Rialto Theater

108 South Avenue,
Petersburg, VA 23803

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The Rialto Theater was designed by African-American architect Charles T. Russell. It was built in 1923, and operated as a movie theatre for African-American’s during the 1920’s.

Over the years, the Rialto Theater held a number of famous acts, and all of the greatest black performers played there including James Brown, Sam Cooke, Jerry Butler, Chubby Checker, The Shirelles, The Mills Brothers and many others. Hollywood celebrities such as John Wayne and Joseph Cotton were also visitors to the Rialto Theater.

"The Triangle" or "Avenue" was the center of African-American culture in the city.

We are hoping someone will come along and decide to save this theatre which was used at some point as a barbers shop and living area. It is now boarded up with vines growing on it.

Contributed by scott

Recent comments (view all 6 comments)

Silicon Sam
Silicon Sam on June 5, 2010 at 3:13 am

A couple of pics here:

http://tcdpetgva.com/explore_the_present.php

Short little story here about the Triangle district including the theater:

View link

Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois
Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois on June 8, 2010 at 7:17 am

Thanks, SilconSam!

Hope the theater and area gets saved. As time goes by, if anyone hears anything let us know.

ghamilton
ghamilton on March 5, 2011 at 11:44 am

It looks BAD.Going downhill fast.It is quite a small place.Petersburg,overall,is a sad place,with a street here and there getting attention,while three go downhill.

ghamilton
ghamilton on March 5, 2011 at 11:45 am

The pathetic fact is that this ruin is the most intact old theater left in Petersburg.

Robert L. Bradley
Robert L. Bradley on June 9, 2012 at 1:44 pm

I’m wondering if that is the theater that later became Barney’s, and was later operated as the Remmie around 1965. It seems to be the same location.

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