Rio Theater

119 1st Street,
Myrtle Creek, OR 97457

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Rio Theatre, Myrtle Creek, Oregon

This is the second Rio Theater. The first was located on Main Street and was moved to 1st Street in the early-1950’s. This theater was at one time the largest indoor theater in Douglas County.

Contributed by Robert Larson

Recent comments (view all 4 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 24, 2011 at 2:19 pm

The second Rio Theatre is already listed at Cinema Treasures. I’ve found Myrtle Creek mentioned only once in Boxoffice, and only in a passing comment about a Tri-City Drive-In that was in operation south of town in 1954.

However, a book called “In Search of Western Oregon” (Google Books preview) mentions a Myrtle Theatre operating on Main Street near 2nd Street as early as 1917. Perhaps that’s the house that later became the first Rio Theatre?

SteveSwanson on November 4, 2012 at 6:17 pm

Seeing how both Rio pages have the same address, I posted new pics on this page. Information from the Myrtle Creek Cultural & Historical Resource Survey.

‘The Myrtle Theater was constructed in 1917 by the Rice Brothers & Adams Co. The Rices owned the theater business, but hired an operator to man the projector. Both silent movies & “talkies” were shown in the theater. About 1933, the business was to sold to Stearns Gordon. The theater burned in 1945, but the building was not significantly damaged.’

The Myrtle was on the top floor of the Rice building, and had a bowling alley in the basement. After they cleaned up the fire damage, it then became Western Auto. The building was later condemned and is currently vacant. The survey lists the address as 126 Main Street. But an old 2008 construction notice on the front window lists 136 Main St.

AndreasP on November 15, 2017 at 2:43 pm

Duplicate of

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 15, 2017 at 4:00 pm

AndreasP is correct. I am not sure that Robert Larson was correct when he said this was the second Rio Theatre, though. SteveSwanson’s information about the Myrtle Theatre is probably from this web page, which says that the Myrtle Theatre was destroyed by a fire, and reopened as the Rio Theatre on January 9, 1953, at the First Avenue location.

The page does not say that the Myrtle was renamed the Rio sometime before the fire, nor is it clear about when the fire took place. One fire happened in 1943, destroying the Post Office which occupied the bay adjacent to the theater (as near as I can tell from the vague wording), but the page does not specifically say that that fire was the one that destroyed the Myrtle Theatre.

Perhaps the FDY editions between 1944 and 1952 list the theater in Myrtle Creek, if any, giving the name it was using at the time. Alas, I no longer have my digital FDY editions (they are trapped on another computer that no longer works.)

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