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El Dorado, Arkansas

El Dorado, Arkansas
City of El Dorado
Main Street Square
Main Street Square
Location in Union County and the state of Arkansas
Location in Union County and the state of Arkansas
El Dorado, Arkansas is located in Arkansas
El Dorado, Arkansas
Location in Union County and the state of Arkansas
Country United States
State Arkansas
County Union
Founded 1843
Established May 5, 1870
 • Type Mayor-council
 • Body El Dorado City Council
 • Mayor Frank Hash
 • City 16.4 sq mi (42.2 km2)
 • Land 16.3 sq mi (42.1 km2)
 • Water 0.1 sq mi (0.1 km2)
Highest elevation 269 ft (82 m)
Lowest elevation 249 ft (76 m)
Population (2010)
 • City 18,884
 • Density 1,312.8/sq mi (510.2/km2)
 • Metro 44,170 Arkansas census statistical areas
Demonym(s) El Doradoans
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP codes 71730, 71731, 71768
Area code(s) 870
FIPS code 05-21070
GNIS feature ID 0076861


El Dorado is a city in and the county seat of Union County, Arkansas, USA.[1] According to estimates, the 2012 census, the population of the city is 18,491, which represents a decline of 2.1 percent from the 2010 tabulation of 18,884.[2]

El Dorado is headquarters of the Arkansas Oil and Gas Commission as well as Murphy Oil Corporation, Deltic Timber Corporation, and the Lion Oil Refinery. The city contains a community college, South Arkansas Community College ("SouthArk"), a multi-cultural arts center: South Arkansas Arts Center (SAAC), an award-winning renovated downtown, and numerous sporting, shopping, and dining opportunities. El Dorado is the population, cultural, and business center of the regional area. The city is best known as being the heart of the 1920s oil boom in southern Arkansas. Its nickname is "Arkansas’s Original Boomtown". El Dorado is located about 100 miles (160 km) from the state capital of Little Rock.


  • Geography 1
    • Topography 1.1
    • Climate 1.2
  • Infrastructure 2
    • Major highways 2.1
    • Airports 2.2
    • Utilities 2.3
    • Health systems 2.4
  • Demographics 3
  • Schools and education 4
    • Public 4.1
      • Elementary 4.1.1
      • Secondary 4.1.2
      • Post Secondary 4.1.3
        • El Dorado Promise
        • New El Dorado High School
        • Collegiate
    • Private 4.2
  • Parks and recreation 5
    • Parks 5.1
    • Recreation Complex 5.2
    • South Arkansas Arboretum and Botanical Garden 5.3
    • Private sports clubs 5.4
      • El Dorado Golf and Country Club 5.4.1
      • El Dorado Racquet Club 5.4.2
      • Memorial Stadium 5.4.3
  • Cultural 6
    • Performing arts 6.1
      • South Arkansas Arts Center 6.1.1
      • Rialto Theater Music Hall 6.1.2
      • Municipal Auditorium 6.1.3
      • South Arkansas Symphony Orchestra 6.1.4
    • Annual events 6.2
    • Points of interest 6.3
      • El Dorado Conference Center 6.3.1
      • Union County Courthouse 6.3.2
      • Other points of interest 6.3.3
    • Media 6.4
      • Radio 6.4.1
      • Television 6.4.2
      • Print 6.4.3
    • Notable natives and residents 6.5
  • In popular culture 7
  • Notes 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10


El Dorado is located at (33.213521, -92.662553).[3] in Union County, Arkansas in the southern part of the state. Union County is the largest county in the state of Arkansas and borders the state of Louisiana. The area has the unique feature of sharing its border with eight counties and parishes: Ouachita; Calhoun; Bradley; Columbia; Ashley; Claiborne Parish; Union Parish; and Morehouse Parish, Louisiana. El Dorado is the largest urban population center in its region.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 16.3 square miles (42 km2), of which 16.3 square miles (42 km2) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) (0.31%) is water.


