Rialto Theater

1501 Douglas Street,
Omaha, NE 68102

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Rialto Theatre, Omaha, Nebraska in 1920

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Rialto Theater opened May 29, 1918 with John Barrymore in “Raffles”. It originally featured a diagonal floor plan and seating arrangements, and a multi-colored, terra-cotta exterior.

For promotional use, the theater has three large vertical billboard-type signs, one on the cut-off front corner of the building, and another on each side of the theater’s center board.

After the Rialto Theatre closed, the building was used for many different retail store purposes. It was later demolished.

Contributed by Richard Pittenger

Recent comments (view all 9 comments)

psteuert on April 30, 2002 at 5:52 pm

Is this building at 14th and Douglas St.? Does anyone know where I could find a photo of the Douglas St side of the building? There used to be a diner there;and I am looking for a photo of the outside of it.

IvanSteinke on December 11, 2002 at 5:49 am

The Rialto Theater sat on the northeast corner of 15th and Douglas, where the Union Pacific office building is now being constructed.

If you want to find pictures of this building, from either side, the place to go is to the archival photography department at the Durham Western Heritage Museum in Omaha. They have over 21,000 pictures of Old Omaha, including the Rialto Theater. I know, because I have seen them.

beardbear31 on September 30, 2004 at 5:18 pm

A vintage view of the Rialto theater can be found at http://www.historicomaha.com/cp4.jpg

WAJWAJ on December 2, 2005 at 7:46 pm

Several architectural elements from the Rialto Theatre, as seen in the photo from beardbear31 on 30 Sep 2004, can be found at Lanoha’s Nursery in Omaha.

rivest266 on December 4, 2011 at 8:00 am

This opened on May 29th, 1918 by A. H. Blank. I have posted the grand opening ad here.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 15, 2012 at 12:26 pm

There is a photo depicting part of the lobby of either the Rialto Theatre or the Orpheum Theatre in Omaha, published in 1926 in a trade journal for the marble industry called Through the Ages. The magazine used the same photo twice, one caption identifying it as the Rialto and the other as the Orpheum. This is the photo, as scanned and displayed by the web site Quarries and Beyond, which has copyrighted the scan (so don’t upload it to the photos section here.)

I think the photo probably depicts the Rialto, though. The lighting fixtures have an Art Nouveau look, which doesn’t match the French Renaissance style of the Orpheum (1926) but might well have been used in the older Rialto (1918.)

Shehan13644 on April 4, 2016 at 7:36 pm

I am very interested in the history of the Rialto in Omaha. Does anyone have historic items, programs, or photographs of it that you might be interested in selling?

DavidZornig on November 11, 2016 at 10:43 am

1961 photo of the former Rialto as Tully’s added, courtesy of Steve Raglin. There is a second photo of Cooper’s Cinerama next door as well. Maybe some one with photo editing skills can combine the two.

DavidZornig on November 11, 2016 at 10:54 am

1/16/37 photo & copy added courtesy of Charles Martens.

“Opening of the Burlington Bus Depot at the corner of 15th and Douglas Streets. 1-16-1937”

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