Ritz Theater

829 N. Davis Street,
Jacksonville, FL 32202

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RitzĀ© Theater

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I first spotted the Ritz Theater about 21 years ago and it almost certainly is gone now. It was on the corner, near downtown Jacksonville and had a huge, showy, red with white lettering vertical sign spelling out “Ritz”. The building was grey and dreary and appeared to have been converted into a cheap dive.

Contributed by Don Lewis

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on January 5, 2005 at 12:31 pm

A seating capacity of 654 is given in the Film Daily Yearbook, 1941.
In the FDY,1950 the capacity is given as 970 with a street address at 829 Davis Street.

DonLewis
DonLewis on January 5, 2005 at 10:57 pm

What a surprise to see this one has been preserved and is open!! It seems 99 out of 100 do not fare as well. I must confess that I have not kept a record of corresponding cities and addresses until the past year. That is why I have theater pictures from the past 20-30 years that I cannot match up with locations, not to mention addresses.

We need to have a Cinema Treasures convention!

Thanks Bryan, lostmemory and Ken.

teecee
teecee on February 11, 2005 at 11:33 pm

Here is a news article on the museum project and some of the theater history:
View link

Jaxdave
Jaxdave on November 14, 2005 at 12:38 am

The Ritz Theatre in Jacksonville was a fine example of early 20th century motion picture palaces. However, it was a cinema that depended on negros to support it. After the civil rights movement in the 50s and 60s, the Ritz lost support of the community, therefore it closed.

In 1998, certain civil rights leaders coerced the City of Jacksonville to spend almost $5,000,000 to re-develop that small footprint of Jacksonville to memorialize the low impact the black culture contributed to the city. A part of the redevelopment was to rebuild the Ritz.

As a result, the entire theater had to be demolished because it was so mis-used during it’s previous life. To fool the masses that the “Ritz Theater” remains, the facade was preserved during the complete reconstruction.

The fact is the Ritz Theatre that existed in 1997 is not the
Ritz theater that exists now. Therefore, this Ritz Theatre no longer exists.

WHITEFIELD
WHITEFIELD on September 6, 2007 at 10:17 pm

Here is my photo of the restored Ritz.
View link

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