El Dorado High School Auditorium & Memorial Stadium
El Dorado, AR

El Dorado, Arkansas is the county seat of Union County and is located at the southern end of the state about 80 miles northeast of Shreveport, Louisiana.  Though it had its beginning in 1843, it has a rich history as an oil "boom-town" of the 1920s. Also a stop on the Rock Island line, after oil was discovered at El Dorado in 1921 the Rock Island transported ninety percent of the barrels of oil produced that first year.1

The El Dorado High School campus - circa 1940

The Auditorium, long a fixture of the campus, sits in the foreground, with the 1905 administration building, commonly referred to as the “Junior College Building” and the 1940 WPA Gym are just behind it.

Photo courtesy South Arkansas Historical Society

Designed by noted architect, Charles Thompson, the El Dorado High School was originally built at 300 W. Avenue in 1905 as a single three story structure.  By 1928 new facilities to the west and rear of the current building were built and the original building became home to El Dorado Junior College, a public junior college established as a preparatory school by the El Dorado School District for students hoping to enter universities.1

The El Dorado High School Auditorium at Summit Ave. and W. Block St. - ca.1948
Photo courtesy EHS 1948 Yearbook

Included in the new facilities was the auditorium building at the corner of Summit Ave. and W. Block street.  In 1940 a gymnasium was added with WPA (Works Progress Administration) funds.  The high school and junior college often shared equipment, instructors, laboratories, the gymnasium, and other facilities, but the two institutions remained separate in many respects.1

The El Dorado High School Wildcat Band on stage in the auditorium - 1948
Photo courtesy EHS 1948 Yearbook

In particular, the high school mostly used the newer auditorium building for lectures, while the college mostly used the adjacent classroom building. By August 1942, World War II all but depleted enrollment in the college and all the equipment used by the college had been returned to the high school.1

El Dorado High School's National Honor Society on the auditorium stage - 1949
Photo courtesy EHS 1949 Yearbook

El Dorado High School students seated in a portion of the auditorium - 1949
Photo courtesy EHS 1949 Yearbook

With a balcony and large stage, the auditorium was bigger than the typical movie theater of the day.  Until the 1830 seat Municipal Auditorium was built in 1959 the High School's was one of the few auditoriums and stages in the city that could be used for theatrical events. 

West side Bleachers of El Dorado High School's Memorial Stadium - 1948
Photo courtesy EHS 1948 Yearbook

By 1948 a new 6,000 seat football stadium was built several blocks north of the High School along North West Avenue north of West 5th St. It is home for the High School's Wildcats team and was dedicated "Memorial Stadium" in honor of Union county's WWII servicemen.  The 1948 yearbook cites it as:

Dedicated to the advancement of our nation through the development of health and the glory of manly sports, this stadium stands in memory of the heroic dead of Union County in World War II, and in honor of those in the armed forces who were privileged to return to their homes and to the joy of living.

On March 30, 1955, Elvis, Scotty and Bill made the first of at least two appearances in El Dorado with a show in the High School's Auditorium.

Presley Program Slated Wednesday


Elvis Presley, the 20 year, old fireball from the Louisiana Hayride, is coming to the Senior High School, El Dorado, for a personal appearance on Mar. 30 at 8 p.m.
And the good-looking youngster, who combines country music with bop in fastest selling style available, will be sure to have the young 'uns from 9 to 90 — with him all the way.
Presley, along with his musical sidekicks, Scotty Moore and Bill Black. came upon his career quite by accident when a recording manager heard him making a personal record, and was so impressed that he signed him up to make records. The success of "'That's All Right Mama" and "Blue Moon of Kentucky" started a series of hits including "I Don't Care If the Sun Don't Shine", "Good Rockin' Tonight" and his latest release, "You're a Heartbreaker" and "Milk Cow Blues Boogie"; He also does a number of novel and rhythmic tunes on his shows that he has not recorded.
Scotty Moore plays the hot guitar and Bill Black thumps the bass, and sometimes enjoys telling a few yarns on the other boys on the shows.
T. Tommy, popular DJ from Shreveport, and Mercury Recording artist will be featured at the show too -- as will Betty Amos, Sweetheart of the Louisiana Hayride and Onie Wheeler. Mike Michel, KDMS DJ, is sponsoring the event.

