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 13 comments)

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on January 5, 2005 at 9:46 am

This theater seems to have an address crisis. The address on the website that Bryan posted lists it at 825 W. Davis St. Anyway, I guess that it should be listed as open with movies, music, dance and theatrical productions for function.

DonLewis on January 5, 2005 at 7:57 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 on February 11, 2005 at 8:33 pm

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

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on September 12, 2005 at 8:01 am

This is another photo of the Ritz Theater in Jacksonville.

Jaxdave on November 13, 2005 at 9:38 pm

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 on September 6, 2007 at 7:17 pm

Here is my photo of the restored Ritz.
View link

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on March 20, 2008 at 7:59 pm

This is another recent photo of the Ritz.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on October 19, 2008 at 2:32 pm

Status should be open. Function is live performances and museum. 400 seats. Ritz Theatre & LaVilla Museum

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on October 19, 2008 at 2:54 pm

Disregard the last comment. The current Ritz Theater at this address is a new building so the status for the Ritz Theater listed here should be demolished.

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