El Dorado is located in the West Gulf Coastal Plain: In Arkansas, the West Gulf Coastal Plain covers the southeastern and south central portions of the state along the border of Louisiana. This Lowland area of Arkansas is characterized by pine forests and farmlands. Natural resources include natural gas, petroleum deposits and beds of bromine flats. The lowest point in the state is found on the Ouachita River in the West Gulf Coastal Plain of Arkansas.[4] El Dorado is located about 28 miles (45 km) to the west of Felsenthal National Wildlife Refuge, the world's largest green tree reservoir.


El Dorado is located in the humid subtropical zone (Köppen climate classification: Cfa).[5] El Dorado is hot during summer when temperatures tend to be in the 90's and cool during winter when temperatures tend to be in the 50's.

The warmest month of the year is July with an average maximum temperature of 92.70 degrees Fahrenheit, while the coldest month of the year is January with an average minimum temperature of 32.90 degrees Fahrenheit.

Temperature variations between night and day tend to be moderate during summer with a difference that can reach 22 degrees Fahrenheit, and moderate during winter with an average difference of 23 degrees Fahrenheit.

The annual average precipitation at El Dorado is 54.11 inches. Rainfall in is fairly evenly distributed throughout the year. The wettest month of the year is May with an average rainfall of 5.49 inches.

Climate data for El Dorado
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 50
Average low °F (°C) 31
Average precipitation inches (mm) 4.92
Source: [6]


Major highways


El Dorado Chamber of Commerce building is located downtown.
Regions Bank in El Dorado
El Dorado News-Times office
El Dorado was an oil boom town in the 1920s.

El Dorado has two airports, one commercial and a small general aviation airport, both of which are owned by the city. The South Arkansas Regional Airport at Goodwin Field offers mostly private aircraft, as well as commercial service via one airline carrier.[7] El Dorado's second airport is located within the city limits and closer to the downtown area. The El Dorado Downtown Airport has flights in and out for local industries, including Fortune 500 oil and gas companies and those who own small private planes have the option to lease or own their own hangar.

SeaPort Airlines offers scheduled flights from Goodwin Field to Dallas, Texas; Harrison, Arkansas; Hot Springs, Arkansas; Jonesboro, Arkansas; Kansas City, Missouri; and Memphis, Tennessee.[8]


El Dorado water is served locally by El Dorado Water Utilities, a private company categorized under Water and Sewage Companies-Utility. Current estimates show this company has an annual revenue of $10 to 20 million and employs a staff of approximately 50 to 99.[9] The electric power is provided by Entergy of Arkansas. Other utility companies serving El Dorado and surrounding areas include Centerpoint Energy (natural gas), Southern Lp-Gas Inc (Liquid Gas), Bcs Inc (Commercial and Residential Bottled Gas, Metered Gas Service), Suddenlink Television (Cable TV, Internet and Phone), Verizon Wireless, AT&T (residential and wireless phone services), among others.

Health systems

The city and surrounding area is served by the Medical Center of South Arkansas, MCSA, accredited by the inpatient services include obstetrics and newborn care (with neonatal intensive care), medical care surgical care, pediatric care, intensive care, intermediate care, recuperative care, physical medicine and rehabilitation.

The Med Center is also home to the Heart and Vascular Institute. The Cardiovascular Services Center, located on the campus of the Medical Center of South Arkansas, is a regional leader in cardiovascular care, offering one of the largest and most comprehensive programs, from cardiac to interventional to surgical care.

A Women’s Center is also located on campus and provides healthcare to women in our community and surrounding areas. It also has one of the only Neonatal Specialty Care Units in the state, for even the tiniest and most critical patients.

Outpatient services include one-day surgery, speech therapy, physical and occupational therapies, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, wound care, a gastroenterology laboratory, and radiation therapy. Other support services include home health care and senior health center.

With more than 40 million dollars in facility and equipment improvements since 1996, this modern facility provides state-of-the-art technologies, including open MRI, PET imaging, interventional radiology and digital mammography with CAD over-read capabilities. The Med Center has more than 100 primary care and specialty physicians on staff, providing a wide range of medical and surgical specialties.

