Demolition work started on the Rivoli the day after its last film was shown. On Monday, January 12, 1987 workers began removing seats and projection equipment. Later, specialists would begin remediating asbestos in the attic and basement areas. After utilities were disconnected, the wrecking ball moved into place and the demolition began. I introduced myself to the demolition crew, and they graciously allowed me to document the slow but inevitable conclusion of the Rivoli’s last performance.
Seating removed, and giant speaker boxes have been unearthed and set on the main floor. Projection screen has been ripped into shreds, apparently it was not a salvageable item.
I was surprised that the Rivoli didn’t have much of an orchestra pit. (left) Considering that it was built for live performances, perhaps originally it had a larger area but was modified in later years?
Chair parts stacked in front of the projection area.
Remnants of the last movie audience in the balcony area.
With the screen in tatters, the backstage area is now bathed in light from the main auditorium. During the removal of asbestos from the theater, a workman was critically injured when he fell from the highest attic. Read the Muncie Evening Press article.
The marble has been removed from the Rivoli’s ticket lobby.
OK, this is a really cool shot- because it shows the original woodwork and lighting fixtures on the underside of the Rivoli’s marquee.
February 1987- the Vollmar Wrecking equipment is in place.
The day finally came when the wrecking ball began swinging. It didn’t take long to create a massive opening…this was on the first day.
The wrecking ball prepares for another strike.
Standing on the stage, the view was mind-bending, watching the interior of the theater bathed in sunlight, for the first time in 60 years.
During the demolition I shot hundreds of pictures. I’ve not gotten them all scanned yet, more will be coming.
View of the ticket lobby during demolition. You can see the collapsed wreckage through the door opening. Funny, there is an upright vacuum cleaner standing next to the ticket counter, as if it is ready to clean up the mess.