Rialto Theater Center
228 E. 4th Street,
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Rialto Theater Center (Official)
Previously operated by: Gibraltar Enterprises Inc.
Architects: Robert K. Fuller
Previous Names: Rialto Theater
Opened in 1920, the Rialto Theater was designed by noted local architect Robert K. Fuller in the heart of downtown Loveland. When it opened, the Loveland Daily Herald declared the Rialto Theater the finest theater north of Denver. It seated over 1,000, and contained a balcony, orchestra pit and dressing rooms. In 1927 a Wurlitzer organ was installed.
Designed primarily for silent movies, the Rialto Theater also hosted vaudeville shows in its early years, as well as local talent shows and graduation ceremonies. In 1935, the theater was purchased by the Gibraltar Enterprises Inc., who modernized the Rialto Theater, though much of its original decor was untouched.
Gibraltar Enterprises Inc. owned the theater until 1947, and from then until 1977 was run by a series of owners. It remained a popular venue for the majority of those years.
In 1977, the Rialto Theater finally went dark and was converted into a mini-mall and office space. Most of its original decoration was lost at this time. By 1987, the mall was vacant.
That same year, the Loveland Downtown Development Authority recognized the Rialto Theater as a possible anchor for the rebirth of the historical downtown area. Plans were drawn up to return the Rialto Theater to it’s 1920 splendor for use as a performing arts center. It wasn’t until early-1996, however, that the Rialto Theater, fully returned to its original appearance, and was reopened as the Rialto Theater Center.
The theater was turned over to the City of Loveland two years later. Today, the Rialto Theater Center hosts everything from silent and independent film screenings to children’s theater to rock concerts.
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