516 S. Louisiana Street,
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Architects: Henry Beaumont Herts
Firms: Herts and Tallant
Styles: Art Deco
Previous Names: Kempner Theater
The Kempner Theater was designed in 1910 by New York architect Henry Beaumont Herts of the architectural firm Herts & Tallant. Originally the facade was in a Sullivanesque style, but this was later altered into an Art Deco style, with stucco and ceramic tile highlights. The Kempner Theater was opened September 20, 1910 with the comedy play “Billy”.
The interior was re-modeled in 1921 and on September 27, 1929, the name changed to Arkansas Theatre when it became a full time movie theatre.
Listed as (Closed) in the 1941 edition of Film Daily Yearbook, and also in the 1943 edition when it was part of the Ed Rowley subsidairy of Paramount Pictures Inc., it had reopened by 1950 under United Artists Theater Circuit Inc.
The Arkansas Theatre was closed in 1977, and plans to convert to a performance space came to nothing. It was owned by the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Foundation in 1987, and there was talk of possible demolition.
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