El Dorado, Arkansas

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El Dorado, Arkansas
Jefferson Street in downtown El Dorado's Union Square District
Union County Arkansas Incorporated and Unincorporated areas El Dorado Highlighted 0521070.svg
Location of El Dorado in Union County, Arkansas.
USA Arkansas location map.svg
Red pog.svg
El Dorado, Arkansas
Location of El Dorado in Union County, Arkansas.
Coordinates: 33°12′49″N92°39′45″W / 33.21361°N 92.66250°W / 33.21361; -92.66250 Coordinates: 33°12′49″N92°39′45″W / 33.21361°N 92.66250°W / 33.21361; -92.66250
Country United States
State Arkansas
County Union
EstablishedMay 5, 1870
  Type Mayor-council
  BodyEl Dorado City Council
  MayorVeronica Smith-Creer
  City16.20 sq mi (41.95 km2)
  Land16.19 sq mi (41.93 km2)
  Water0.01 sq mi (0.02 km2)
Highest elevation
269 ft (82 m)
Lowest elevation
249 ft (76 m)
(2017) [2]
  Density1,113.65/sq mi (429.99/km2)
44,170 Arkansas census statistical areas
Demonym(s) El Doradoans
Time zone UTC-6 (Central (CST))
  Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP codes
71730, 71731, 71768
Area code(s) 870
FIPS code 05-21070
GNIS feature ID0076861
Highways I-69 (Future).svg
US 63.svg US 82.svg US 167.svg
Arkansas 7.svg Arkansas 15.svg
Website goeldorado.com

El Dorado is a city in, and the county seat of, Union County, on the southern border of Arkansas, United States. [3] According to estimates, the 2012 census, the population of the city is 18,491. [4]

A county seat is an administrative center, seat of government, or capital city of a county or civil parish. The term is used in Canada, China, Romania, Taiwan and the United States. County towns have a similar function in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland, and historically in Jamaica.

Union County, Arkansas County in the United States

Union County is a county located on the central southern border of the U.S. state of Arkansas. As of the 2010 census, the population was 41,639. The county seat is El Dorado. The county was formed on November 2, 1829, and named in recognition of the citizens' petition for a new county, which said that they were petitioning "in the spirit of Union and Unity." The county is directly adjacent to the south to Union Parish in the state of Louisiana.

Arkansas State of the United States of America

Arkansas is a state in the southern region of the United States, home to over 3 million people as of 2018. Its name is of Siouan derivation from the language of the Osage denoting their related kin, the Quapaw Indians. The state's diverse geography ranges from the mountainous regions of the Ozark and the Ouachita Mountains, which make up the U.S. Interior Highlands, to the densely forested land in the south known as the Arkansas Timberlands, to the eastern lowlands along the Mississippi River and the Arkansas Delta.


El Dorado is headquarters of the Arkansas Oil and Gas Commission as well as Murphy Oil, Murphy USA, 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). El Dorado is the population, cultural, and business center of the regional area.

Murphy Oil company

Murphy Oil Corporation is a petroleum and natural gas exploration company headquartered in El Dorado, Arkansas. The company also has operating offices in Houston, Texas, Calgary, Alberta, and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Murphy USA American corporation operating a chain of retail gas stations

Murphy USA is an American corporation operating a chain of retail gas stations that are primarily located in proximity to Walmart stores. It was founded as a spin-off of Murphy Oil in 2013. In 2018, it was ranked 279 on the Fortune 500 list of the largest United States corporations by revenue.

Lion Oil

Lion Oil Company was established in 1922. Thomas Harry (Colonel) Barton was instrumental in the development of the company.

The city is best known as being the heart of the 1920s oil boom in southern Arkansas. Its nickname is "Arkansas’s Original Boomtown". During World War II, it became a center of the chemical industry, which still plays a part in the economy, as do oil and timber. El Dorado is located approximately 100 miles (160 km) from the state capital of Little Rock.

Little Rock, Arkansas Capital of Arkansas

Little Rock is the capital and most populous city of the U.S. state of Arkansas. It is also the county seat of Pulaski County. It was incorporated on November 7, 1831, on the south bank of the Arkansas River close to the state's geographic center. The city derives its name from a rock formation along the river, named the "Little Rock" by the French explorer Jean-Baptiste Bénard de la Harpe in the 1720s. The capital of the Arkansas Territory was moved to Little Rock from Arkansas Post in 1821. The city's population was 198,541 in 2016 according to the United States Census Bureau. The six-county Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, AR Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) is ranked 78th in terms of population in the United States with 738,344 residents according to the 2017 estimate by the United States Census Bureau.


On May 21, 1919, Frank Livingston, a black World War I veteran accused of murder with scant evidence, was burned alive by a mob in El Dorado. [5] [6]


El Dorado is located at 33°12′49″N92°39′45″W / 33.21361°N 92.66250°W / 33.21361; -92.66250 (33.213521, -92.662553). [7] 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.

