Almost 19 thousand souls. "The city was the heart of the 1920s oil boom in the area. 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." The Wikipedia entry says it has a downtown arts district, so let's check it out.

The sheet metal actually works here, or would, if anything was working. It looks like one of those modern interiors where sheet metal is supposed to be authentic, treated as an aesthetic object with some inherent virtues of simplicity and hard work.

I like it. Even like this.

An old Texaco from his horrid stone period. The move from the clean white walls to this says everything about changing styles, how things we admire today were once just old and tired. This was new! This was classy!

Recognizing these old Texacos is a rarified skill; aren't you glad you have it?

Those old, old doors.


Not a fan of the lettering, which says “Title of counterculture cartoon in a hippie mag” but fine. Vitrolite renovation, Coke signs: I’ll take it.

More Vitrolite and glass block: looks like original 30s construction. I’ll take it!


I think they extended the ideas of the new building to rehab an older adjacent structure? Could be wrong.

Odd half-finished Amontillado project there.

A search for the name turns up a gnarly court case.

I think the Vitrolite agent stopped at quite a few places on his visit to El Dorado:

Old future, meet new future!

This was how they made an old corner building look chic and special, for an upscale shop.

Didn't age well.

Always nice to see a downtown church; this one, if it lost its congregation, could open up as a submarine museum.

Absolute rote design for the era. These were reproduced by the hundreds all across the land.

Sometimes a severe office block in the style of the 30s or 40s adds a nice sober note . . .

. . . but extensions tend to carry forward the lack of detail, without the grace notes or interesting details.

I think that’s stone.

Fine plain sign; hope it’s reopened.


Gorgeous 20s commercial building. Doesn’t need the awning. Did they put a tree in the middle of the sidewalk?


Almost looks painted.

I really, really hope Phase 2 involved the restoration of the facade. That’s more Vitrolite. Opened in 1929.


Some sort of Spanish-Moorish auto center? That had to be a showroom; Surely it had walls and window.s

The fine classical embassy of the Federal Government, with its rote classical design. Can’t be anything other than a gummint building. If it was an educational facility, it would have had brick.

The brief 20s vogue for Egyptian architecture finds a good partner:

G for Go!


Well, here’s a surprise.

Always odd to run into something this big when you're not expecting it.

"Hailed as the tallest building in south central Arkansas at its completion, the eight-story building constructed for Lion Oil Corporation indicated El Dorado’s sudden rise to prominence in 1921 as the oil capital of Arkansas.”

And behind these doors?

"A 1960s modernization of the banking facilities, however, obliterated the original gloriously ornate beamed, tiled, and stenciled bank lobby."


Oh: I must have missed the arts district. Or did I?