The Rialto Theatre, our namesake, is pictured here at 1540 Curtis Street. During the Roaring 20’s, the single screen movie theater was a place of novelty with a full marquee and neon lights. The Rialto Theatre called itself the “brightest spot in the world” with “perfect ventilation: air changed every three minutes” and is thought to be the stepping stone upon which the 16th Street Mall really began. Founded in 1916, the Rialto was an inexpensive treat for those suffering financial loss during the Great Depression. An evening in front of the silver screen cost just fifteen cents.
All of this information about the Rialto Theatre is not easy to come by on the web. The building was torn down and is now a parking lot adjacent to the Courtyard Marriott. After a plethora of different Google searches, I finally happened upon this article from the Westword in regards to the opening of the Rialto Café in 1998. An interesting read if you have the time, although a lot has changed since our inception… http://www.westword.com/content/printVersion/211861/