246 Central Street,
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Functions: Art Gallery
Previous Names: Owl Theatre
The Owl Theatre was opened in 1911 and was always a second-run house, but a good one. It was built in the train shed of the original Boston and Maine Railroad terminal in downtown Lowell. Supposedly part of its roof could be retracted for hot summer evenings.
It was renamed Rialto Theatre around 1920 and was later owned and operated by Norman Glassman who also operated the Crown Theatre on Middlesex Street and who built the Lowell Drive-In.
When it closed in 1960, its owner converted it to a bowling alley which thrived for many years. Under the auspices of the Lowell Urban National Park, the Rialto Theatre’s auditorium was torn down and the head house (which housed the lobby, ticket booth, and concession stand), was restored to its original appearance and now houses the Richard & Nancy Donahue Family Academic Arts Center.
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