Background of Haunted Rialto Square Theater

There is a granite building found in the old downtown section of Joliet, Illinois called the Rialto Square Theater, which has a history of paranormal activity that continues to attract people today. Offering the town many different entertainment outlets throughout its history, the theater was a popular hot spot in Joliet. In this article, you will learn more about its past before the paranormal allure is discussed.

Background on the Theater

Without the Rubens brothers (George, Jules, Louis, Harry, Maurice and Claude), the Rialto Square Theater would never come to exist. It took a 2 million dollar budget and two years to bring the building to life, which opened on May 24, 1926 as a movie palace and vaudeville theater. The brothers took an interest in the project. First, they supplied the funds for the theater and chose the best architects, contractors, and artisans.

Funding was not the only contribution associated with the brothers, as they also created a plan for organization that would ensure the upkeep and prosperity of the theater. The locals of Joliet and people from surrounding towns embraced the theater throughout the 20th and 21st centuries.

The interior of the theater was elaborate and decorated with artworks , thanks to C. W. and George L. Rapp, who were architects based out of Chicago. The Rialto Square Theater was one of their first buildings, which inspired them to continue designing and building similar structures throughout the Midwest.

The construction of the building was left up to a company named Kaiser-Ducett, which would go onto play an important role in creating numerous exhibits for the 1933 World’s Fair in Chicago. The theater benefited from the sculptures of Eugene Romeo, who created eye-catching Greek, Roman and Byzantine architecture features that shown inside and outside of the building.

For many years, the theater held its ground pretty strong until it needed restoration work in the 1970s. The money required to tend to the needs of the theater was more than the owners could bear, but the community pulled together to make sure the building received the attention that it deserved. As a result, the “Save the Rialto Campaign” was born with Dorothy Mavrich (president of The Rialto Square Arts Association) leading the way.

A request for financial support was placed to the city council, the state government and federal officials by a businessman named Christo Dragatsis. A former State Representative named LeRoy Van Duyne was able to locate the funds that purchased the theater properties from the owners. The building became safe from being destroyed when it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

If you are interested in checking out the haunted past and present of the Rialto Square Theater, you will find this attraction located on 102 North Chicago Street in Joliet, Illinois.