Milwaukee Public Schools is blessed with a number of really, really gorgeous old schoolhouses, but few can compete in the ornate category with Rufus King, which not only was built during the Great Depression, but really offered the ailing economy a giant middle finger with an almost insane attention to detail.
When the John W. Mariner Building opened on Mason and Milwaukee in the waning months of 1937 it was heralded as an immediate landmark of design and comfort. The same was true when Hotel Metro opened in the building in 1998. Now, 20 years later, the hotel is about to get a refresh.
Surely, too many of Milwaukee's grand old movie houses are gone. But there are also a few survivors that many of us rarely notice. One of them is the gorgeous Art Deco Varsity Theater, 1326 W. Wisconsin Ave., now more formally known as Marquette's Holthusen Hall.