Holton Street

Nightmare on Holton Street

Schulz murder house

In 1952, a mother and her two young children were murdered in a second floor flat on Holton Street. Carl A. Swanson photo

In February 1952, Arno Schulz walked into a nightmare. Returning from an out-of-town business trip, Arno found the body of his wife, Katherine Schulz, 38. She had been killed by multiple shotgun blasts in the family’s upper-floor flat at 2616 N. Holton St.

He ran from the building to summon police without realizing his son Robert, 11, and daughter Kathleen, 6, were also lying dead in the flat. The boy had died as he crawled under his bed to escape the killer. Police found the little girl huddled in a closet in which she had attempted to hide.

At almost the same time, and nearly 400 miles away, Missouri State Highway Patrol troopers pulled over a driver for speeding. Thinking the man was acting strangely, they decided to detain him and check into his story.

That’s when Arno Schulz’s nightmare took another turn. His 16-year-old son, John Schulz was under arrest in Missouri. He had murdered his mother, then his brother, and finally his kid sister. The cause? An argument over borrowing the family car.

An anguished Arno Schulz told Milwaukee Sentinel reporter Robert J. Riordan, “This has wiped out everything I have been fighting for. His mother, his brother, his darling little sister. But … [John] is my flesh and blood.”

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Just a neighborhood movie theater

The Grand Theater is one of the few Milwaukee neighborhood movie houses still standing. Film showings ended 40 years ago and the most recent tenant, a church, has moved on leaving the building vacant. Carl Swanson photo

The Grand Theater is one of the few Milwaukee neighborhood movie houses still standing. Film showings ended 40 years ago and the most recent tenant, a church, has moved on leaving the building vacant. Carl Swanson photo

Empty, deteriorating, and facing an uncertain future, the Grand Theater, 2917 N. Holton St., reflects the highs and lows of Milwaukee’s movie theater history.

The 790-seat Grand was one of the city’s earliest movie houses, opening its doors in 1911 – just six years after Milwaukee’s first purpose-built theater. By 1930, the Grand was one of 89 theaters in town. By the mid-1950s, only a dozen remained and the Grand was one of them. It continued in operation into the 1970s.

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