2616 S. Calhoun Street,
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Architects: Alvin M. Strauss
Styles: Streamline Moderne
Here is a brief history of the Rialto Theater:
*1924: The 700-seat theater opens at 2616 S. Calhoun Street.
*1940s: Remodeled in 1942 to the plans of architect Alvin M. Strauss adds 300-seat balcony.
*1952: Marquee sign goes up.
*1967: Theater sold by James Heliotes family to partnership consisting of the local Mallers-Spirou Management Inc. and Alliance Theatre Corp. of Chicago.
*1979: Mallers-Spirou closes the theater and puts it up ‘For Sale’.
*1980: Theater sold to Taso Promotions of Chicago, which briefly shows Spanish-language films.
*1982: New local owners buy theater and reopen it as a pornographic movie house.
*1986: Allen County Prosecutor’s Office sues to seize the Rialto, claiming the owners violated state racketeering and corrupt organization law. Owners later plead guilty to distributing obscene material and promoting prostitution, but do not lose the building.
*1989: The Rialto closes.
*1990: Historic-preservation group ARCH Inc. places the Rialto on its Endangered Structures List.
*1993: The city names the Rialto a locally designated historic district.
*2003: Local group The Reclamation Project buys the theater. Members will make it a center for theater, the arts and urban ministry. This never happened.
*2015: The theatre building is put up ‘For Sale’. It is still vacant in 2019.
Source: The Fort Wayne News-Sentinel archives
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