Chaplaincy Services and Education at MCSA provides spiritual care, emotional support, and crisis ministry to Medical Center of South Arkansas patients, their families, and MCSA employees.[10]


As of the census[13] of 2010, there were 18,884 people, 8,969 households, and 5,732 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,323.3 people per square mile (510.9/km²). There were 9,969 housing units at an average density of 607.9 per square mile (234.7/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 45.1% White, 49.9% Black or African American, 0.30% Native American, 0.71% Asian, 0.8% Pacific Islander, 0.39% from other races, and 0.86% from two or more races. 1.04% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.[14]

There were 8,686 households out of which 30.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.9% were married couples living together, 19.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.0% were non-families. Of 8,686 households, 304 are unmarried partner households: 243 heterosexual, 19 same-sex male, and 42 same-sex female. 30.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.40 and the average family size was 2.99.

In the city, the population was spread out with 26.3% under the age of 18, 8.4% from 18 to 24, 25.9% from 25 to 44, 21.1% from 45 to 64, and 18.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 85.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 78.8 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $27,045, and the median income for a family was $34,753. Males had a median income of $30,876 versus $19,211 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,332. About 20.0% of families and 24.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 36.3% of those under age 18 and 13.8% of those age 65 or over.

Schools and education

According to the 2000 Census, 22.5% of the population age 25+ had an Associate degree or higher.[15] More than 400 teachers and administrators work to meet the needs of all students regardless of age, ability, or background. Approximately 50 percent of these teachers and administrators hold advanced degrees.[16]


More than 4,600 students attend the 9 El Dorado public schools in the El Dorado School District #15. The superintendent is Jim Tucker.


There are 5 Elementary Schools in the district divided into academies (K-4) and 1 (K-6):

  • Hugh Goodwin Elementary School of the Arts
  • Murmil Heights learning center
  • Northwest Elementary School of Environment
  • Retta Brown Elementary School of Communication and Technologies
  • Yocum Elementary School of Math and Science


Post Secondary

  • Professional Cosmetology Education Center (PCEC), is a private institution providing educational programs, services, and resources for students. For students who wish to become licensed professionals, Professional Cosmetology Education Center offers certificates in cosmetology and aesthetics. Additionally, Professional Cosmetology Education Center provides a student operated clinic open to the public.[17]
El Dorado Promise

Starting with the class of 2007, The El Dorado Promise is a unique scholarship program established and funded by Murphy Oil Corporation. The Promise provides graduates of El Dorado High School with a scholarship covering tuition and mandatory fees that can be used at any accredited two- or four-year public or private educational institution in the US. The maximum amount payable is up to the highest annual resident tuition at an Arkansas public university.[18]

New El Dorado High School

A new high school was completed in June 2011. The new school is for 1,500 students and is a 320,000-sq-ft, 2-story structure made of wood, masonry, concrete, and steel. Located in the original 1920s oil field, the campus includes a 2,000 seat arena/gymnasium, 450-seat fine arts auditorium, and seven classroom zones on a site totaling 62 acres.[19]

Murphy Oil’s $50 million gift to education in El Dorado set the wheels in motion for the new school.

The new EHS has more than 100 classrooms and instructional spaces, six dedicated computer labs, media center, theater with sloped and tiered lecture seating, a basketball arena, 75-seat “black box” theatre, 13 science labs, “Main Street” circulation corridors and central octunda, and an 8,000 sq ft (740 m2) student dining/commons with serving area.

Key Facts:

  • Cost: $43.3 million
  • Start/Completion: March 2009/June 2011
  • Owner: El Dorado Public School District #15
  • General Contractor: Baldwin & Shell Construction Co., Little Rock, Arkansas.
  • Architect: CADM Architecture Inc.
  • Civil Engineer: Hunt Guillot Associates LLC, Ruston, Louisiana.
  • Structural Engineer: Engineering Consultants Inc.
  • MEP Engineer: TME Inc.

