Located in Natchez, MS
Photo © 2012 Tom Kirsch, opacity.us
Ritz Theater History
Although the building itself dates back to 1869, the Ritz Theater was opened much later, in 1935. The Art Deco facade featured a network of neon tube lights that spelled out "RITZ" and other decorative elements. The 500-seat theater was operated by Gulf States Theaters and Paramount, until it closed around 1968-1971.
A jewelry store reputedly operated in the space after the theater closed, but details are unclear when the building was fully vacated. Neglect caused the roof to deteriorate over the years, and a tornado in 1998 damaged the building even more, leading to the eventual collapse of the roof in 2000. The facade decayed substantially for many years, but in 2008 it was restored by the Historic Natchez Foundation.