The Rialto Theatre

Rialto 2

El Dorado’s Rialto Theatre in its second reincarnation was designed by the local firm of Kolben, Hunter, and Boyd (arkansas.com).  This Classical Revival style, red brick and decorative stone theatre was constructed to provide “expanded cultural opportunities” for El Dorado after oil was discovered and the population mushroomed.

The original Rialto was built in 1921 on the same location, remodeled shortly afterwards, and then demolished in 1928 in order to build a “larger and finer” movie theatre which opened in 1929 with seating for 1400 (cinema treasures; R. H. Mason, 2002, Movie theaters in El Dorado, South Arkansas Historical Journal, 2.).  The street level facade was “modernized” with carerra glass panels and ceramic tiles at some point (arkansas.com).

The theatre was closed in 1980, and restored and reopened in 1987 as part of the downtown revival.  It is used as a live music venue.

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