Rialto Theater (Omaha, Nebraska)

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Rialto Theater
Rialto Theater, Omaha - In Old Kentucky (1919) 1.jpg
Rialto Theater in Omaha, Nebraska, showing the film In Old Kentucky, circa 1919
Address 1424 Douglas Street
Omaha, Nebraska
United States
Owner Blank Realty Co.
Type Movie theater
Capacity 2,500
Opened Memorial Day, May 30, 1918 (1918-05-30)
Years active 1918–1929
Architect John Latenser & Sons

The Rialto Theater was a movie theater at 1424 Douglas Street in Downtown Omaha, Nebraska.[1] The building was razed in 1986 and the site paved over for use as a parking lot.[1] The property was later redeveloped as part of the construction of the Union Pacific Railroad's headquarters building.[1]


The 2,500 seat theater was designed by John Latenser & Sons for the Blank Realty Company.[1] The general contractor was Calvin Ziegler.[2] The theater was of steel frame construction with concrete and masonry walls.[1] The theater's exterior was of old ivory and terra cotta, with accents of polychrome blues and reds.[3] There were three prominent arches for advertising over the theater's diagonal corner entrance.[2] Features included a nursery with an attendant, a screening room and large orchestra space with a pipe organ.[2] Store fronts were built along the street level and business offices were available on the second level.[2] The total investment in the building and its outfitting was estimated in 1917 at $300,000.[2]

Arch Detail, Rialto Theater

The theater, built primarily for movies, opened to the public on Memorial Day, May 30, 1918.[1] The inaugural movie was Raffles, the Amateur Cracksman, starring John Barrymore and Evelyn Brent.[4] Initially built for silent movies, the theater was eventually converted to talking movies.[1] The theater closed suddenly on August 2, 1929 and was subsequently sub-divided into several retail establishments.[1] Its later uses included a bus station, a bowling alley, a retail clothing store and a cafeteria before its eventual demolition in February 1986.[1] The theater's large organ was acquired by Omaha Central High School with plans to install it in the school's auditorium.[1] That plan was never executed upon and the organ was later dismantled and sold for scrap.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Jeffrey S. Spencer [writer and researcher], Kristine Gerber [project director] (2003). Building for the ages : Omaha's architectural landmarks (1st ed. ed.). Omaha, Neb.: Omaha Books. ISBN 0-9745410-1-X. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Rialto Theater, Store and Office Building". The Omaha World-Herald Newspaper, Omaha, Douglas County, NE, USA. September 2, 1917. p. 1. 
  3. ^ "Terra Cotta On Rialto". The Omaha World-Herald Newspaper, Omaha, Douglas County, NE, USA. February 17, 1918. p. 11. 
  4. ^ "Perfect Opening for Rialto Theater". The Omaha World-Herald Newspaper, Omaha, Douglas County, NE, USA. May 31, 1918. p. 7. 

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