223 E. Main Street,
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The Ottumwa Courier noted on October 24, 1931, that the Rialto Theatre was Ottumwa’s oldest continuously operated movie house and first operated from June 1907 as the Nickelodeon Theatre and then the Empire Theatre. The Empire Theatre was mentioned in the Ottumwa Daily Review as early as 1913 and listed in Film Daily Year Book through 1929. The Rialto Theatre was first listed in Film Daily Year Book 1930.
On September 2, 1931, the Ottumwa Daily Courier announced the Strand Amusement Co. would be merged with Publix Theatres. Thus the Rialto Theatre, Strand Theatre, Capitol Theatre, and Ottumwa Theatre, would be under the management of Jake Cohen, city manager. By 1938 all of Ottumwa’s theatres were under the control of A.H. Blank Theatres, a subsidiary of Paramount Theatres.
The Rialto Theatre dropped out of the local listings after April 15, 1951 leaving the Capitol Theatre, Ottumwa Theatre and Zephyr Theatre still open.
Film Daily Year Book 1951 lists the Rialto Theatre with 680 seats.
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