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Rialto Theater

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1923; 1940 remodeled. 100 W. Race Ave.
  • (Photograph by Dell Upton)

The Rialto Theater is located on the courthouse square and has been in continuous operation since it replaced a theater torn down in 1923 to make way for this one. In 1940, the theater underwent an extensive remodeling at which time the present Art Deco neon-lit marquee and signage were added to the facade. The sixty-seven-foot vertical sign installed in November 1940 at the center of the facade has vertical staggered and stepped panels painted in four colors—blue, red, green, and yellow—and the neon-lit name of the theater runs vertically down the center panel. A marquee angles over the sidewalk and is neon lit with curved abstract designs. Built during segregation, the theater was given two entrances: one for white theatergoers, featuring double glass doors and recessed between peach-colored walls, and a smaller entrance beside it for African American patrons.

Writing Credits

Cyrus A. Sutherland with Gregory Herman, Claudia Shannon, Jean Sizemore Jeannie M. Whayne and Contributors


What's Nearby


Cyrus A. Sutherland with Gregory Herman, Claudia Shannon, Jean Sizemore Jeannie M. Whayne and Contributors, "Rialto Theater", [Searcy, Arkansas], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Arkansas

Buildings of Arkansas, Cyrus A. Sutherland and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2018, 241-242.

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