Submitted Photo

From 1911 until the 1980s, the New Theatre/Malco provided entertainment to audiences in downtown Fort Smith. The New was built with money from the George Sparks estate as an investment for his daughter. It was modeled after the New Amsterdam Theatre in New York and in its early years was a venue for live performances, plays and silent movies. In its later years, it was devoted solely to cinematic entertainment. During the era of racial segregation, black moviegoers were restricted to seating in the top balcony just beneath the projection booth seen here in the center of the image.