South Arkansas Community College (SouthArk), is a public two-year institution providing educational programs, services, and resources for students. SouthArk offers degrees and certificates in health sciences, industrial technologies, liberal arts, and business. For students who want to obtain two years of education and transfer to a four-year college, SouthArk offers the associate of arts degree, the associate of arts in teaching degree, the associate of business degree and a number of associate degrees with professional emphasis. SouthArk is a leading institution for training health care professionals in Arkansas. Programs include, but are not limited to: Nursing, Emergency Medical Technology, Health Information Technology, Clinical Laboratory Science, Occupational Therapy Assistant, Physical Therapist Assistant, Radiologic Technology, and Surgical Technology.[20]


  • Maranatha Baptist Christian School (PK-12)
  • West Side Christians School (PK-12) ANSAA Accredited School Website
West Side Baptist Church operates a PK-12 grade campus in El Dorado.
  • Light Brigade Christian Academy (PK-12)

Parks and recreation

The city offers many outdoor activities and parks in all corners of the city for recreation including tennis courts, baseball and softball fields, golf courses, and walking trails. The city also contains a botanical state park.


  • Bodenhamer Skate Park
  • Bozeman Park
  • Lions Club Park and Golf Course
  • Mattocks Park
  • Mellor Park
  • Mitchell Park
  • Mosby Park
  • Neel Park
  • Old City Park
  • South Side Park

Recreation Complex

El Dorado Recreation Complex and Pavilion has a playground area, multiple baseball/softball facilities and two spacious pavilions. It is home of the El Dorado High School Wildcat Baseball Field and Ladycat Softball Field.

South Arkansas Arboretum and Botanical Garden

The South Arkansas Arboretum is an arboretum and botanical garden owned by the local school system but operated as Arkansas's 50th state park by the South Arkansas Community College. It is located next to the old El Dorado High School on Timberlane street and is open daily except for holidays. Opened in 1965, the arboretum is Arkansas's only state park located within a city. It includes more than two miles (3 km) of paved trails.[21]

Private sports clubs

El Dorado Golf and Country Club

Private golf course. The 18-hole "El Dorado" course at the El Dorado Golf & Country Club facility features 6,449 yards of golf from the longest tees for a par of 71. The course rating is 70.2 and it has a slope rating of 116. Designed by Herman Hackbarth, the El Dorado golf course opened in 1925.[22]

El Dorado Racquet Club

Private Club - Accepts Non-Members. 4 stadium-lit outdoor hard surface tennis courts, pro shop, clubhouse, lounge, gym, swimming pools and banquet opportunities.[23]

Memorial Stadium

Memorial Stadium is a fully equipped 6,000-seat football stadium and track, and home of the El Dorado Wildcats. After a major field and stadium renovation in 2010, the stadium features a synthetic turf field by Athletic Surfaces Plus and a video scoreboard. The stadium hosts sports events year round, most notably the Boomtown Classic, an annual college football match between in-state college football rivals.


Performing arts

South Arkansas Arts Center

El Dorado has been a regional center for the

  • El Dorado Promise
  • El Dorado News-Times
  • South Arkansas Community College
  • History of El Dorado's Jewish community (from the Institute of Southern Jewish Life)
  • Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture entry: El Dorado (Union County)
  • The South Arkansas Leader
  • KIX 103
  • MIX96
  • KAGL
  • KELD
  • KMLK

External links

  • Jay Herrod, "Story of Arkansas's Oil Boom Unfolds at Smackover Museum." Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism: November 26, 2002.


