Rivola Theatre

202 High Avenue,
Oskaloosa, IA 52577

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Additional Info

Architects: Norman T. Vorse

Firms: Vorse, Kraetsch & Kraetsch

Nearby Theaters

1976 photo courtesy of Douglas Long.

Opened on April 21, 1921, the Rivola Theatre was closed November 22, 1984. It had been added to the National Register of Historic Places that same year. It was demolished November 30, 1984.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 6 comments)

William on December 5, 2003 at 11:59 am

The Rivola Theatre seated 600 people.

Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois
Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois on October 12, 2006 at 6:58 pm

Chains for this theatre:
A.H. THEATRES (Controlled by PARAMOUNT PUBLIX) (1950+?)

The Rivola had a 2 manual (keyboards)/5 ranks (sets of pipes) WURLITZER THEATRE PIPE ORGAN, Opus 1917. It had a shipping date from WURLITZER of July 7, 1928. In June of 1970 it was shipped to Palo Alto, California and was last reported to still exisit and be playable. It may have had other “homes” between Oskaloosa and Palo Alto and may not be in Palo Alto now.

Oskaloosa was named for a Creek princess named Ouscaloosa, which means “last of the beautiful”.

kencmcintyre on November 29, 2008 at 6:26 pm

Here is a 1945 photo from Life Magazine:

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 29, 2010 at 6:38 am

Andrew Craig Morrison’s book “Theaters” identifies the Des Moines architectural firm Vorse, Kraetsch & Kraetsch as the designers of the Rivola Theatre. Norman T. Vorse was the lead architect on the project. The building which was remodeled to accommodate the new theater was built in 1874 for J.H. Green and Company, purveyors of agricultural implements. The Rivola Theatre opened on April 21, 1921.

JesseK on February 7, 2012 at 2:58 pm

In regards to the style 150 Wurlitzer that was originally installed in the Rivola, I bought the organ from James Chase in Sunnyvale, CA in 2003 and brought it to my home in Oregon. It is currently undergoing a full restoration with the retention of ALL electro-pneumatic components (console, relay, etc…) James told me it was removed from the theatre in the late thirties or early forties by the Wurlitzer factory and re-installed in the Oskaloosa in a Methodist Church. The console wears a small brass tag from the Church. During the re-installation in the church, the Wurlitzer Company removed the toy counter and added two ranks, a diapason and a dulciana. Both ranks played on single rank unit chests (with late model black cap magnets and braided cloth covered wiring, not black friction tape). Fortunately, the tuned percussions were retained during the re-installation. I hope to find a suitable public venue for the instrument to be enjoyed. If the theatre ever re-opened, I’d love to see it return home! There are a lot of orphan theatre organs out there.

DavidZornig on February 2, 2014 at 9:00 pm

FYI. I posted a couple photos from the Oskaloosa Memories and History Facebook page. One is the LIFE Magazine photo previously posted 11/29/08, as the original link is dead. It was mentioned in the Facebook comments that the Rivola marquee is now inside of a local restaurant called Smokey Row, 109 S. Market Street, Oskaloosa Iowa 52577. There is a photo on their website.

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