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Route 66 News

Unpopular marquee returning to Rialto Square Theatre

Rialto Square Theatre, Joliet, IL

An additional marquee for the Rialto Square Theatre in Joliet, Illinois, that was nixed because of its unpopularity is returning — this time, to the back of the historic building.

The theater’s principals still are raising funds for the classic marquee. But they think the red-headed stepchild of the other marquee still can prove useful.

The Herald-News reported:

The plan is to put part of the new sign that says “Rialto Square Theatre,” along with an electronic message board, on the back of the theater, which faces Scott Street. In the past, Rialto officials have noted the Scott Street side has decent exposure to traffic – both from vehicles and the Metra commuter rail lines.

The Rialto, however, still needs to raise money to install the rear sign and restore the old marquee that is on the theater. Total costs are estimated at $191,000 and the Rialto has raised about $48,000.

The combined restoration with partial use of the new sign was the resolution reached after the formation of an advisory committee in the aftermath of a controversy that resulted in scrapping the original marquee plan, refunding $350,000 to the donor and paying Landmark Sign Group about $200,000 for work already done.

The theater needs about another $140,000 to restore its classic sign and put the new sign on the back of the building.

See a rendering of the new marquee back in 2014 here. It admittedly looked a bit out-of-place from the theater’s grand, old-school look.

The Rubens brothers opened the $2 million theater May 24, 1926 — a few months before U.S. 66 became federally certified. The Rialto underwent a major restoration during the 1980s.

The Rialto also sits a block away from the Lincoln Highway.

(Image of the Rialto Square Theatre in Joliet, Illinois, by Ronnie Dyrcz via Flickr)

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