Rialto Theatre

715 Main Street,
Alamosa, CO 81101

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Rialto Theatre...Alamosa Colorado

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The Rialto Theatre opened in 1925 on Main Street near San Juan Avenue originally as an American Legion Hall. Within two years, it became a movie house seating around 1,000 which also featured live entertainment. (By the 1940’s, seating had been reduced to a little over 500).

The Rialto Theatre suffered a devastating fire in late-2003, which totally gutted the auditorium of the building, which was razed in June of 2004. Today the Bistro Rialto operates out of the former lobby of the building, which still retains its vertical Rialto sign.

Contributed by Bryan

Recent comments (view all 6 comments)

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on March 3, 2007 at 6:43 am

This 2/11/2005 article mentions that this theater was also known as the Legion Theater.

“Alamosa given Rialto Theater.

Source: Pueblo Chieftain
Byline: Erin Smith

Feb. 11—ALAMOSA — The city has accepted the gift of the Rialto Theater.

Theater owner Fran Eigenberg gave the movie theater to the city, but now it will be responsible for any demolition or remediation work to restore the building.

City Attorney Rick Jacobs, who has been negotiating the matter with Ms. Eigenberg, said she is giving the property, located on the south side of Main Street, to the city along with the proceeds of an insurance settlement from a December 2003 fire.

The insurance money would be used to pay contractors and a $167,000 bid for demolition and asbestos removal has been received.

Jacobs said settlement proceeds exceed the cost of demolition by $73,000.

Some residents present at Wednesday’s special council meeting expressed concern that the city just wants to demolish the building, likely for more parking.

Beverly Griffitts, manager for the Alamosa Downtown Merchants' Association, told the council that since the fire forced the closure of the historic building, merchants have seen a 20 to 30 percent decline in business.

She said the association doesn’t want the building demolished. Members would like to see a facade at least.

Real estate broker Terry Smith of Century 21 said he has serious reservations about the settlement proceeds being able to cover things if the city does not have an idea of what the cost of renovation or demolition will be.

Those attending Wednesday’s special session were told that discussion on the building’s fate will occur later, perhaps as early as Wednesday’s council meeting, and was not appropriate for the special session.

The Rialto closed as a theater in the 1990s after Ms. Eigenberg opened her multiplex theater west of Alamosa. For a time, it was used as a church and had housed an insurance agency and other businesses.

At the time of the fire, county assessor Sandra Hostetter said the county’s actual value on the 14,000-square-foot, two-story structure was $138,170.

The Rialto Theatre was built as the home for Dickey-Springer Post 113 of the American Legion in 1925. The cornerstone was laid by then-U.S. Vice President Charles B. Dawes on July 27, 1925.

At the time the structure was dedicated on March 3, 1926, it was the largest American Legion building in the state.

The American Legion sold the building to Ms. Eigenberg and others on Jan. 2, 1969, for $65,000, after the present Legion building on Fourth Street was built.

The theater has been used for a variety of businesses, including medical offices. Even under Legion ownership, it was the scene of vaudeville and motion pictures.

Programs for the Legion Theatre, as it was called, proclaimed it “Alamosa’s Bright Spot.”

Luminaries including big band leader Stan Kenton appeared at the theater during its heyday, the late Fran Huffman, a local historian, recalled at the time.

A $15,000 Wurlitzer pipe organ built especially for the theater and used during silent films was sold years ago. Into the 1970s, the theater manager Joe Brite played the organ at the movies. Brite was robbed and beaten severely at the theater in September 1974 and died several days later".

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on June 7, 2008 at 6:40 pm

This photo claims to be from 2006.

DonLewis
DonLewis on June 11, 2008 at 10:41 pm

A 1980 view of the Alamosa Rialto here, a 1987 view here and here and a view from 1988 here.

Anthony L. Vazquez-Hernandez
Anthony L. Vazquez-Hernandez on March 19, 2014 at 4:50 pm

Seated 572 according to Film Daily Yearbook of 1942

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