Arkansas Daily News - March 27, 1955 courtesy Barton Library

The show was sponsored by local radio station KDMS and because of El Dorado's proximity to Shreveport, the weekly Hayride broadcasts came in loud and clear and Elvis was no stranger to the listeners there.  As early as February Billboard reported that "Mike Michael(s), who hangs his hat at KDMS, El Dorado, Ark., says: "This guy Elvis Presley is just about the hottest thing around these parts. His style really pleases the teen-agers." In March they reported that Elvis Presley's "You're a Heartbreaker" and "Milk Cow Blues Boogie" going strong in Michaels' area, he says.2

T. Tommy Cutrer
Photo courtesy Hillbilly Music.com

In addition to the boys, the show featured T. Tommy Cutrer, Betty Amos and Onie Wheeler.  Betty and Onie they had shared several dates with before. T. Tommy Cutrer recorded for Mercury and deejayed on KCIJ in Shreveport. In the 1940s, he worked with Sam Phillips at WREC in Memphis. Cutrer was one of the first deejays called upon by Phillips to promote Elvis' records.3  Guralnick described him as a highly astute, charming and capable man who kept a little band of his own at the time and went on to become a Tennessee state senator and a top Teamsters official.4 There were no formal reviews of the show but in May Billboard reported that with the help of Bob Neal, the jamboree staged by Michaels at the High School Auditorium drew a full house.2

Elvis with his first Cadillac, a 1954, in the Spring of 1955
Photo courtesy web

It was around that time that Elvis bought his first Cadillac, a 1954 pink and white one, to replace his Lincoln that Bill had wrecked up in an accident.  By early June though, while en route to Texarkana, it caught on fire and burned.5 Their next appearance in El Dorado was held in Memorial Stadium, and by several conflicting recollections of some of the locals, they were thought to have performed there twice. Bill E. Burk even wrote of a date on June 16th billed as a Louisiana Hayride road show that included Jimmy Lee and Rusty and Doug Kershaw as headliners.6 No advertisements in the local paper though that week or the week prior could be found to support that. Conveniently though, El Dorado is situated almost half way between Belden, MS where they performed on June 15th and Stamford, TX where they performed on June 17th. The Cadillac however, appears prominent in the recollections but that June date would make that unlikely.

The one confirmed date though was in October. By then Billboard had reported that T. Tommy Cutrer had left KCIJ in Shreveport and moved to Nashville to join the staff of WSM. In the same issue they announced that the Elvis Presley Jamboree, featuring Jimmy Newman, Jean Shepard, Bobby Lord, Johnny Cash, and the Elvis Presley unit is set for Abilene, Tex on the 11th, Midland the 12th, Amarillo the 13th, Odessa on the 14th, and Lubbock the 15th. On October 17, Presley plays El Dorado, Ark., en route to Cleveland, where he opens the Roy Acuff show at the Circle Theater October 19. Same unit is set for St. Louis October 21-23.2

Like the show in March, this show was also booked by Bob Neal and sponsored by Mike Michaels of KDMS.

