1745 Goodyear Boulevard
At one time Akron had dozens of glowing marquees gracing the entrances of classic single-screen cinemas. Regrettably television and multiplexes took over and most of their lights have dimmed. Fortunately the Linda Theatre in Goodyear Heights is one exception.
The Linda was built in 1948 by Ernest Alessio and designed by his sons Lino and Reno, who, at the time, were both under the age of 22. As Lino explained to the Beacon Journal, he was going to hire an architect, but, “He wanted a fortune for the job, so I decided to just design it myself.”
The theater was named after the youngest of the Alessio family, Linda, who was kind enough to submit her memories of the November 18, 1948 opening and more to Interesting Akron:
I remember the grand opening. I was six years old and I wore a white rabbit coat with white rabbit hand muffs. I thought I was a star because my name was up in lights. Roy Rogers came to the opening and I got to sit on his lap, which also made me feel very important.
As I got older I worked at the theater and made popcorn and served at the counter. Later I was an usherette and seated people in the theater. I also carried a flashlight and if I caught a boy kissing a girl I would flash my light on them.
When the theater celebrated it’s 60th birthday, I took my grandchildren through the theater and shared the history with them. My father built the theater as he was Alessio Construction and named the theater after me. My oldest surviving brother, Reno Alessio, managed the theater for years.
Lino Alessio would go on to build numerous other structures in Akron, including the Akron Federal Building, the Main Public Library (not the current library, but the previous one), and several buildings for the University of Akron.
In 2008 Highland Square-based artist Brian Parsons designed and painted a series of murals on the front wall of the Linda depicting locations and individuals from the Goodyear Heights area throughout the Twentieth Century. (Please see images above)
Fortunately the Linda’s marque still illuminates Goodyear Boulevard each day and is currently exhibiting first run features for only $5. Show times can be found on their Facebook page and on Yahoo’s movie site.