Riverdale Cinedome demolition begins

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RIVERDALE -- Riverdale City lost a piece of its history Monday. Crews started demolishing the Cinedome 70 Theater -- a landmark for 40 years.

Many movie-goers caught their first glimpses of Hollywood classics at the theater, with films such as "Star Wars," "Grease" and "E.T." among others. Small groups gathered around the site Monday morning for one last look at the theater before its demolition.

Riverdale resident Allen Glines said, "Some people say that it's just a normal movie theater." But for Glines and many others in Riverdale, the Cinedome 70 Theater was much more than just a theater.

"I've always told people it's hard for a building to be in one place for 40 years and not have any significance," Glines said.

In its earlier years it was the site of rallies for mayoral candidates, Miss Riverdale pageants and annual New Year's Eve parties.

"For the area, people just, I mean, you knew the domes. You knew where it was. It was just unique in its style. The sound was phenomenal in there. The screens were huge, which nowadays they're smaller," said Riverdale resident Tony Stewart.

The theater's former glory has faded in recent years. It's fallen into disrepair after being vacated in 2001.

A movement to save the theater gained a lot of support on the social media site Facebook. Glines led the effort with more than 7,000 people joining his group. Even now, he doesn't feel it was a wasted effort.

"It was more to save the theater from being forgotten, because it was just going to be torn down, and that was going to be that," he said.

Glines now wants his group to function as a venue for others to share their Cinedome memories and experiences.

"You have to think when it was standing you could fit 1,500 people in it. And over the course of 30 years, it's hard to imagine how many tens of thousands of people went through there," he said.

The lot once occupied by the theater will soon be a car dealership. That should open early next summer.

E-mail: cmikita@ksl.com


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