Elvis Presley To Be Featured In Oil Progress Program

The Chamber of Commerce's Oil Progress Week committee has announced that a free program will be presented to the citizens of Union County Monday night at 8 o’clock in Memorial Stadium.
The free entertainment featuring Elvis Presley will be presented for the conclusion of another annual oil progress week in El Dorado and vicinity. Also a full program of local talent will be at the concluding ceremonies in the form of an Amateur Contest.
First prize for the winners of the contest, to be determined by the audience's applause, is a $75 bond. Second prize is a $50 bond and the third, a $25 bond.
Elvis Presley, known as the "King of the Western Bop", has made many appearances in the entire south for appreciative and usually very large crowds. He was born in Tupelo, Miss. and moved to Memphis when he was 12. A natural sense of rhythm along with a unique voice quality benefited from his childhood surroundings in which country and Negro blues were everyday music to him.
Elvis is 20, unmarried and likes his pink and black Fleetwood better than thoughts of becoming married. One of the "coolest types" of dressers, Elvis admits that he does like the women though.
The following is a partial list of some of the talent to be presented on the amateur contest: the Gospel Four Quartet, Arkansas Rhythm Boys, Boys Club Trampoline Act, Chitlin Switch Road Runners, Bob Brewer and his "Rock-Me-Boogie-Boys, the Beaver Family, Ruth Ann Womack and a piano number and some dance numbers from the Bobby Modisett Dance School.

Arkansas Daily News - October 16, 1955 courtesy Barton Library

As the ad stated, the show included a talent contest with at least fourteen local acts.  The seating for the show was in the west side bleachers only, "for the best sound & visibility," which would have had a capacity of about 3,000. Entrance was free to anyone with a "lucky folder" that could be obtained at any of the local filling stations which also made one "eligible for the many attendance prizes."

Joe Dempsey was a senior at EHS (El Dorado High School) in 1955 when Elvis performed. That September he was a high school deejay and, with Mike Michaels' help, worked for KDMS spinning records afternoons after school and on weekends in addition to broadcasting the high school games at the stadium along with other events there. They had him in the press box as the booth announcer when Elvis performed.  He said the stage was set up across the track on the field at about the 50 yard line, facing the audience in the west bleachers.

Ad in Arkansas Daily News - Oct. 17, 1955
courtesy Barton Library

One of the opening acts was a local band called the Chitlin Switch Road Runners.  They were a band formed in the late '40s and early '50s by the Bird and Davis cousins in a small farming community in South Arkansas called "Chitlin Switch" and had performed across Southern Arkansas and Northern Louisiana.  Mike Michaels had been a big supporter of the boys and instrumental in getting them their own radio program on KDMS every Saturday morning for 4 1/2 years as early as 1952.  The band consisted of the three Bird brothers: Bobby, Dwight and Gary, and their cousins Mickey and Lavon Davis. In addition to opening for Elvis, Michaels helped them get on some of the early Hayride and WSM road shows fronting for others like Johnny Horton, David Houston, Jim Ed & the Browns, Jimmy Newman, Worley Fairburn, Jumpin Bill Carlyle, and many others.7

The Chitlin Switch Road Runners: Gary, Dwight, Mickey, Bobby, and Levon - ca. 1952
Photo courtesy Union Kun-Tree Entertainment

Recollections of the show by some of the locals in attendance seem to differ as much as the dates Elvis was believed to have performed.  Some rumors persisted that he arrived late, was drunk and had to be sobered up before he could perform.8  Though possibly late, the rest of the rumor is unfounded, out of character and inconsistent with recollections of those involved with the show.  According to Joe Dempsey, the oval track surrounding the field had an entrance from the street and when Elvis arrived he drove in from the street up the track to the stage in his Cadillac. Joe announced his entrance and when he took the stage the screams were pandemonium like. Joe said, he had that kind of appeal and effect in parts of the south well before the rest of the country caught wind. He bantered with the crowd a bit and then told a joke, "When he was in school they told him to use Rotterdam in a sentence. He said if aunt Susie don't change her socks she's going to Rotterdam feet off.