Louisiana State of the United States of America

Louisiana is a state in the Deep South region of the South Central United States. It is the 31st most extensive and the 25th most populous of the 50 United States. Louisiana is bordered by the state of Texas to the west, Arkansas to the north, Mississippi to the east, and the Gulf of Mexico to the south. A large part of its eastern boundary is demarcated by the Mississippi River. Louisiana is the only U.S. state with political subdivisions termed parishes, which are equivalent to counties. The state's capital is Baton Rouge, and its largest city is New Orleans.

Calhoun County, Arkansas County in the United States

Calhoun County is a county located in the south central part of the U.S. state of Arkansas. As of the 2010 census, the population was 5,368, making it the least populous county in Arkansas. The county seat is Hampton. Calhoun County is Arkansas's 55th county, formed on December 6, 1850, and named for John C. Calhoun, a Vice President of the United States.

Bradley County, Arkansas County in the United States

Bradley County is a county located in the U.S. state of Arkansas. As of the 2010 census, the population was 11,508. The county seat is Warren. It is Arkansas's 43rd county, formed on December 18, 1840, and named for Captain Hugh Bradley, who fought in the War of 1812. It is an alcohol prohibition or dry county, and is the home of the Bradley County Pink Tomato Festival.

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.

United States Census Bureau Bureau of the United States responsible for the census and related statistics

The United States Census Bureau is a principal agency of the U.S. Federal Statistical System, responsible for producing data about the American people and economy. The Census Bureau is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce and its director is appointed by the President of the United States.


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. [8] 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). [9] 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 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
Average high °F (°C)50
Average low °F (°C)31
Average precipitation inches (mm)4.92
Source: [10]


Major highways


El Dorado Chamber of Commerce building is located downtown. El Dorado, AR, Chamber of Commerce Bldg. IMG 2592.JPG
El Dorado Chamber of Commerce building is located downtown.
Regions Bank in El Dorado Regions Bank, El Dorado, AR IMG 2601.JPG
Regions Bank in El Dorado
El Dorado News-Times office El Dorado, AR News-Times building IMG 2614.JPG
El Dorado News-Times office
El Dorado was an oil boom town in the 1920s. El Dorado, AR, Boom Town poster IMG 2620.JPG
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. [11] 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.

The airport was previously serviced by SeaPort Airlines, but flights ceased following SeaPort's liquidation on 20 September 2016. The US Department of Transportation announced 9 December 2016 that a new EAS contract had been awarded to Southern Airways Express to fly 18 weekly round trip non stop flights to Dallas Fort Worth. [12]


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. [13] 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 Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, is a general acute-care hospital licensed by the Arkansas Department of Health. [14]


Historical population
1880 443
1890 4552.7%
1900 1,069134.9%
1910 4,202293.1%
1920 3,887−7.5%
1930 16,421322.5%
1940 15,858−3.4%
1950 23,07645.5%
1960 25,2929.6%
1970 25,2830.0%
1980 25,270−0.1%
1990 23,146−8.4%
2000 21,530−7.0%
2010 18,884−12.3%
Est. 201718,030 [2] −4.5%
U.S. Decennial Census [15]
2014 Estimate [16]

As of the census [17] 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 49.9% Black or African American, 45.1% White, 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. [18]

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. [19] 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. [20]


More than 4,600 students attend the nine El Dorado public schools in the El Dorado School District #15.


There are five 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 is a private institution providing educational programs, services, and resources for students. [21]
El Dorado Promise

Provides graduates of the 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. [22]

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. [23]

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.


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. [24]


West Side Baptist Church operates a PK-12 grade campus in El Dorado. West Side Baptist Church, El Dorado, AR IMG 2645.JPG
West Side Baptist Church operates a PK-12 grade campus in El Dorado.

A Roman Catholic school, Holy Redeemer School, operated in El Dorado until its 2005 closure. [25]

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.


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. [26]

Private sports clubs

Hot Shots Bar and Grill

El Dorado Golf and Country Club

The 18-hole course opened in 1925 features 6,449 yards of golf from the longest tees for a par of 71. [27]

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. [28]

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

Murphy Arts District (MAD)

El Dorado Festivals & Events has been working for the past 4 years to create a new Arts & Entertainment District in downtown El Dorado - the Murphy Arts District. Our goal is to provide the city of El Dorado with creative outlets to explore music, dance, theater, art and food in fun and immersive ways that hold true to the people and culture of El Dorado.

The outdoor Amphitheater hosts large festivals and events for over 7,000 people with market pavilions for seasonal farmers markets, and the largest park in the city.

