Riviera Theater

Center Street Theater (formerly known as the Rex Theatre), c. 1920
Photo Courtesy of Milne Library

The original building on this site was a two-story wooden one built in the first half of the 19th century. It served as a dwelling and law office in the 1850’s and 60’s, later housed the Livingston Republican and about 1878 was remodeled into a meat market and grocery store. In 1907, Joseph Aprile, a cobbler who was born in Italy and came to Geneseo about 1892, purchased the building and opened a cobbler’s shop.

In 1914, the old building was moved to a lot on Court Street near the Erie Depot. Mr. Aprile erected a new brick block to serve as a motion picture theater, the first in Geneseo built expressly for this purpose. The venture proved successful and prospered in the hands of the Aprile family. In 1923, the theater was remodeled and extended with a “spacious lobby and rooms for ladies and gentlemen.” Joseph Aprile died in 1932 but the theater continued to serve Geneseo, managed by his descendants.  [It has since fallen into disrepair and is awaiting a major restoration.]