  1. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  2. ^ "Population of the City of El Dorado, Arkansas". Retrieved August 9, 2012. 
  3. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990".  
  4. ^ "Arkansas Geography from". Netstate. Retrieved 2012-08-19. 
  5. ^ "World Map of the Köppen-Geiger climate classification updated". University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna. 2008-11-06. Retrieved 2010-09-25. 
  6. ^ "Weatherbase". Weatherbase. Retrieved 2012-08-19. 
  7. ^ "Resources > Airport > S Arkansas Regional Airport (El Dorado, AR) [KELD/ELD]". FlightAware. Retrieved 2012-08-19. 
  8. ^ "Welcome to SeaPort Airlines - Hit The Sky Running". 2012-05-31. Retrieved 2012-08-19. 
  9. ^ "El Dorado Water Utilities (City Of El Dorado) - El Dorado, Arkansas (AR) | Company Profile". Retrieved 2012-08-19. 
  10. ^ "Home - About Us". Retrieved 2012-08-19. 
  11. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  12. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  13. ^ "American FactFinder".  
  14. ^ "El Dorado, AR ZIP codes, demographics, job listings, schools, income stats & more". Retrieved 2012-08-19. 
  15. ^ "US Census Bureau Quick facts Sheet accessed 1 February 2007" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-08-19. 
  16. ^ El Dorado School District Home Page
  17. ^ "Professional Cosmetology Education Center". Professional Cosmetology Education Center. Retrieved 2013-01-27. 
  18. ^ "El Dorado Promise". El Dorado Promise. Retrieved 2012-08-19. 
  19. ^ "El Dorado High School, El Dorado, Ark. | South Central Construction | McGraw-Hill Construction". South Central Construction. 2010-06-01. Retrieved 2012-08-19. 
  20. ^ "SouthArk". 1992-06-30. Retrieved 2012-08-19. 
  21. ^ "South Arkansas Arboretum is adjacent to El Dorado HS on west gulf coastal plain". Arkansas State Parks. Retrieved 2012-08-19. 
  22. ^ McLean, Jim. "El Dorado Golf & Country Club | El Dorado Golf Course". Retrieved 2012-08-19. 
  23. ^ "Tennis Club in El Dorado, AR 71730 // directions to El Dorado Racquet Club". Retrieved 2012-08-19. 
  24. ^ "South Arkansas Arts Center and Theatre - El Dorado, AR - Events, Entertainment". Retrieved 2012-08-19. 
  25. ^ "South Arkansas Arts Center | El Dorado, AR". 2010-07-29. Archived from the original on 2010-07-29. Retrieved 2012-08-19. 
  26. ^ "Rialto Theater". Cinema Treasures. Retrieved 2012-08-19. 
  27. ^ "Rialto Theater is indeed haunted". Spirit Seekers. Retrieved 2012-08-19. 
  28. ^ "South Arkansas Symphony - El Dorado, AR - Events, Entertainment". Retrieved 2012-08-19. 
  29. ^ "About the South Arkansas Symphony Orchestra". Retrieved 2012-08-19. 
  30. ^ "Mayhaw Festival - South Arkansas Historical Preservation Society & the Newton House Museum". 
  31. ^ "Bugs Bands & Bikes - Main Street El Dorado". 
  32. ^ "SouthArk Expo - South Arkansas Outdoor Expo". 
  33. ^ "MyArkLaMiss - MusicFest El Dorado Named Festival of The Year". 
  34. ^ "Main Street El Dorado - MusicFest". 
  35. ^ "El Dorado Conference Center". 2011-07-19. Archived from the original on 2011-07-19. Retrieved 2012-08-19. 
  36. ^ "Union County, Arkansas: History and Information". Retrieved 2012-08-19. 
  37. ^ "Union County, Arkansas". 1983-06-30. Retrieved 2012-08-19. 
  38. ^ "El Dorado News Times - daily newspaper in El Dorado, Arkansas USA with local news and events". Retrieved 2012-08-19. 
  39. ^ "State Rep. Ron Simmons District 65 (R-Carrollton)".  
  40. ^ Wheeler (1975) - IMDb


The cult classic horror movie, Psycho from Texas was filmed in and around El Dorado in the early seventies. Interior and exterior shots of notable El Dorado locations, including the Court House, Hills Recreation Pool Parlor, Crab Apple Point, Ebbys Cafe, The Townhouse Restaurant, and many older El Dorado homes. A hired Texas outlaw comes to El Dorado to kidnap a retired oil man, his psychopathic ways are unleashed on the sleepy town folk of El Dorado.[40]

In popular culture

Notable natives and residents

  • Circulation: 9,371 copies
  • Published seven days a week
  • This newspaper is owned by Wehco Media Inc.

