RKO Palace Theater

71 Clinton Avenue,
Rochester, NY 14604

Unfavorite 3 people favorited this theater

Showing 1 - 25 of 26 comments

rivest266 on January 21, 2016 at 3:51 pm

December 25th, 1928 grand opening ad in photo section.

DavidZornig on September 2, 2015 at 7:10 pm

Newspaper image added courtesy of Len Laurro.

Movie_Fan_Rochester on May 2, 2015 at 12:44 pm

I don’t know the numerical address of the RKO Palace, but I do recall going there so many times. It had a front entrance, on S. Clinton Ave., and a side entrance on Mortimer St. It was torn down in order to build a circular apartment building or buildings, but that never happened, and since it’s demise, it remained a parking lot. I recall losing my Rochester Red Wings Hat there, when the teams hats were Dark Blue Crown, a Red Bill, and a large R over the bill. Here is a clip I found on line Rochester’s RKO Palace Theater,


September 1965. A sign is hung on the marquee proclaiming this the site of new $10 Million dollar twin towers. The theater was demolished and no towers were ever built on the site. [PHOTO: Courtesy of Rochester Theater Organ Society]

Link to more info and photographs of the RKO Palace


DavidZornig on December 18, 2014 at 10:41 am

1942 photo added courtesy of the Y-Block Guy Facebook page.

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.

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.

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:


NittyRanks on August 28, 2012 at 1:08 pm

Check this out everyone:


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.

Ziggy on September 10, 2007 at 12:36 pm

Hi Warren, right now you may well be the one person at this website that knows the most about the RKO Temple in Rochester. It was torn down when I was very young and I don’t have any distinct memories of it at all. It may even have been torn down before I was born. I have memories of the block it sat on being cleared, but the theatre may have already been gone before then. If you were to start a posting on it you would be doing us a service! There was another theatre near the Temple called the “Victoria”, but I also have no memories of that.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on August 27, 2007 at 10:41 am

Warren; The Temple Theatre is listed in the American Motion Picture Directory 1914- 1915 edition. The address was 37 Clinton Avenue S., Rochester, NY

Patsy on December 6, 2006 at 1:14 pm

ziggy: And the site you posted on July 20th was most interesting especially the collection of Palace photos. Such a shame that Rochester has lost this beautiful theatre in 1965 to urban renewal. The exterior was breathtaking and the interior lobby photo(with Christmas tree) was even more so.

Patsy on December 6, 2006 at 1:06 pm

kohoutek: Watching the demolition video that you posted on Feb. 9th of this theatre was very heartbreaking and so sad for the citizens of Rochester! The wrecking ball had taken down the brick wall and the parking lot behind was visible from the once opulent auditorium. Does anyone have memories of this grand old lady?

Patsy on December 6, 2006 at 12:57 pm

ziggy: Glad to read that the Rochester Theatre Organ Society is taking care of the Palace Theatre’s Wurlitzer. I have friends who are members of MTOS (Metrolina Theatre Organ Society) in Charlotte NC so they will appreciate this bit of organ news.

Ziggy on December 6, 2006 at 12:25 pm

Hi Patsy, I realize it’s 4 months after you asked, but the Palace Theatre’s Wurlitzer is now installed in the Auditorium Theatre on the other side of downtown, and is very well cared for by the Rochester Theatre Organ Society.

Patsy on August 2, 2006 at 5:01 pm

And what happened to the RKO Palace Wurlitzer organ? The Wurlitzer organ in the Tennessee was removed, restored and re-installed which is the way it should be!

Patsy on August 2, 2006 at 4:35 pm

What in the world was going on with the City of Rochester when this RKO Palace was brought down? I’m sure the preservationists weren’t as active or even a well organized group back then as they are now!

Patsy on August 2, 2006 at 4:23 pm

And the RTOS site is fascinating to view as the b/w slide show is complete, but very sad to watch as the RKO was a beautifully ornate downtown theatre that is gone forever.

Patsy on August 2, 2006 at 4:14 pm

I just found this link after researching the architect names of Graven and Mayger. I am truly saddened and appalled at what the City of Rochester did in regards to their RKO Palace in 1965 and now the site is a PARKING LOT! The City of Rochester should hang their heads in shame!

N8TR on February 9, 2006 at 5:41 pm

You can see fascinating shots of this grand old gal being demolished at at the following websites;



mrchangeover on November 2, 2005 at 3:14 pm

I remember visiting the RKO Palace in late 1962 during a visit to Rochester. The balcony was closed off and the theatre seemed a bit run down. I wished I had been there during its better days.
It would have made great showplace for Rochester but back then I don’t think many people gave much thought to saving old theatres. The demolition of many grand old theatres across North America was just beginning.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on April 6, 2005 at 1:14 pm

The RKO Palace closed on 2nd August 1965 and demolition of the building was completed four months later.

Ziggy on July 20, 2004 at 8:54 am

You can go to the site for the Rochester Theatre Organ Society at http://theatreorgans.com/rochestr/index.htm and click on the “Photographic Memories of Rochester’s RKO Palace to see a slide show of black and white photos of this theatre.

Ziggy on July 14, 2004 at 11:28 am

Hi Hilarie. If you have access to the Rochester Public Library their local history department used to have photos of several Rochester theatres, including the Palace. You might also try the Rochester Historical Society. If you’re not local (even if you are) you can contact the Rochester Theatre Organ Society. They may have some photos they are willing to share with you. You can probably get their contact info from the internet. As a final possibility, there is a series of books called “Images of America”, their volume on “Rochester Labor and Leisure” has some interior and exterior photos.

hilarie on July 14, 2004 at 9:03 am

Does anyone have a photo of this theater?