The Malco Theatre: A treasure in Hot Springs history

© Hot Springs Daily

HOT SPRINGS (Hot Springs Daily) - Walking into the Malco Theater on Central Avenue could be compared to a trip down the tunnel of time for new owner Rick Williams.

"I can only imagine this in the 1880s, where they would do their acts in the old Vaudeville house or the Malco," he said, standing atop the balcony overlooking what once was the building-wide stage.

The structure itself is more than 100 years old, surviving some of the nation's most defining areas.

"This building dates back to segregation," Williams said, referring to the building's back entrance. "This area would be for that, a separate ticketing area and lobby."

Williams has plans to preserve the Malco Theater as a piece of the city's heritage.

"I believe the Malco is a treasure. I'd hate to see it get into the wrong hands and not be preserved," he said. "The challenge we're seeing is that Hot Springs was a boom town. When the gambling left and the gangsters left, we were left with all of this historic infrastructure. What do you do with that now is the question. How do we use, but preserve, the historic infrastructure of the city."

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