El Dorado News-Times is owned by the Walter E. Hussman Company (WEHCO), owner of the state's largest newspaper, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.[38]

El Dorado is also served by the El Dorado News-Times, one of the oldest newspapers in South Arkansas. El Dorado News Times is a daily newspaper covering local news, sports, business, jobs, and community events.



  • KTBS 3 (ABC) - Shreveport

El Dorado is also served by stations broadcast from nearby Shreveport and Monroe, Louisiana:

Additionally, over the air television programming is also available from KETZ-DT, the AETN/PBS affiliate for El Dorado. Currently, KETZ broadcasts HD programming on channel 12.1, in 720p resolution.

K18AB-D is a translator station of KNOE, the CBS affiliate in Monroe, Louisiana. However, the translator broadcasts KNOE's full HD signal; a major service to the HD viewers in Union County who cannot receive KNOE's main digital signal broadcasting from Columbia, Louisiana; over 75 miles (121 km) away.

Over the air HD television programming is currently available for two of the four major networks:

All three transmitters are located east of El Dorado, in Huttig, Arkansas. While KTVE no longer considers El Dorado their primary newsroom, the station is licensed to El Dorado by the FCC. The station moved primary operations to Monroe, Louisiana in 1988.

El Dorado broadcast outlets consist of three full-power television stations; two commercial, and one public.


  • KBSA 90.9 FM Red River Radio([14]) is a four station public radio network and NPR affiliate based out of Shreveport, LA. As part of the network, KBSA became the first HD Digital Radio broadcaster in the South Arkansas region. The station and network is supported primarily through listener and corporate contributions.

The public radio station is:

Noalmark Broadcasting Corporation owns and operates five radio stations:

El Dorado Broadcasting owns:

El Dorado is home to one public radio station and seven commercial radio stations which are operated by two ownership groups, Noalmark Broadcasting Corporation, and El Dorado Broadcasting.



  • Courthouse Square (including public artwork)
  • Historic Main Street Pizza
  • Madison Square Shopping Center
  • Murphy Oil Corp. headquarters located in downtown El Dorado
  • Former West and Company department store outlet owned by H. O. West of Minden, Louisiana.
  • Club Anthony
  • The Blue Building

Other points of interest

  • Designer: Peterson/Mann & Stern
  • Date: 1928
  • Building Type: Government
  • Construction System: Limestone, Terra Cotta
  • Architectural Style: Greek Revival
  • National Register: 1983
  • NRHP ID Number: 83001169

The Union County Courthouse was built from 1927 – 28 as a Greek revival by Mann & Stern architects of Little Rock. The original Union County Courthouse, built in 1844 at a cost of $200 stood where Larry's Rexall Drug Store is today. As the county seat, El Dorado quickly outgrew even its second courthouse (built on this site in 1848) in the 1920s due to the oil boom's voluminous deed and title transactions. Faceted in smooth-dressed limestone, the third and current courthouse boasts 40 freestanding ionic exterior columns spanning four stories, and a richly detailed marble two-story atrium with art deco accents. The exterior medallions of the scales of justice and lanterns of light signify the search for truth. The building's largest courtroom features a walnut wainscot, painting and scoring on textured plaster walls to resemble stone, and an ornately detailed plaster cast ceiling of gilded rosettes.[36] Back when the square was flanked by log cabin structures there was a large duck pond on this site. Emigrants camped on its banks. Many pioneer citizens recorded incidents where deer and even bears came to drink – and hunters would frequently bag their dinner by shooting the wild ducks that lit there in the mid-1800. It was filled in under contract by Ben Mathews.[37]

Union County Courthouse

  • Architects: Polk Stanley Wilcox Architects
  • Contractors: CDI Contractors
  • Size: 50,764 square feet (4,716.1 m2)
  • Total Meeting Rooms / Total Meeting Area: 8 / 14,560 square feet
  • Meeting Space for up to 2,500
  • Murphy Convention Hall and large concourse

Built in 2010 and dedicated in 2011, this $14.4 million, 50,764-square-foot (4,716.1 m2) multi-purpose facility contains a large assembly hall with a capacity for 1,000 banquet style seating and theatre seating for up to 2,500. In addition to the main hall, there are 5 small meeting rooms that are capable of being joined together or separated by moveable walls to allow for many classroom, meeting or training arrangements. A full commercial kitchen facilitates catering and banquet dining. The building houses student services for South Arkansas Community College. This area includes a bookstore, café, meeting rooms, counseling, curriculum and financial advisement, training and testing rooms.[35]

New El Dorado Conference Center

El Dorado Conference Center

Points of interest

El Dorado also hosts winter holiday events, including the Festival of Lights and the "largest Christmas parade in Arkansas".

