Rialto Theater

219 S. Jefferson Avenue,
Peoria, IL 61602

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Balaban & Katz Corp., Kerasotes Theatres

Architects: Frederic J. Klein

Previous Names: Hippodrome Theater

Nearby Theaters

Rialto Theater

The Hippodrome Theater opened on October 21, 1913 with a seating capacity of 1,674. The theater was originally a vaudeville house. In 1931, the theater was renamed the Rialto Theater and switched to a movies-only policy, operated as part of the Balaban & Katz chain of Chicago. By the early 1950’s, it was part of the Kerasotes Theatres chain of Springfield.

The Rialto Theater was razed in the late-1970’s, to make way for the Peoria Civic Center.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 10 comments)

ABone on February 18, 2006 at 5:19 pm

For some reason I liked the Rialto best of all 6 downtown Peoria theaters in my time. It was considered 3rd among the first-run houses (after the Madison & Palace) but it sometimes got the “big” pictures held over from the Madison, which never ran any movie more than a week in the ‘40’s & '50’s. It’s a real shame that they couldn’t incorporate it into the Peoria Civic Center as a performing arts center, as some preservationists implored them to do.

kencmcintyre on September 22, 2008 at 9:40 pm

On 8/27/51, the Dixon Evening Telegraph announced that the Rialto had been sold to Kerasotes Theaters by the Great States Theater Group. The transfer would be effective as of September 1, 1951.

JeffCarlson on January 21, 2010 at 5:20 pm

Here’s a link to a vintage shot of the Rialto:

View link

JudithK on July 15, 2012 at 3:03 pm

My moviegoing years in Peoria, IL were from the early to mid-1960s. We either attended films at the Madison, Palace or Beverly – no idea why we never attended anything at the Rialto.

jackiskin on July 16, 2012 at 6:03 am

last film i saw there was star wars [8 times or so] last time was september of 77 i think. im here cause i wish i could go back.. if others are also we must realize its also and probably more the people who helped make those memories..perhaps if some of those people r still living and are kind souls we should seek them out and say ‘'hey’‘ etc.

Tiffer72 on December 21, 2014 at 7:34 am

My Mom went into labor with me while she was working at the Rialto. 1972.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 21, 2014 at 1:42 pm

The Hippodrome must have been a combination house from the beginning, not just a vaudeville theater. It is mentioned at least twice in The Moving Picture World in 1913.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 13, 2015 at 11:04 am

The February 9, 1916, issue of The Moving Picture World said that the Hippodrome in Peoria was set to begin its vaudeville season, and shows would include three reels of movies at each performance. The Princess Theatre, under the same management, had just discontinued vaudeville.

DavidZornig on July 13, 2016 at 5:27 pm

1971 marquee photo added, photo credit Peoria Public Library.

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