South Arkansas Arts Center

El Dorado has been a regional center for the performing arts for many years. The South Arkansas Arts Center, or known locally as SAAC, is an independent community-supported nonprofit organization. The mission of the South Arkansas Arts Center in serving the people of the bi-state region is to promote, bridge, facilitate and support the ideas and forms of artistic appreciation, education, ability, confidence and cooperation for all age, cultural, social and racial groups. This 22,500-square-foot (2,090 m2) facility houses three visual art galleries, a ballet studio, a 207-seat theatre, educational classroom space, and an open studio for artists in the community. [29]

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. [30]

Rialto Theater Music Hall

Rialto Theater hosts live music events in El Dorado. Rialto Theater, El Dorado, AR IMG 2629.JPG
Rialto Theater hosts live music events in El Dorado.
El Dorado honors rockabilly music with this downtown exhibit near the courthouse. Rockabilly guitar replica in El Dorado, AR IMG 2595.JPG
El Dorado honors rockabilly music with this downtown exhibit near the courthouse.

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. [31] 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.

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. [32]

Municipal Auditorium

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.

South Arkansas Symphony Orchestra

Founded in 1956 as one of the first orchestras in Arkansas, a group of local music lovers formed the El Dorado Symphony and Choral Society. The purpose of the organization was to form a symphony orchestra which would provide an outlet for musicians in the community, especially students of unusual ability. Felix Spooner, string instructor in the local schools, was named the conductor. The first concert was performed in 1957 by a 30 piece orchestra.

Annual events

El Dorado is the site for several annual events.

Beginning on the first Saturday in May, the Mayhaw Festival is hosted by the South Arkansas Historical Preservation Society. [33] The official event name is Bugs Bands & Bikes. [34] 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.

In September, the city hosts the SouthArk Outdoor Expo, [35] with outdoor activities and events targeted to anglers, hunters, children, and families.

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. [36] 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. [37]

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

Points of interest

El Dorado Conference Center

New El Dorado Conference Center El Dorado, AR, Conference Center IMG 2633.JPG
New El Dorado Conference Center

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. [38]

Union County Courthouse

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. 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. [39] [40]

Other points of interest

  • Courthouse Square (including public artwork)
  • Professional Cosmetology Education Center
  • 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



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.

El Dorado Broadcasting owns:

Noalmark Broadcasting Corporation owns and operates five radio stations:

The public radio station is:

El Dorado is also the home of KAKV, 88.9 FM, an owned and operated affiliate of the K-LOVE radio network.


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

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.

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

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.

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.

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

  • KTBS 3 (ABC) - Shreveport



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.

El Dorado News-Times is owned by the Walter E. Hussman Company (WEHCO), owner of the state's largest newspaper, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. [41]

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

Notable people

International relations

Twin towns/Sister cities

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Rialto Theatre may refer to:

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KELD may refer to:

South Arkansas Community College

South Arkansas Community College (SouthArk) is a public two-year college in downtown El Dorado in Union County, Arkansas.

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El Dorado High School is an accredited comprehensive public secondary school located in El Dorado, Arkansas, United States. The high school serves students in grades 9 through 12 for the community of El Dorado and surrounding unincorporated communities in Union County, Arkansas. The school is administered by the El Dorado School District. Its principal is Alva Reibe. The school has won 26 state athletic championships.

KELD-FM is a radio station licensed to Hampton, Arkansas, United States, the station serves the El Dorado area. The station is currently owned by Noalmark Broadcasting Corporation.

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The El Dorado Commercial Historic District encompasses the historic commercial heart of downtown El Dorado, Arkansas. The city serves as the seat of Union County, and experienced a significant boom in growth during the 1920s, after oil was discovered in the area. The business district that grew in this time is anchored by the Union County Courthouse, at the corner of Main and Washington Streets, where the Confederate memorial is also located. The historic district listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2003 includes the city blocks surrounding the courthouse, as well as several blocks extending east along Main Street and south along Washington Street. Most of the commercial buildings are one and two stories in height and are built of brick. Notable exceptions include the Exchange Bank building, which was, at nine stories, the county's first skyscraper, and the eight-story Murphy Oil building. There are more than forty contributing properties in the district.

Rialto Theatre (El Dorado, Arkansas) theater in El Dorado, Arkansas

The Rialto Theatre is a historic performing venue at 117 East Cedar Street in downtown El Dorado, Arkansas. Built in 1929 during El Dorado's oil boom years, the theater is one of the best local examples of Classical Revival architecture, and is one of the largest and most elaborately decorated performing spaces in southern Arkansas. It was designed by the local firm of Kolben, Hunter and Boyd, and seats 1400. Its main entrance has Egyptian Revival details, and is flanked by storefronts. The brick of the front facade is laid in a basketweave pattern, and is topped by a stone frieze, cornice, and parapet. The interior of the theater is elaborately decorated. The theater was owned for many years by the McWilliams family. It was closed from 1980 to 1987, and was operated as a three-screen movie theater until 2006. It has since been reconverted for use as a live performance space after being completely empty for several years and serving as a bar for a time.


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Further reading