Tower Theatre

20 S. Illinois Street,
Indianapolis, IN 46204

Unfavorite 1 person favorited this theater

Additional Info

Styles: Neo-Classical

Nearby Theaters

One of the smaller theatres that was located in the downtown section of Indianapolis. The Tower Theatre opened in 1919 in a Neo-Classical style and 1,000 seats. By 1935 it was operated by Goulden Theatres with seating listed at 598.

The Tower Theatre closed in 1950 and has since been demolished. There is a new high rise office building where the theatre once stood.

Contributed by Chuck

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

JohnnyC. on October 24, 2015 at 9:49 pm

Neither the 1919 or the 1922 Indianapolis City directories show a Tower theatre. As you have noted, the Lincoln Square aka Rialto theatre was located at 20 South Illinois Street. It is very possible that Tower is a later name for the Rialto theatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 25, 2015 at 12:05 am

This is a bit puzzling. I can’t find any references to the Tower Theatre other than the ones at Cinema Treasures and on the list of Indianapolis theaters at CinemaTour. It is possible that Tower was an aka for the Lincoln Square, but if so I haven’t been able to discover when.

If the address and the opening year were part of Chuck’s original description then it’s possible that the Family Theatre was briefly renamed the Tower before being renovated as the Rialto. If that’s the case then this page is redundant. I haven’t found any documentation that it was so renamed, though.

JohnnyC. on October 25, 2015 at 12:34 am

The 1928 edition of the film daily yearbook shows the Rialto theatre with an address of 20 S. Illinois Street.

The 1941 edition of the film daily yearbook shows the Tower theatre with seating for 800 and an address of 20 S. Illinois Street.

My best guess is this, either the Rialto theatre and the Tower theatre are one in the same or one theatre replaced the other at some point.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 25, 2015 at 1:20 am

Completely new construction is less likely than a renovation and renaming, unless the Rialto building was destroyed by some disaster. The FDY listings also indicate that the Lincoln Square Theatre must have returned to its earlier name of Rialto sometime in the 1920s. Chuck’s introduction says that the Tower was operating in 1935.

DavidZornig on August 21, 2020 at 7:15 pm

I believe this could have became Downtown Theatre by the 1940s. I am adding a photo, which matches up with current street view, and the vintage high rise building on the far right which is still there today. However it is Illinois and Market Streets, so North Illinois not South. If I am incorrect please let me know where Downtown Theatre was. CinemaTour says 114 E. Washington, but matching street view is definitely Illinois Street at Market Street, which is what it was marked as.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 22, 2020 at 3:11 am

Since we have listings confirming that the Rialto/Lincoln Square Theatre was at 20 S. Illinois, and have never found a listing for the Tower at that address, it does seem possible that we’ve got the wrong address for it and that it was actually at 20 N. Illinois.

However, the block of Illinois Street between Court and Market shows up at Google maps as the 100 N. block, so I’m thinking that Downtown Theatre is more likely a missing aka for the house we have listed as the Ambassador Theatre at 113 N. Illinois. Our photos of the Ambassador show that it had an arched parapet, just like the Downtown, though it was much more elaborate in its early days. Our description has no information about the Ambassador after 1933, so a name change seems quite likely.

DavidZornig on August 22, 2020 at 3:54 am

Thanks. That’s it. Vintage high rise to it’s right is spot on too. I will delete the pic here and move it to the Ambassador page, and let that page know that it ended it’s days as Downtown Theatre.

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.