RTOS History and Legacy

Shown above is the interior of the RKO Palace Theatre as it appeared just prior to closure.

Shown above is the interior of the RKO Palace Theatre as it looked in 1964, prior to its demolition. Much of this section is dedicated to documenting the theatre, the Wurlitzer theatre organ installed just prior to the theatre’s opening in late 1928 and the activities that followed the theatre’s closing. The theatre was located on North Clinton Street, one short block north of Main Street.

The pages for this section of the RTOS website are a retrospective and history of the organization though the telling of our history and illustrations that show a small look at our years of programs and other activities.  Included is a history of our concerts and artists. 

RTOS Story

A series of pages that chronicle over 50 years of RTOS organ concerts and preservation activities.

RTOS 50th Anniversary​

In October of 2014 RTOS held a weekend long celebration of its 50th anniversary.  To view images from that weekend long event, click on the button to the right.

RTOS and Wurlitzer

The Rochester Theater Organ Society and the Wurlitzer theater pipe organ have a unique relationship.  Beginning with the installation of a 4 manual, 21 rank (now 23 rank) instrument into the RKO Palace Theater in 1928 and its many years of wonderful sounds at the hands of organist Tom Grierson, until today’s relocation to Rochester’s Auditorium Theater Center.  That story is available using the button to the right.  

Palace Closing Images

The pages presented in this section of the RTOS website are presented to remember the legacy of the RKO Palace theater.  Some have been available for several years, while others are newly available. 

The color images presented on this page are from the period when the RKO Palace theatre was closing as shown by the marque announcing the presentation of the film, Von Ryan’s Express.

Commemorative Booklet

As part of the RKO closing program, RTOS produced a Commemorative booklet.  The link to the right provides a digital copy of that booklet.

Rochester Subway Review of RKO Palace

The link to the right provides access to a page of this website that reviews images collected by Rochester Subway to document the RKO Palace theater.