Mickey, Dwight, Gary, Levon, Earl Valentine (mgr.) and Bobby - ca. 1955
Photo courtesy Union Kun-Tree Entertainment

Quoting Bobby Bird, Bill E. Burk wrote, before the show, Elvis asked me if I would tune his guitar. He sat there in his car signing autographs while I tuned it. It was that Martin with the unborn calfskin with ‘Elvis Presley’ dyed in pink on it. After awhile, Elvis asked, ‘You got my guitar tuned?' I said, ‘Yeah.’ He took it and went on stage. Before he went on, Scotty and Bill were doing most of the talking. Bill was doing most of the talking. But when Elvis took the stage, it was his show! He stole the show. It was the greatest performance I had ever seen. He went up there on that stage wearing violet pants, a black shirt, orange jacket and white bucks. That is All Right, Mama was the only song of his we knew at the time. He sang maybe a half-dozen songs during his part of the program. The stadium seated just under five thousand. It was almost full. While Elvis was singing and dancing about, the fans were hollerin’ and shooting firecrackers. Girls were falling out of the bleachers, fainting. It (Elvis’ performance) was like being hit by a hammer. Some boys got mad because of the effect Elvis was having on the girls. They let the air out of the tires of his Cadillac. They had to bring in a tow truck with an air tank to re-inflate those tires. It didn’t seem to bother Elvis at all. He just sat there patiently in his car signing autographs. He was very polite. You could tell even then he was on his way.6

Elvis in his pink and black 1955 Cadillac Fleetwood Sixty Special with roof rack - 1955
Photo courtesy Elvis' Cadillacs

Sometime around July Elvis had bought another Cadillac to replace the one that had burned.  It was a 1955 Fleetwood Sixty Special, pink (originally blue) with a black roof, and was the car at the stadium in October in everyone's recollections. Don Reese of Phoenix, evidently confused performers from different shows in addition to other details like Elvis' hair color when he wrote, I was in the 8th grade and went to that concert at the football stadium in El Dorado. A buddy of mine, Bill Girard and I went down on the track and met Elvis before the concert. As I recall, he was billed third or fourth behind some Louisiana Hayride acts (T. Texas Tyler, etc). Elvis asked us if we wanted to sell some 8 1/2 by 11 glossies from the back of his Cadillac for him. The Caddy was pink and parked down on the cinder track in front of the stage. We sold lots of pictures for 25 cents each. We pocketed some of the money for ourselves. I remember Elvis as being really cool, young and thin, a nice guy. He horsed around with us, shadow boxed, stuff like that. We went out the next week and got our hair died jet black. Went to the Jr. High School the next day and the principal made us shave our heads and wear a beanie.  I remember one other visit by Elvis to the football stadium and one to the high school auditorium. On the second visit to the stadium Elvis showed up drunk and the concert was delayed for about an hour for him to drink coffee and sober up. I heard a rumor later that Elvis had met this high school girl from El Dorado and bought her a 1955 Ford Crown Victoria.8

Goodwin Field outside El Dorado, AR - ca. 1952
Photo courtesy eBay

The boys would make one more visit to El Dorado the following year, or near it rather.  In between performances in Amarillo and San Antonio, Texas, they chartered a plane in the middle of the night to Nashville for a recording session at RCA's McGavock Street studio on April 14th. The pilot got lost just before dawn and they landed at an airstrip outside of El Dorado to refuel. It would most likely have been Goodwin Field, as opposed to the one downtown. Guralnick wrote, It was chilly, and the musicians huddled together in the little coffee shop, yawning and making desultory conversation. It was just light when they took off again. Scotty was sitting beside the pilot, who asked him to hold the wheel for a minute while he studied the map. just as Scotty took the wheel, the engine coughed and died and the plane starred to lose altitude. There was a good deal of confusion, and Bill pulled his coat over his head and cursed the day he had ever let himself be persuaded to go up in this rickety machine, before the pilot discovered that when they refueled they hadn’t switched over to the full tank and the airstrip attendant hadn’t bothered to refill the empty one. When they finally got to Nashville, Elvis announced half-jokingly, "Man, I don't know if I’ll ever fly again." 4

West Bleachers in Memorial Stadium - ca. 1974
Photo courtesy 1974 EHS yearbook

Joe Dempsey graduated High School and went on to college. He became a photographer, art director and ultimately a digital artist and graphic and web designer. In 1958, while a sophomore in college, he returned to the High School auditorium to photograph famed pianist Van Cliburn in a concert in the building. The following year the city of El Dorado finally got a Municipal Auditorium which replaced the High School's for such uses. It was constructed on the property just north of Memorial Stadium.

