When the Riviera Theater opened in 1927, people in Omaha had never seen anything like it. Designed by the inventor of the “atmospheric theater”, John Eberson, it was an fanciful combination of Italian Renaissance and Moorish Revival. To add to the overall fantasy, Eberson perched 9 gargoyles high above the street, to observe and startle theater goers. After 90 years of deferred maintenance, the renamed Rose Theater needed a complete $6 million restoration.
Boston Valley was awarded the contract for the terra cotta restoration. Our work included several ornate areas of the building including the Juliet balconies, courtyard columns, balconies at the roof domes, woven screen detail over the front entry, and several of the 3 foot high gargoyles that top off the columns. All of these units were glazed with a complex three-part pulsachrome finish. Boston Valley scanned the original gargoyle sculptures and reproduced them using traditional sculpting techniques. We also used the digital scan and modeling technology to produce a small fund raising piece for donors. Rather than looking down from above, the Gargoyle, now a bookend was re-posed to look the donors in the eye.