Encore Magazine | Chris Killian
Photo | Brian K. Powers
Bruce Monroe knew what treasures were hidden inside Three Rivers’ historic Riviera Theatre when he saw the words “For Sale” on the building’s marquee more than a decade ago. But it was going to take a lot of time, sweat and money to buff them back to their original shine.
Thankfully for Three Rivers, Monroe decided to take a chance and buy the building, which has become a kind of beacon in the quaint downtown of this St. Joseph County city, according to its mayor.
Monroe’s reasons for purchasing the theater were many. He didn’t want to see the nearly 100-year-old venue — where vaudeville performers once graced the stage — to wither away. He is also a native of St. Joseph County, and his family roots run deep through the Riviera — his grandmother played the pipe organ during silent films there, his mother danced on the stage, and his great uncle once managed the place.
But making the Riviera his own wasn’t just a way to keep the memory of his loved ones alive. It was also a way for Monroe, now 70, to give back to a community he has a soft spot for.
“Small-town America is struggling,” he says, “but I thought this community deserved a first-class theater. It adds so much to the life and culture of a town.”
This is an exert from Encore’s article on the Riviera Theatre, to read the full article and see the rest of the photos, you can click HERE. A huge thank you to the people at Encore who put this together!