Rio Theatre

37-39 St. Peter Street,
Schuylkill Haven, PA 17972

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The Opera house was opened July 4, 1897. It was renamed Losch Opera House which closed in 1914. The building was used for storage.

On August 28, 1924 it reopened as the Refowich Theatre. In December 1937 it was renamed Rio Theatre. It had closed by June 1953 and was again used for storage. In 1957 it became a Masonic Lodge. They had moved out by 2017.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 1 comments)

dallasmovietheaters on January 28, 2018 at 6:48 am

Just to add a bit of history, this project was commissioned in 1896 to the plans of local architect Frank X. Reilly. It launched as the Opera House on July 4, 1897. The widow of former state senator Samuel A. Losch bought the struggling opera house operating it as the Losch Opera House and adding vaudeville and movies to the mix. It went dormant in 1914 and put up for auction in 1918. It appears to be used for storage.

The Refowich Brothers relaunched the house August 28, 1924 becoming the Refowich Theatre. The 453 seat venue added fire exits, a third floor dance hall, Powers projectors, and – in addition to the existing third floor rest rooms – a ladies room on the main floor. On mMarch 29, 1930, RCA Photophone installation brought talkies to Schuylkill Haven with the short, “Harmony at Home.”

A new operator purchased the Refowich and changed it to the Rio Theatre on Christmas of 1937. In 1953, the theatre was under big pressure from television and dropped to weekend only operation. The theatre adopted a free admission / pay what it was worth upon exit admission policy for the month of April of 1953. It closed by June of 1953 ending its cinematic run. It became a storage facility.

In 1957, the theatre was refreshed becoming the long-running Masonic Lodge meeting place. In 2017, the again-vacant property could be purchased for $125,000.

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