During the first weekend of October, El Dorado celebrates the two-day MusicFest, a Music Festival which takes up eight city blocks, features over 30 acts on five stages and was named Arkansas Festival & Event Association 'Festival Of The Year' in 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014.[33] Past headliners have included Toby Keith, the Charlie Daniels Band, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Tracy Lawrence, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, John Anderson, Eddie Money, Blues Traveler, Jack Ingram, Joe Nichols, Patrice Pike and Trout Fishing in America.[34]

In September, the city hosts the SouthArk Outdoor Expo,[32] with outdoor activities and events targeted to anglers, hunters, children, and families.

On the Fourth of July, the city hosts a Fantastic Fourth Celebration, which includes a 5k run, an antique car show, and fireworks.

Beginning on the first Saturday in May, the Mayhaw Festival is hosted by the South Arkansas Historical Preservation Society.[30] The official event name is Bugs Bands & Bikes.[31] It coincides with a crawfish boil, a "Battle of the Bands", a bike show/one day motorcycle rally, a motorcycle parade, pool tournament, and other activities.

El Dorado is the site for several annual events.

Annual events

[29] Currently,

Growth of the orchestra continued under the direction of Dr. Eloy Fominaya, Dr. Joe Barry Mullins, Jimmie Reynolds, Gerald Kiger, Richard Oliver, Dr. Richard Worthington, Alan Burdick, and Kermit Poling. All played an integral part in providing South Arkansas access to high quality artistic music through extensive touring, recording, and community education concerts. All activity benefited the South Arkansas region, both in terms of economic and cultural impact.

Founded in 1956 as one of the first Shreveport Symphony was guest artist. Interest grew in the orchestra and its mission expanded to fulfill a regional role serving as the South Arkansas Symphony Orchestra.

South Arkansas Symphony Orchestra

The historic 1,830 seat El Dorado Municipal Auditorium is a multi-purpose auditorium facility with large lobby, grand hall seating, and multi-tiered sloping balcony. For more than 50 years, Municipal Auditorium has been the mainstay of many musical acts, entertainment shows, school productions, dance recitals and is home to the South Arkansas Symphony Orchestra.

Municipal Auditorium

  • Style: Neo-Classical
  • Function: Movies (First Run), Music Hall, Performances
  • Seats: 1400
  • Chain: Independent
  • Firm: Kolben, Hunter & Boyd
  • NRHP ID#: 86001888

The Rialto was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1986. It has long been rumored to be haunted. Dozens of former employees have reported unexplained footsteps, strange apparitions and even the fleeting scent of a woman’s cologne in an upstairs bathroom. Many supernatural experts and network television teams have spent time at the Rialto.[27]

Built on the site of an earlier Rialto Theater (1921–1928), the Rialto Theater opened in 1929, with seating for 1,400, originally presenting both live stage shows in addition to films.[26] The Rialto Theater closed in 1980, but was restored in 1987 and reopened once more showing movies, subdivided into 3-screens. The theater closed again in the early 2000s to be renovated into a music hall with performances given weekly by local and touring musical acts and shows.

El Dorado honors rockabilly music with this downtown exhibit near the courthouse.
Rialto Theater hosts live music events in El Dorado.

Rialto Theater Music Hall

SAAC presents a series of eight to twelve contemporary performance events each year on stage and hosts rotating art exhibitions each year of national, regional and local significance in the Merkle, Price, and Lobby art galleries. SAAC also rents its performance facilities to independent groups who present their own programs in the Callaway Theatre, a 207-seat auditorium with a 35-foot (11 m) prosceniums style stage.[25]


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