1930 – The building was built as a 250 seat movie theater, complete with a crying room at the back of the seating, a concession stand on the North wall and a staircase on the south wall leading to the upstairs bathroom. It was named the Rio Theater. The south, east and west walls were poured concrete with rebar and were not connected to the south brick wall of 317 Main Street. Concrete pillars were connected to the south brick wall of
317 to support roof trusses for the theatre. The roof trusses were connected to 317 Main by steel stakes through the brick. The west wall was poured with two (2) door openings near the north and south ends of the wall. The east wall was poured with the arch in place. The inside of the arch was wood with the ticket booth in the middle of the arch.
1930’s – Sometime in the 1930’s a fire occurred with no injuries. The fire consumed the entire wooden structure leaving charred timbers attached to the brick wall of 317 Main where the original roof trusses were. The theatre was rebuilt.
1947 – A second fire was caused by Nitrate film exploding out the front of the building under the arch. The fire consumed most of the wooden interior. Again there were no injuries and the theatre was rebuilt with no ticket booth or crying room, A concession stand spanned the front center of the lobby with theatre enterances on the north and south of the building..
1988 – June the building was purchased by Erick Spiess for his daughter, Gretchen, to be turned into a stage theatre. During reconstruction the building was gutted from the ceiling down. Part of the cove ceiling was kept changing the seating from 250 seats to 99. The upstairs was extended with the projection booth turning into the office and two (2) new rooms added, (now the costume room and the light booth). Under the second floor extension, the lobby floor was built up to match the street level and concrete was floated in to smooth the transition from the existing floor to the wooden addition. Plumbing was brought from the center post where it was sunk in the concrete floor to the north wall for the kitchen sink. The north lobby staircase, originally positioned west to east, very narrow and steep, was rebuild as a curved wide staircase facing north to west.side. A second staircase was added on the south wall to access the bathroom and light booth.
New electrical was done by ,
New plumbing, including hot water heat throughout the building was done by Gramza Plumbing of Hamilton. It took 2 days and 7 diamond bits to drill the 3 inch hole for the furnace vent in the south upstairs wall.
A new roof with rolled asphalt roofing was laid after removal of a thick layer of expandable foam put on by the former owner.
The general contractor was Mr. Ken Vandehey of 506 Buck Street, Stevensville. (now deceased)
1995 – January 1 Roof over stage fell in destroying the set of “Belle of Amherst”
1996 – January 1 The truss over the proscenium (front of stage) broke, bringing the ceiling and insulation down on stage. Michael Rees built a corbel to span the truss break and held it in place with a telephone pole. This stayed in place for 1 ½ years till the insurance company replaced the truss and roof.
1998 – June The roof was removed over the stage, the old truss removed, and a lam beam put in. New roof joists were added with a four (4) foot over hang. The entire roofing was replaced with rolled asphalt roofing. The work was done by The Roofman, Steve Marshall. September 9, 1999 Third fire with flames limited to the stage. Heat and smoke damage was throughout. No Injuries. The fire was caused by a faulty DeWalt battery recharger. The batteries over heated bursting out the side of the charger and igniting the main drape. The fire was kept on the south side of the stage.
September 1999 – 2000 theatre was gutted save for the wooden framing. The wood frame was fire sealed by Joe , and a new stage built by Carpenters for Christ headed by Jim Ziegler, Les Smith and Don Melgren of Stevensville. New electrical was done by and sheetrock was done by . The hot water heating was removed for the theatre and a new furnace and air conditioner were installed by Insulation was done by Erick and Gretchen Spiess, and the cove ceiling was done by Erick and Gretchen Spiess, Michael Rees and Don
2002 – The front of building underneath the archways was removed, along with half of the lobby wall. A new front was build by Daniel Construction to facilitate new front doors and a box office. The doors are solid mahogany designed and built by Michael Rees. The exterior of building was patched with concrete and painted with StuccoFlex, a rubberized paint to hide minor imperfections.
2000 – donated to Chantilly Players Inc. in order to obtain grants.