Rialto Theatre

118 Walnut Street,
Lockport, NY 14094

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Schine Circuit Inc.

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Rialto Theatre

In 1918 Henry Thurston erected an “Air Drome” theatre on the southeast corner of Pine Street and Walnut Street. In 1922, with the help of the Schine Company, Henry remodeled the “Air Drome” into the Rialto Theatre which opened on November 11, 1924 operated by the Schine Circuit Inc. The Rialto Theatre seated 1,400 people and featured cowboy movies and a serial every Saturday. They still had live entertainment plus an organ to entertain people before the show started.

In 1924, Henry decided to retire from the theatre business and turned the operation over to his son Ray. The Rialto Theatre closed its doors in 1957. The building was eventually demolished and a bank was built on its site.

Contributed by Lost Memory

Recent comments (view all 3 comments)

kencmcintyre on October 19, 2007 at 5:24 pm

LM, do you want to add the Temple Theater, which is seen above the Rialto photo? I don’t see it listed yet. Interesting history as it used to be a skating rink.

kencmcintyre on October 19, 2007 at 6:39 pm

I’m headed to Vegas. It can wait.

Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin on June 13, 2013 at 10:04 am

An odd distinction for this theatre: in 1925 this theatre purchased a Wurlitzer pipe organ, opus 1118, a style F-special, 3 manuals and 10 ranks. A customized organ, but nothing too usual.

The sad twist on this is that in 1943 this organ went back to the Wurlitzer factory in North Tonawanda NY where it was rebuilt for radio station WGR/WKBW Buffalo NY and in its rebuilt state, was the last pipe organ to leave Wurlitzer. Shortly afterwards all the remaining pipe organ stock, parts and tools were burned or melted down for scrap metal.

The Wurlitzer company, in a little over 22 years had turned out +/– 2,200 organs. Justly or not, Wurlitzer remains, in the mind of the general public, the most famous pipe organ builder.

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