El Dorado, Arkansas
|El Dorado, Arkansas|
Jefferson Street in downtown El Dorado's Union Square District
Location in Union County and the state of Arkansas
|Union County and the state of Arkansas|
|Established||May 5, 1870|
|• 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)|
|• Density||1,312.8/sq mi (510.2/km2)|
|• Metro||44,170 Arkansas census statistical areas|
|Time zone||Central (CST) (UTC-6)|
|• Summer (DST)||CDT (UTC-5)|
|ZIP codes||71730, 71731, 71768|
|GNIS feature ID||0076861|
El Dorado is a city in and the county seat of Union County, Arkansas, USA. 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.
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), 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.
- 1 Geography
- 2 Infrastructure
- 3 Demographics
- 4 Schools and education
- 5 Parks and recreation
- 6 Cultural
- 6.1 Performing arts
- 6.2 Annual events
- 6.3 Points of interest
- 6.4 Media
- 7 Notable people
- 8 References
- 9 Further reading
- 10 External links
El Dorado is located at  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.(33.213521, -92.662553).
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. 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). 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
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. 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.
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. 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.
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. The 166-bed facility’s 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.
As of the census 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.
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. 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.
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
- Washington Middle School (5-6)
- Barton Junior High School (7-8)
- El Dorado High School (9-12)
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
- Maranatha Baptist Christian School (PK-12)
- West Side Christians School (PK-12) ANSAA Accredited School Website
- 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Rialto Theater Music Hall
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. 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.
- Style: Neo-Classical
- Function: Movies (First Run), Music Hall, Performances
- Seats: 1400
- Chain: Independent
- Firm: Kolben, Hunter & Boyd
- NRHP ID#: 86001888
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 to an audience of the same size. John Shenaut, violinist and conductor of the 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.
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.
Currently, Kermit Poling is fulfilling his 16th year as conductor with Scott Watkins serving as Executive Director. The South Arkansas Symphony performs six to ten concerts per year. This professional orchestra also performs several special events, such as educational performances and the community concert that honors Martin Luther King. The South Arkansas Symphony Orchestra is the largest performing arts organization in South Arkansas.
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. The official event name is Bugs Bands & Bikes. 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, 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. 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.
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
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.
- 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
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 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. 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.
- 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
Other points of interest
- 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
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:
- KIXB KIX 103, () The Country Leader. The format is Country.
- KMRX Mix 96.1 FM, () The Continuous Hit Music Station. The format is Contemporary hit radio.
- KAGL 93.1 FM "The Eagle", () carries a Classic rock format.
- KELD AM 1400, "The Fan" () The format is 24hr Sports Talk.
- KELD-FM 106.5 FM (, licensed to Hampton, Arkansas in Calhoun County. The format is News Talk.
- KMLK 101.5 FM () The Touch. The format is Urban Adult Contemporary.
The public radio station is:
- KBSA 90.9 FM Red River Radio() 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.
El Dorado broadcast outlets consist of three full-power television stations; two commercial, and one public.
- KTVE 10 (NBC)
- KEJB 43 (MNTV) (inc. 2001)
- KETZ 12 (PBS) local station of the Arkansas Educational Television Network (AETN) (inc. 2006)
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.
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.
- 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.
- Circulation: 9,371 copies
- Published seven days a week
- This newspaper is owned by Wehco Media Inc.
- Donna Axum, 1964 Miss America
- Bruce Bennett, former Arkansas Attorney General
- Lou Brock, member of Baseball Hall of Fame
- Albert H. Crews, astronaut and United States Air Force officer
- Charlie Daniels, politician
- Candice Earley, actress
- Michael G. Fitzgerald, film historian and author
- David Frizzell, country music singer
- Lefty Frizzell, country music singer, born in Corsicana, Texas, reared in El Dorado
- Hogan Gidley, former Executive Director of the South Carolina Republican Party; previously served as Press Secretary to the David Beasley for Senate campaign and Karen Floyd for Superintendent of Education; served on campaign committee of former U.S. Senator Elizabeth Dole of North Carolina
- Glen Ray Hines, professional football player
- Lamar Hunt, businessman, owner of Kansas City Chiefs, member of Pro Football Hall of Fame
- E. Fay Jones, architect and student of Frank Lloyd Wright
- Qui Nguyen, playwright and founder of New York-based Vampire Cowboys Theatre Company
- Kevin Payne, NFL strong safety for the Carolina Panthers
- Charles Portis, author of True Grit
- William Ragsdale, actor
- Albert Rust, U.S. Representative
- Adam Setliff, two-time Olympic discus thrower
- George W. Shannon, journalist, born in El Dorado; associated with Shreveport Journal
- Ron Simmons, investment advisor and member of Texas House of Representatives from Carrollton since 2013; lived partly in El Dorado prior to 1985
- Reece Tatum, basketball player for Harlem Globetrotters
- Dave Whitlock, light heavyweight professional prizefighter who fought Floyd Patterson in September 1955
- Leon "Pee Wee" Whittaker, African American trombonist lived in El Dorado in early 1950s
- Travis Williams, NFL running back
- Josh Wilson, contemporary Christian musician
- Viper, rapper and record producer
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