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Historical Sites
Beeville and Bee County

 38 - N.A.S. CHASE FIELD << Full List >> 00 - BRIEF HISTORY OF BEE COUNTY

39 - THE RIALTO

The Rialto was built in 1922 as the flag-ship of a 22 theater chain for H. W. Hall and family. The Classic Revival theater was designed by W. C. Stephenson, a noted local architect. Mr. Stephenson designed the 1912 Bee County courthouse as well as many other local landmarks.

After a 1935 fire destroyed the interior of the theater, it was remodeled in an elaborate Art Modern style. The theater redesigned by John Eberson, a noted architect in 20th Century theater design, incorporated a varied mix of Art Deco and the Moderne with a touch of the Craftsman. Eberson is well known for the design of the Majestic theater of San Antonio.

The Rialto reopened in 1935 to serve as a cultural center for Beeville and the surrounding area. John Wayne, Jeff Chandler and Jimmy Stewart made personal appearances at the theater to raise money for the War Bond Drive for WWII. The Rialto also provided a venue for civic activities.

The 1936 Rialto was the only theater between San Antonio and Corpus to have refrigerated air. Other innovations were chairs curved to fit the back and the latest design in head-phones for the hearing impaired.

After sixty years of operation the Rialto closed in the mid 1980ís. Future plans are to restore the theater to its former glory.
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