Rialto Theatre

18 S. Grove Street,
Elgin, IL 60120

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Contributed by Bryan

Recent comments (view all 8 comments)

RiisPark99
RiisPark99 on February 2, 2006 at 10:44 am

The Rialto was built on the location that once held Elgin’s opera house. The theatre met a tragic end in the early 1950’s when it burned down to the ground. The Rialto was located on Grove St. (one block north of the recently demolished Crocker Theatre) on the south end of Fountain Square. The only photo I have is of the rear of the theatre by the Fox River and shows a Chicago Aurora & Elgin train and a neat Meister Brau beer ad on the back of the building.

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Angelo
Angelo on April 16, 2006 at 5:52 am

The Rialto was a very popular movie theater. After a movie many Elgin residents would treat themselves to a Soda Fountain creation at the nearby Esquire at 12 South Grove. The Esquire was a favorite to many for lunch or a delicious dinner. Originally when opened it had its own candy kitchen and sold boxed chocolates in the front part of the beautiful establishment. The building was owned by Waldo J. Bielenberg and his sister.

BrendanM
BrendanM on December 28, 2006 at 12:48 am

Every auditorium built on this site met a tragic end. The DuBois Opera House, opened in 1870, was destroyed by fire in the mid 1880’s. The Opera House was rebuilt and later destroyed again by a tornado on Palm Sunday 1920. It was again rebuilt and later named the Rialto. When the Rialto burned down in 1956, there were plans to rebuild but nothing ever became of it.
As the Rialto was burning, two firemen were injured when they were figthing the fire through holes in the roof. As they were fighting the fire the roof started to cave in and they jumped off and fell over 10 feet onto the building next door.
The site is now occupied by the Fountain Square Condominiums.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on January 19, 2007 at 7:03 pm

Here is an anti-trust lawsuit involving the Rialto, Grove and some other theaters in Elgin:
http://tinyurl.com/3arm8a

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on July 4, 2007 at 2:01 pm

There is one theatre listed under Elgin IL in the 1897-98 edition of the Julius Cahn Official Theatrical Guide: the Elgin Opera House. There are no street addresses in the Cahn Guide. I assume that the Elgin O.H. sat on the site of the Rialto, and is not the same as the DuBois Opera House in Elgin. The Elgin O.H. was on the ground floor, had 1,110 seats and a stage which was 40 feet deep.

BrendanM
BrendanM on November 19, 2007 at 7:31 pm

Who changed the seating capacity? Its not right at all. The correct seating capacity for the Rialto should be 1,350.

Proof can be found at under “.4 Silver Screens and Crystal Sets” under Chaper VII at this website:

http://www.elginhistory.com/eaah/

BrendanM
BrendanM on November 21, 2007 at 6:41 pm

Thanks for clarifying that up for me.

Paul Fortini
Paul Fortini on April 8, 2012 at 8:43 pm

“The only photo I have is of the rear of the theatre by the Fox River and shows a Chicago Aurora & Elgin train and a neat Meister Brau beer ad on the back of the building.”

Riis Park—I’ve seen photos of that Meister Brau ad too, even though the CA&E expired years before I was born. I have a video on the CA&E which has some views of downtown Elgin, including the Rialto. The video was shot during the CA&E’s last days in 1957, so I’m wondering if the Rialto lasted that long.

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