Little Falls was once home to three theaters, including a breathtaking playhouse built in 1922, seating 1200 guests, named the Gateway Theater. In a few short years, the theater changed hands and was renamed the Rialto Theater and remained open until the mid-1970’s. During much of that time, the theater was a “mighty drawing card” showing films such as ‘Gone with the Wind’ and ‘The Bells of St. Mary’s’ and presenting singers, comics and animal acts. As entertainment technology evolved within the home, however, attendance to the Rialto dramatically reduced, leading to the closing of the building. This Art Deco interior designed building was ultimately demolished in the late 1990’s and is remembered by many who grew up enjoying the theater.
Little Falls continually seeks ways to honor its history through numerous festivals, live theater, and signage. Following the demolition of the Rialto, the city erected a sign in the location where the grand building once stood. Through the years, the sign faded due to weather, however visitors to the city familiar with the Rialto’s significance could been found having their photo taken standing next to this “blank sign.”
Recently, an anonymous donor generously stepped forth to fund a beautiful new sign, created by Bob Critser CAD Designs, using a print of the Rialto Theater. In addition to the sign being replaced, the concrete base has been repaired and the metal supports have been repainted. The metal supports of the sign are significant as they are from the marquee of the Rialto itself.
The community is invited to attend this unveiling and dedication ceremony on North Ann Street in Little Falls at the site of the Rialto on Thursday September 21 at 5:30 pm. Mayor Mark Blask will speak to the historical significance of the building, dedicate the sign, thank the anonymous donor’s generosity, and comment on how the Rialto continues to live on fondly in the hearts of many Little Falls’ natives.