Recently, Nooga.com contributor David Moon explored the history and legacy of the former Rivoli Theatre in East Chattanooga.
The theater opened in 1926 on Glass Street with original plans to seat 625 people.
According to Moon’s article, the theater has been closed since the mid-1950s and is the only existing theater-other than the Tivoli-that remains standing.
Although some discussion has been made about renovating the theater, no progress has been made. A revitalization project-Glass House Collective-has been improving the area, but the fate of the former building will rely on a historically conscious investor.
Nooga.com was invited to walk through and photograph the current interior of the building over the weekend.
The interior has been used as storage for the past few decades. It’s last-known use as a venue was during the 1960s, when it was a teenage nightclub.
Some water damage is apparent, but many of the original elements remain. Those are featured in the slideshow above.
Patrons would enter the theater on Glass Street, and the slope of the floor is still apparent when you walk. Several platforms have been added to raise the floors.
The space is cluttered with old data machines, books, computer parts and children’s toys. We also saw a Singer sewing machine, several organs (the musical instrument, not the body part) and a suitcase filled with interesting items.
A special courtesy to photographer Ray Soldano, who contributed photos to this project. His work can be seen here. I will also indicate which photos are his throughout the slideshow (although you’ll be able to tell).
If you know of any places that would be good for this series, please contact me at [email protected].