Vista Theatre

241 Main Street,
Rio Vista, CA 94571

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Vista

Located in California’s river delta region, the town of Rio Vista was once equipped with a small theatre, the Vista Theatre. It opened in 1925 and closed in 1974.

When seen by this writer in 1990, its upper facade of buff colored brick was intact, and there was a Streamline Moderne style ticket lobby. The marquee was gone, and a sign reading Vista Mall was in its place. The interior was converted to multiple retail uses. By 2008, the building has been converted into real estate offices. By 2018 the auditorium was vacant and available for rent.

Contributed by GaryParks

Recent comments (view all 8 comments)

GaryParks
GaryParks on May 14, 2008 at 9:43 am

Lost Memory:
Thanks so much for your posts. Other than my one visit to the site and one photo, I knew nothing about the place. On the Century 21 site, it shows that the building looks better now than it did then, plus I had never seen any historic photos. How nice to know that the interior decorative painting is intact. I saw none of that when I went partway into the building. It sounds like the building has been much more mindfully taken care of in recent years.

wurl240
wurl240 on January 23, 2012 at 2:17 pm

The former Vista has been transformed to a Century 21 office. The theatre interior, with seats removed, has been restored to its c. 1940 appearance. The office welcomes visitors to see the former theatre interior.

JohnRice
JohnRice on November 4, 2012 at 9:04 pm

Calvary Chapel Rio Vista now occupies this building.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 6, 2014 at 7:38 am

The May 2, 1925, issue of The Moving Picture World had this announcement: “The New Vista Theatre of Max Weiss at Rio Vista, Cal., is nearing completion.”

There’s a very small photo of the building when the theater was still in operation on this web page. The page says that the first Vista Theatre, which this house replaced, was located in the 100 block of Main Street and was in operation by 1923.

msb3thg
msb3thg on June 25, 2018 at 5:00 pm

I’m not sure when or whom, but at some point someone misspelled the theatre’s name. If you search Lantern, it’s historically been called the Vista Theatre—from its opening days until fairly recently. I found a letter from the then owner in an exhibitor’s journal from 1963, and the “theatre” spelling was still in use then. I noticed the Rio Vista Museum spells it “theater” in their written histories, but their accessible historical documents on the place all have the “theatre” spelling. I rent space in the building, and I think it’s a shame to see an accidental name change like this. I am trying to restore its original and correct spelling by reaching out to those, like you, preserving its history.

msb3thg
msb3thg on July 23, 2018 at 12:12 pm

Thanks so much for updating the spelling of the theatre’s name!

Currently there are a barber, hairdresser, and residential tenants renting spaces in the building. The large auditorium space was vacated by the Calvary Church and is for rent.

The auditorium’s sloping floor and theatre seats are gone, but interior murals were repainted and are bright. I’ve been told the current Art Deco mural design dates back to the 1940s.

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