Rialto Theatre

120 E. Aurora Street,
Ironwood, MI 49938

Unfavorite No one has favorited this theater yet

Additional Info

Previously operated by: Thomas Theatre Group

Previous Names: Grand Theatre, Empress Theatre, Temple Theatre

Nearby Theaters

Empress Theatre ticket image credit David Aaron Strand.

As reported in the Ironwood News Record, the Empress Theatre opened in July 1912 and was temporarily named the Grand Theatre in March 1917. There is more information that as early as 1909 it was converted from a store to a theatre. In 1916 it was renamed Temple Theatre.

The Rialto Theatre reopened May 4, 1917, under the management of C.H Fulton and George Peck, owners of the Rex Theatre. It was noted the building was leased from the O'Donnell and Nolan families for two years.

Annette Kellerman in “A Daughter of the Gods" and “Intolerance" were among the high-class films to be shown soon.

In April 1925, it was taken over by United Theatres, a large Wisconsin chain, but by April 1926, the city declared the building unsafe for occupancy. In addition the building caught fire on July 8, causing $8,000 in damages.

The Rialto Theatre was torn down in 1927 and the Rosemurgy building was built on the site.

Film Daily Year Book 1927 lists the Rialto Theatre with 525 seats.

Contributed by Ron Pierce

Recent comments (view all 4 comments)

robboehm on May 16, 2021 at 12:58 pm

For a short period of time it was operated by the Thomas Theatre Group along with more than a dozen other Michigan theatres.

DavidZornig on April 8, 2023 at 8:25 am

1920s photo as Rialto Theatre added credit Craig Allen Lewis.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 9, 2023 at 12:52 am

This item from the February 5, 1916 issue of Moving Picture World gives another aka for the Empress/Rialto. Unfortunately the aka is Temple, which was the name of yet another Ironwood theater of the period, so we might have some conflation going on somewhere. I’ve posted the item to our Temple Theatre page as well:

“W. T. Kelly, who has leased the Empress theater property at Ironwood, Mich., from O'Donnell & Nolan has made a number of changes. The building has been remodeled and hereafter will be known as the Temple theater. Triangle service will be used on Mondays and Thursdays, Paramount service on Wednesday and Saturday and other high class features the rest of the time. Admission will be ten and twenty cents. A twelve-piece orchestra will be used in connection with the Triangle films. Manager Kelly has renamed the former Temple theater of Ironwood the Strand and will operate a five and ten cent show there.”
Kelly’s management of the house lasted for only a little over a year. Here is an item from the April 6, 1917 issue of Variety confirming the end of Kelly’s operation of the house, though it doesn’t mention the brief name change to Grand Theatre: “The Temple, Ironwood, Mich., has changed hands, owner Kelly withdrawing from its management. Under the new regime the Temple returns to the W. V. M. A. fold and will have a five-act show booked in by Paul Goudron, starting Apr. 28. The house has been offering films of late.”

DavidZornig on April 9, 2023 at 6:18 am

The other Temple was across the street at 125 W. Aurora Street. That address was confirmed on one of the Facebook pages I culled the photo from.

You must login before making a comment.

New Comment

Subscribe Want to be emailed when a new comment is posted about this theater?
Just login to your account and subscribe to this theater.