Lucas Lesure as his governess in 1859, leading to their spark of intimacy and a start to their family. Year 1861 was both a year of bliss and sorrow as Andrew and Bertha had wedded, but had also lost two of Andrew’s Native American children, Julia and William. When Andrew and Bertha had decided to start a family of their own, Andrew had five more children: Louis, Ruth, Mabel, Irene and Fanny. Unfortunately, Irene died as an infant, Ruth died at age eight, and Mabel at age nineteen. Although, Andrew was known as a dedicated and hardworking man; he started off his wealth streak by becoming a lumberman and worked his way up to holding the vice president position at Knapp, Stout and Co. Lumber, the largest lumber company in the United States at the time.[2]

Mabel Tainter Biography[edit]

The truth behind Mabel's death[edit]

Andrew and Bertha Tainter had a daughter- Mabel- that regrettably had passed away at just age nineteen.[2] Although Andrew had a few other children that had passed, Mabel’s death had literally been regretful, as rumor has it that she had passed due to a mishap during her abortion procedure, a decision that her parents had pushed upon her. Mabel Tainter had fallen in love with a logger in her father’s lumber company. However, the two had not been allowed to wed as there was a clear and significant difference in their social status- yet this had not kept Mabel astray from her love for the logger. Mabel became pregnant and Andrew and Bertha’s views on marriage for the two had quickly changed. This however became an even more distressing issue as the logger left Mabel in the dust, leaving Andrew and Bertha with their high doubts on Mabel keeping the unborn child; they urged Mabel to receive an abortion and an issue with the procedure occurred, resulting in the passing of Mabel. Not long after, the Mabel Tainter Theater was founded in the honor of Mabel, most likely due to guilt.

General and Paranormal History of the Mabel Tainter Theater[edit]

The second floor view of the Mabel Tainter Theater.
The second floor view of the Mabel Tainter Center of the Arts.

From the Architecture to Spooky Occurrences[edit]

The Mabel Tainter Center of the Arts was built in 1889, just three years after Mabel’s passing.[3] The theater includes and includes Harvey Ellis’, the architect, style of curved surfaces, arches, and hand carved details, as shown in the photo to the right of the second floor view in the theater. However, within the beautiful stained glass windows, walnut and oak woodwork, and different stones lingers the Tainter family members as well, although passed long ago.

There have been many instances throughout the building’s history that one can conclude is a supernatural entity, or most likely entities. In some occurrences, some have said that a woman entity is present; at one point, a staff member was working into the evening on the second floor when a female spirit dressed in white had floated past him. Another instance includes bathroom attendants in the women’s to have reported seeing a young woman walking in and out of the bathroom downstairs, and has also been seen looking at herself in the mirror.[4]

Other proof to have one believe that paranormal activity within the theater is undeniable is the existence of sound boards being changed and tampered with before shows, noises and puttering in the storage room and on stage, strange lights seen and then vanishing, and even some feeling a presence as if they are being watched. On December 6, 2008, an investigation team, The Sanity Check Paranormal Investigators, decided to spend the night in the Mabel Tainter Theater to find an explanation for these paranormal occurrences.[5] "I had read about the Mabel Tainter on the Web and talked to locals about various incidents," stated Ken Gangi,the lead investigator for SCPI. "It appeared that the potential for multiple apparitions existed, so we asked for permission to investigate." The SPCI team included six technicians with numerous different devices to detect the activity spoken of, such as “video recorders, audio recorders, EMF detectors, thermometers, compasses, digital cameras, two sensitives,” and even two psychics. Throughout the night, “strong feelings” lead the psychics to a back room under the stage and both had sensed a male presence in the dressing room. One psychic had felt a tap on her shoulder, while two different members of the team could not stand being in the female’s bathroom as it had presented them with an overwhelming and dangerous feeling. When the EVP recorder had been set up and adjusted to its potential, noises and words had definitely been heard, including an eerie “get out” and a high pitched shriek heard from separate rooms throughout the building. Aside from the investigation team, passersby have felt it necessary to contact the police many different times and they had sworn they saw someone inside the building late at night after all the workers had closed up and gone home.[2]

Through a tour of the Mabel Tainter Theater, a chalk board had gone missing all morning, however yet being found mysteriously in a storage room in which it had never been before.[6] A more recent example, in 2015, a show was in the midst of performing when one of the cast members had experienced hearing a male voice through his entertainment headphones throughout the play. However, this was not the first time, as an employee had also been known as a crabby worker who always had some troubles with the sound boards and head sets, hence why his crabbiness had occurred. Some believed it was also a spirit bothering him, so with that thought, another employee had asked that the spirit would stop and allow him to do his work and they spirit had actually obeyed, or at least the tampering with the equipment had ceased for a while. Alongside those instances included presences being felt by numerous people, walking sounds along the stage, and items having gone missing. Not many items have gone missing but when they do they are usually found; one night after a performance, the crowd of people had exited to end the night, as I was informed. However, the employee who had been closing had noticed something of extreme fortune missing: the dagger that hung. The employee had searched both high and low and could not seem to find such item. Although, that is not even the worst part. After the employee gave up and decided to shut down the lights and lock up, she had noticed that one light remained on, even after her closing. As she went back in to investigate, something was found: the missing dagger. As Ken Gangi,the lead investigator for SCPI stated, "there is enough evidence to indicate that some form of paranormal activity is occurring right now at the Mabel Tainter."[5]

External Links[edit]

Mabel Tainter Center of the Arts

Knapp, Stout and Co. Lumber

Menomonie, WI

Mabel Tainter Center of the Arts Facebook Page

History of the Mabel Tainter Center of the Arts


  1. Git Er’ Dug. 2013. Find A Grave - Millions of Cemetery Records and Online Memorials. (2013, November 1). Retrieved November 5, 2015 from =gr&GRid=119661477.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Eyeofthekiger. 2012. Dunn County Haunts and Folklore: The Mabel Tainter Theater. (2012, October 30). Retrieved November 5, 2015 from
  3. Board of Directors. Historic Mabel Tainter Center for the Arts – One of “15 Spectacular Theaters in the World” (CNN TRAVEL). (2015). Retrieved October 29, 2015 from
  4. Lewis & Fisk. 2004. Mabel Tainter Theater – (n.d.). Retrieved October 29, 2015.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Schuster. 2009. Unexplained Research - They Live Amongst Us: The Ghosts of Menomonie. Retrieved October 30, 2015 from from _live _among_us.html.
  6. Information found through a Mabel Tainter Center of the Arts Tour.