EHS Cheerleaders, West Bleaches and stadium in Rear - ca.1974
Photo courtesy 1974 EHS yearbook

All but one of the early members of the Chitlin Switch Road Runners continued to play music after the band disbanded. Two of the Bird brothers went in the Air Force after high school bringing their guitar and banjo along performing on base and at the "Boots & Saddle Club" in Amarillo and San Antonio, TX. The younger of the Bird brothers, Gary, went in the Army Reserves. Dwight Bird became a Missionary Baptist Minister but continued to play his banjo. Mickey Davis went on to study classical music, received a Masters degree in music later joining Malaco Records in Jackson, Mississippi, as a session fiddler and there founded the Jackson Strings.7

Joe Wilson Jr., Mickey Davis, James Stroud, Gov. Mike Huckabee, Phil Breeding, Gary and Bobby Bird
Photo courtesy Union Kun-Tree Entertainment

Bobby and Gary along with other cousins and occasionally joined by Mickey later regrouped and returned to performing as Bluegrass Kun-Tree. They were awarded by Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee for their impact on music and in 1993 received an invitation to the 53rd U. S. Presidential Inauguration of the 42nd President, William "Bill" Jefferson Clinton. The group was nominated for the "National Heritage Fellowship Award in the folk/traditional arts of National Endowment of the Arts." They continue performing today under the name of Union Kun-Tree.7

Site of the former  High School Auditorium at Summit Ave. and W. Block St. - 2010
Photo courtesy Google Streetmaps

T. Tommy Cutrer went on to WSM and would later host, announce and emcee several television shows, including Porter Wagoner's and Johnny Cash's. In 1978 he ran for the Tennessee state Senate and won but lost his bid for re-election in 1982. He died in 1998 at home from a heart attack at the age of 74.

Site of the former  High School Auditorium at Summit Ave. and W. Block St. - 2010
Photo courtesy Google Streetmaps

In 1964 a new High School in El Dorado was built at 501 N. Timberlane Dr. and the old school became Rogers Junior High School until the mid 1970s.  In 1976, the El Dorado Branch of Southern State College moved to the site using the 1905 building for both administrative offices and classrooms and is now South Arkansas Community College. The original building at 300 S West. Avenue was added the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.  All of the 1928 additions, including the Auditorium are now gone but the 1940 WPA Gymnasium in addition to several new buildings are still in use by the college.1

West side bleachers from the northeast - Aug. 18, 2010
Photo © Michael Orrell El Dorado News Times

looking across toward West Bleachers - Aug. 21, 2010
Photo © Michael Orrell El Dorado News Times

Today, Memorial Stadium is a fully-equipped 6,000 seat football stadium and track, and still home of the El Dorado Wildcats. The stadium hosts sports events year round, most notably the "Boomtown Classic", an annual college football match between Southern Arkansas University and the University of Arkansas- Monticello.  It received a major field and stadium renovation in 2010 which included synthetic turf and a video scoreboard.  2010 was the first year the Wildcats won consecutive Arkansas State Football Championships.

W 5th St. end of Memorial Stadium in El Dorado, AR - 2010
Photo courtesy Google Streetmaps

W 5th St. track entrance to Memorial Stadium in El Dorado where Elvis entered - 2010
Photo courtesy Google Streetmaps

In January 2007, Murphy Oil Corporation made a $50 million promise to the students of El Dorado public schools and the community. Known as the El Dorado Promise, this scholarship program provides students who graduate from the El Dorado School District with a scholarship to be used at any accredited two- or four-year educational institution in the United States.

