Rialto Theater

272 Broadway,
Monticello, NY 12701

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Lost Memory
Lost Memory on January 17, 2014 at 2:00 pm

I think the NRHP form contains a typo. Emil Motl was an architect working in Monticello, NY. He even advertised in the newspaper. I’ll upload one of his ads.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 17, 2014 at 10:57 am

Advertisements for the architect in issues of the Monticello Republican Watchman spell his name Emil Motl. The NRHP listing for the Rialto uses the spelling Motel, though. It’s possible that he eventually Americanized his name, but as late as 1940 the census lists an Emil Motl, age 53, living in Monticello, New York.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 9, 2013 at 3:06 pm

Either Washington and Miller switched architects, or Emil Motel might only have been the supervising architect for the Rialto Theatre. The February 2, 1921, issue of The American Architect ran this item:

“Monticello, N. Y. —A theatre building will be erected by Washington & Miller at Monticello, N. Y., at a cost of about $90,000. Backoff, Jones & Cook of Newark, N. J., Architects.”
George W. Backoff, George Elwood Jones and J. Frederick Cook established their partnership in early 1920. If the house did open in 1921, especailly the first half of the year, they probably designed it, but if it didn’t open until 1922 as this page says, then the architect might have been changed.

DonLewis on August 19, 2010 at 10:27 pm

From the early 1960s a photo postcard view of the Rialto Theater in Monticello.

GaryCohen on December 9, 2009 at 1:28 pm

My family used to vacation in Montecello each summer. One of my favorite things was the fact that the theaters upstate would show films that were then still playing on Broadway in NYC. I remember seeing “Guns of Navarone,” Sinatra in “Von Ryans Express” and “Cleopatra” at the Rialto, while it was still playing reserve-seat on Broadway. After the movie, there was a store a few stores away where I would purchase my beloved DC comic books.
Sorry to hear that this theater, like so many others, I attended is gone.

joemasher on October 12, 2009 at 1:05 pm

The Rialto’s auditorium is already down. Torn down about 10 years ago. Last time I drove around back, you could still see the aisles imbedded in the concrete where the auditorium once stood. The lobby building was saved for retail space.

larry on October 12, 2009 at 12:06 pm

Passed the theater yesterday. Sad to see both the Broadway and the Rialto abandoned just waiting for the wrecker’s ball sometime in the future.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on April 17, 2009 at 7:35 pm

Here are some 1980s photos:




Lost Memory
Lost Memory on October 16, 2008 at 11:02 am

Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2001

Rialto Theatre (added 2001 – Building – #01000043)
Also known as Miller and Washington Block
Sullivan County – Broadway, Monticello
(less then 1 acres, 1 building)

Historic Significance: Event, Architecture/Engineering
Architect, builder, or engineer: Motel, Emil
Architectural Style: Late 19th And 20th Century Revivals
Area of Significance: Entertainment/Recreation, Architecture
Period of Significance: 1900-1924
Owner: Private
Historic Function: Recreation And Culture
Historic Sub-function: Museum
Current Function: Vacant/Not In Use

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on August 25, 2008 at 10:32 am

This is a view of Broadway, probably from the 1950s that shows the Rialto Theater.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on February 9, 2007 at 8:53 am

Architect was Emil Motel, a Monticello architect.

“The Preservationist:

Sullivan County

Monticello: Rialto Theater
South Fallsburg: Rivoli Theater
Woodbourne: Center Theater

These three theaters represent one of the most important aspects of the early 20th century resort culture in the western Catskills. During the 1920s and 30s, enjoying a movie or a live performance in a village setting was one of the most popular recreational activities for summer visitors. These theaters, which accommodated both vaudeville shows and movies, drew large crowds six days a week. Emil Motel, a Monticello architect, designed both the Rialto (1921) and the Rivoli (1923). Their similar exterior designs are characteristic of early 20th century theaters.

The Rivoli, which was enlarged in the 1930s, is also distinguished by an entrance and new interior finishes in the Art Deco style, also the work of Motel. The Center Theater (1938) embodies a streamlined Art Deco mode popular for small movie houses in this period. Its designer, Abraham Okun, is credited with the designs of numerous distinguished buildings throughout the county. The Center also provides a link to Sullivan County’s significance in a more contemporary
cultural context; its lobby is decorated with the Woodstock Peace Painting, a large mural painted in the 1970s in the aftermath of the music festival.

This is the link where the above information comes from.

CathyN on October 1, 2006 at 7:34 pm

Not the best of photos but a photo any how!

frankie on May 9, 2006 at 5:31 am

I was doing summer stock up there in the 70’s and I believe this was the theater where a bunch of us went to see “The Spy Who Loved Me.” Carefree days !

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on December 12, 2005 at 4:55 pm

Another photo of the former Rialto Theater in Monticello can be seen here.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on October 21, 2005 at 1:30 am

Nice photos Roger. So this theater should be considered demolished since the auditorium is gone.

Roger Katz
Roger Katz on October 20, 2005 at 2:58 pm

Despite it’s status as a historic theatre the auditorium was demolished in 2003 after damage from heavy snow caused the roof to collapse. The lobby building and marquee still remain.

My 2003 phonots are at http://www.cinematour.com/tour.php?db=us&id=23575