The historic Ritz Theater, one of Parke County's great treasures was built in 1912, then known as the Rockville Opera House. The first show that appeared at the Ritz was “The Only Son” on October 15, 1912. That night, 540 seats were sold at $5.00 apiece. The program for that night stated that the theater was “Dedicated to the Entertainment Loving People of Parke County”, which still holds truth today.
Over the past century this iconic gem has hosted live music acts, silent movies, "talkie" movies, religious events, melodramas, musicals, school productions and dozens of other community enhancing experiences.
Many can remember when the theater was run by Bud and Lucy Washburn. It has then belonged to the Chamber of Commerce, and currently the Parke Players. As with anything 100 years old, maintenance and structural aging created some urgent and essential building issues. Through the years a series of renovations have taken place.
In 1929 motion picture equipment was installed in the Ritz and the first motion picture with this equipment was “Pollyanna” which was a huge hit! Also in 1929 a