RKO Palace Theater

71 Clinton Avenue,
Rochester, NY 14604

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RKO Palace Theater

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Keith-Albee Palace Theater opened on December 25, 1928 and soon became the favorite downtown movie palace for this city. Large signs on the theater building announced as “The Showplace of Rochester” and over the main entrance was the statement that this was “Rochester’s most beautiful theater.”

The architects designed the knockout of a theater in Neo-Georgian style. Behind the main entrance was the main lobby with a terrazzo floor, elaborate plaster-work, huge mirrors, crystal chandeliers, and a ceiling which seemed far, far overhead. The next area was the inner lobby with its twin staircases to the balcony, vaulted ceiling, oil paintings, gilded metalwork, and lots more mirrors and chandeliers.

The auditorium was more of the same. There were velvet draped organ grilles, elaborate box seats, more chandeliers, an 80 foot deep stage, and a fine example of the organ builders craft from the Wurlitzer company.

The theater succumbed in the 1960’s to dwindling profits and was demolished in 1965. To this day there is nothing to mark the site but a parking lot.

Contributed by Carl

Recent comments (view all 30 comments)

JohnMLauter on February 24, 2009 at 8:49 pm

I played a concert on the RKO Palace Wurlitzer in the Auditorium theatre last December. It is one of the best wurlitzer theatre organs you will ever hear.

Tinseltoes on February 1, 2010 at 7:52 am

Here’s a new direct link to a slide show about the RKO Palace. It may take a few seconds to start loading:
View link

Tinseltoes on July 16, 2012 at 10:29 am

Vastness of the lobby pictured in this 1960 trade report: Boxoffice

Tinseltoes on August 12, 2012 at 8:03 am

Two photos of an early Rochester theatre called the Victoria on the left side of this page from a vintage trade journal:archive

NittyRanks on August 28, 2012 at 1:08 pm

Check this out everyone:


NittyRanks on August 28, 2012 at 9:12 pm

Here is a local organist who has a lot of information on the theater and a Facebook page with great photographs:


jasen on February 10, 2013 at 12:37 pm

Does anyone remember when a temporary screen was transported into the Palace to screen a 3 projection movie called Cinerama. The Screen was huge and extended beyond both sides of the stage. The movie was a spectacular but was only shown for approximately a month. It was outstanding for its time and dwarfed Cinemascope movies of that era.

hdtv267 on February 10, 2013 at 5:11 pm


doesnt look like.

DavidZornig on October 6, 2013 at 5:42 pm

FYI, there are never before seen photos of the RKO Rochester on a website called www.RochesterSubway.com Go to the “Select Month” feature, and click on “October 2012”. Then scroll down until you see the photos.

I’m unable to attach the link since CT changed their page format.

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