School board pres. V. Dobson, B. Dunn and superintendent R. Watson - July 2011
Photo by Ben Krain courtesy Arkansas Online

In the fall of 2011 a new El Dorado High School opened for over 1400 students. The drive and determination that built the town during the oil boom of the early 20th century is still alive and well today and is evident around the community.9

Elvis' pink and "now" white 1955 Cadillac Fleetwood Sixty Special at Graceland - 2006
Photo © James V. Roy

Elvis had later painted the roof of his pink 1955 Cadillac Fleetwood Sixty Special white and it was the car that he eventually gave to his mother.  She never drove it and he never sold it.  It has since become the inspiration of songs and symbols in rock 'n roll lore and legend and today remains on display at Graceland.

page added September 5, 2011

Special thanks to Dorathy Boulden of the Barton Library in El Dorado and to Joe Dempsey of Pine Bluff for their assistance with this page.

1 according to The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture
2 excerpt from or according to Billboard Magazine - Feb. 19, 1955; Mar. 12, 1955; May 7, 1955; Oct. 8, 1955; Oct. 22, 1955
3 excerpt from or according to "Did Elvis Sing in your Hometown?" by Lee Cotten
4 excerpt from or according to "Last Train to Memphis" by Peter Guralnick
5 excerpt from or according to "Elvis Day by Day" by Peter Guralnick and Ernst Jorgensen
6 excerpt from or according to "Early Elvis: The Sun Years" by Bill E. Burk
7 according to

8 from Elvis in ElDo 1955? courtesy Topix.com's
9 according to Arkansas Online

More from El Dorado

Mr. Worth Camp wrote to us yesterday, April 2, 2012, after viewing this page we have up on Elvis and Scotty's appearances in El Dorado and we thought we would share this with everyone:

Hello James,

THANKS for a good El Dorado Music History web site.

I have just viewed your music site for http://scottymoore.net/eldorado.html.

You feature young Mickey Davis during the Elvis Presley Days.

Janis EHS’53 and I were with Mickey & Kati Davis March 23-24 in Natchez. They are 2 of the 5 or so persons orchestrating the annual Natchez Pilgrimage Pageant. Mickey explained some of his early beginning fiddle days in South Arkansas beginnings.

We danced to Elvis from Memphis Band in the Silver Moon Club, Newport AR, Summer 1955 or 56
[July 21, 1955].

It was our only up close and personal experience with Elvis. We shared a 20-foot square dance floor right in front of his mike. We were with a fellow Kappa Sig and his date – all Jr/Sr’s at the UofArk.

Elvis during his U.S. Army pre-induction test at Kennedy Veterans Hospital in Memphis - Jan. 4, 1957
AP Photo courtesy Q105 Radio

I joined the Navy for Pensacola flight training in early January 1957 at Memphis TN. The week before my induction, Elvis reported on January 4th to the local Memphis Veterans Hospital for his pre-induction physical before being drafted in March 1957.

Building 803 at Fort Chaffee, where Elvis got his haircut during his induction into the U.S. Army - Dec. 2010
Photo by David Hughes courtesy NWAOnline

On January 8, 1957, the Memphis Draft Board held a press conference and announced Elvis would be classified 1A and would probably be drafted sometime that year. I am three months older than Elvis. Lee Bodenhamer of EHS’52-UofA’56 says he was in boot camp for the 6 months program at the time when Elvis reported for the famous haircut at Ft. Chaffee (Ft. Smith).


1. EHS AERIAL PHOTO. You have posted a great aerial photo of the old purple brick EHS - that includes the old “Junior College Building.” and the WPA 1939 Gym.

In the late 1800s, local Congressman and Confederate General Albert Rust donated the square block, next to his log home for the El Dorado Public School. This is the location of your photo of the 1950’s EHS and today’s SoArkCommCollege. The Shuler Bensons would later own the lot where Albert Rust had his home. Today, I think the Benson descendants lease the home site to the current Brookshire’s grocery store at the corner of South West Street and West Cedar. I grew up on West Cedar Street.

