Rivoli Theatre Among 10 Most Endangered Places

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana Landmarks recently announced its 10 Most Endangered, an annual list of Hoosier landmarks in jeopardy.
Since the first 10 Most Endangered List in 1991, 104 historic places in severe jeopardy have appeared on the list, with only 13 lost to demolition. This year’s list includes seven new entries and three landmarks making repeat appearances.
Two of the seven new 10 Most Endangered sites are in Indianapolis, including the Rivoli Theatre and the Indiana Medical History Museum.
The Rivoli Theater, 3155 E. 10th St., epitomized Hollywood glamour when it opened in 1927. Behind a Mission Revival exterior, decorative plaster walls and a domed ceiling enclosed an auditorium that seated 1,500. Designed by Henry Ziegler Dietz, the $250,000 movie palace was Universal’s first theater in Indiana. In later years, it hosted shows by Bruce Springsteen, Linda Ronstadt, Lynyrd Skynyrd and a host of other performers.
Like many historic movie theaters, the Rivoli struggled in the era of suburban multiplexes, and decayed in vacancy over the past decade. The nonprofit Rivoli Center for the Performing Arts acquired the landmark in 2007, envisioning its transformation as an arts venue and catalyst for neighborhood revitalization. The group raised money for a new roof over the auditorium — ruined by years of water damage — but the theater still needs significant investment. The group was taken by surprise when part of the roof over the uninhabitable apartments and commercial storefronts recently collapsed, driving the already costly restoration price tag even higher. For more information about plans for the Rivoli, visit www.rivolitheatre.org/
The prospects of seven places on the 2014 Most Endangered list improved enough that Indiana Landmarks removed the critical label. Many previously listed landmarks sites have been restored, including the Plainfield Diner on the historic National Road in Plainfield. To save it, the diner had to be moved to another site on the National Road where it was restored. It reopened last year as the Oasis Diner.