R. V. Gay (1895–1943) of St. Johns designed this tan brick movie theater. It resembles the Eaton Theatre in Charlotte, which Gay designed the same year. The entrance and marquee are centered between piers and recessed brick panels; each of the panels contains a small window surrounded by corbels above a billboard. In its scale and material the Masonic Temple (1930) to the north is a congenial neighbor. The Rialto, like the classic 370-seat Bad Axe Theater (1915–1916; 309 E. Huron Avenue) in Huron County and small-town movie theaters elsewhere, sparks Main Street preservation activities.
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