The Junior College (mentioned as Administration Building) was actually the early 1905 El Dorado Public School with grades 1-12. When it was replaced circa 1927 by the large dark purple brick El Dorado High School, grades 9 – 12, the unused public school building became the El Dorado Junior College and continued as the Junior College until the last male student was drafted or joined the military circa 1941. The girls left for teaching jobs, most in El Dorado, and others left to work in the defense plants.

You will recall we had the four (4) Public Elementary Schools of Hugh Goodwin, Retta Brown, Southside, and Yocum with grades 1-8 until Barton Junior High was completed for their first class in 1954. My wife Janis was the last 9th grade class to enter the old EHS on Summit Street.

2. EARLY CHARLES MURPHY HOME. Another home shown in the photo across the street from the new EHS is of note. Few people will know this story:

According to the daughter, Theodosia M. Nolan, and first born of Charles Murphy (Sr.), their first home in El Dorado was the single story yellow painted square frame house across Summit Street from the EHS flagpole. The lot was not big enough for a milk cow in the backyard, so her Daddy bought a house on Church Street. This second home was two doors from Madison Street near the funeral home. A servant was hired to care for the cow and other things. This baby needs fresh milk.

3. GOODWIN FIELD – 1948 was 8 miles west of El Dorado and opened for commercial traffic in 1948. I recall that the airplane in your photo is the same style or type as the Chicago and Southern Airline’s first official flight to El Dorado. The public opening was a clear and pleasant day. 

I was 14 years old standing in the crowd with my parents. We parked the 1938 Chevrolet along the highway at the SW end of the SW-NE runway ending at U.S. Hwy 82. I recall a Sunday afternoon. The local cities’ church folks had gathered waiting for the first landing. 

The El Dorado Chamber with the help of Lion Oil Company were sponsors along with the Cities of El Dorado and Magnolia. By 1953 C & S would merge with Delta Airlines and Monroe LA would become Delta’s reputed home of origin. Monroe remains El Dorado’s nearest and most convenient airport if Delta works for your schedule.

IN ADDITION – for your curiosity, I have attached 2 aerial photos that show the beginning and completion of the First Baptist Church, circa 1924 - 28. Note the earlier white wood frame FBC on the corner of the new construction.

In the 3rd narrow photo, circa 1920, you see from the left – 

(a) an early brick bank, later to be the Black Cat Café. Today it has recently been renamed the Black Cat Café; 

(b) the next image looking down West Main Street is the tall steeple of the FBC; 

(c) then the earlier Armstrong general store building, followed by the trees of the 1901 to 1928 court house with the pavilion/band-stand in the foreground on the SE corner of the Court House. Jodie and Emon Mahony are descendants through their mother to the Armstrongs. The Mahony Law Firm has been on the top floor of the Armstrong building since the turn of the last century.

The Oil Heritage Park photo taken across from the Rialto has this bronze monument to an early Oil Promoter (like Chesley Pruitt), and a Roughneck. They are bookmarking an old spindle run by wide leather belts from.

The last photo is similar to your 1900 to 1928 early courthouse. The abstractors set up shop in the halls near the Circuit Clerks office to be close to the land title records. The County Jail for this courthouse was a two story brick building across the street from the Rialto Theater where the Oil Heritage Park is today.

In the 1920, Mr. Shivers, the Jailer, took the inmates order for breakfast by shouting up to the barred windows from Cedar Street. The orders were filled at the Black Cat Café and lifted by rope to the 2nd floor windows to the jailmates.

Boot’s Shivers, a County Justice of the Peace, for El Dorado in the 1980s told me he lived in the jail with his parents. Boots was also in the Victoria (Strong) tornado of 1927. His bed was found several blocks away. His grandfather ran the local hotel across from the Strong RR Depot.

. . BEST WISHES . . 

Worth Camp, Jr. EHS’52
El Dorado, AR 71730

April 2, 2012 - photos, unless indicated, are courtesy Worth Camp, Jr.

section added April 3, 2012


All photos on this site (that we didn't borrow) unless otherwise indicated are the property of either Scotty Moore or James V. Roy and unauthorized use or reproduction is prohibited.

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