12 Arkansas Properties Nominated to National Register of Historic Places

Arkansas Historic Preservation Program - Thursday, August 02, 2018

The State Review Board of the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program recommended 12 Arkansas properties in eight counties for nomination to the National Register of Historic Places when it met August 1.

Properties recommended for nomination to the National Register are:

* Garland Elementary School at Little Rock in Pulaski County, built in 1924 with elements of the Classical Revival style. “Purpose-built by the Little Rock School District in 1924 to replace the smaller, wood-frame building formerly occupying the site, the building served as a school until 2001, after which it was used for administrative purposes for the Little Rock School District,” the National Register nomination says. “As a neighborhood elementary school (for whites), the building reflects the social and demographic change of the surrounding neighborhood.”

* Moro Bay Ferry at Moro Bay State Park in Bradley County, a towboat that operated on the Ouachita River from 1965 to 1992. “The Moro Bay Ferry tow boat was built by the Barbour Metal Boat Works, an important regional boat builder that specialized in constructing tow boats,” according to the National Register nomination. “Although the company was founded in 1913, after 1925 until the company closed in 1985, the vast majority of their work was building tow boats. The Moro Bay Ferry tow boat is a good intact example of their work, and one of several tow boats that were built for ferries in Arkansas. However, today it is the last example of their work left in the state.”

* Block Realty Building at Little Rock in Pulaski County, a 1965 structure designed by Gene Levy in the Mid-Century Modern style. “The Block Realty Building is an excellent and unusual example of a building that combines characteristics of Brutalism and Structuralism” according to the National Register nomination. “With respect to Brutalism, the Block Realty Building exhibits the style’s characteristic of repeated modular elements and also the use of concrete in a raw state, which gives a Brutalist building a raw honesty that contrasted with styles that came before it. In addition, Brutalist buildings often include other materials, including glass and steel, which are both also employed with the Block Realty Building. The Block Realty Building also illustrates structuralism, which, as the name implies, includes buildings where the structure is exposed and easily read. The Block Realty Building manifests Structuralism with its exposed Corten steel structure that is easily identifiable on the building’s exterior.”

* Thomas Gray House at Little Rock in Pulaski County, a 1963 Mid-Century Modern building designed by Gray, its owner and an architect. “The Gray House clearly reflects the Organic architecture design trends that were impacting residential architecture in the mid-century period after World War II,” the National Register nomination says. “The house lacks the applied ornamentation that was so often used prior to World War II, and uses window placement and a variety of materials to give visual interest and ornamentation, and also to reflect its natural surroundings.”

* Cecil M. Buffalo, Jr., House at Little Rock in Pulaski County, a 1968 building reflecting the “Baysweep” design. “The Buffalo House is an example of the ‘Baysweep’ design of Oklahoma architect Dean Bryant Vollendorf, according to the National Register nomination. “The design of the Cecil M. Buffalo, Jr., House is an excellent representation of the shift in residential design that was occurring across the country after World War II.The decorative pre-war revival styles, which were all the rage, were being pushed to the side by more functional and livable residential designs.”

* Dr. Neil Crow, Sr., House at Fort Smith in Sebastian County, a 1967-68 building designed by architect John Williams in the Mid-Century Modern style. “The Dr. Neil Crow, Sr., House clearly reflects the design trends that were impacting residential architecture in the Mid-Century Modern style after World War II,” according to the National Register nomination. “The design of the Dr. Neil Crow, Sr., House also reflects the increased relationship between the indoors and outdoors, as well as the issue of privacy in house design.The design of the Crow House, with its large windows along the rear façade, encouraged residents and visitors to interact with the house’s surroundings.The placement of the large windows away from the street also emphasized privacy for the house’s occupants from the street.”

* Meadow Spring Historic District at Fayetteville in Washington County, containing buildings dating to 1870. “The neighborhood encompasses many significant historical themes related to the growth of the city as an educational and commercial center, including the evolution of original housing stock from single-family to multi-family homes and apartments,” according to the National Register nomination. “The buildings within the Meadow Spring Historic District retain significant architectural and historical associations at a local level and combine to create a cohesive setting representing late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century residential development within the city of Fayetteville.”

* Voorhees School at Clarksville in Johnson County, a 1941 structure erected by the National Youth Administration, a Depression-era public relief agency. The building is noteworthy “for the National Youth Administration’s role in constructing the Voorhees School as part of the ongoing New Deal-era construction projects in Arkansas,” according to the National Register nomination. “Voorhees School was built in 1940-1941 to provide a practice teaching school building for ninth graders in the Clarksville School District, through the use by education majors at the College of the Ozarks. Though the Voorhees School was constructed in 1940-1941, the program of using education majors in a practice school environment to teach ninth grade students lasted only about a year and a half.”

* William Jasper Johnson House at Bull Shoals in Marion County, a single-pen vernacular house built around 1900. “The William Jasper Johnson House is as an example of an Ozark vernacular house,” according to the National Register nomination. “The single pen house is a one-room structure and is one of the most common forms of vernacular houses in the nation. It stems from either Scotch-Irish or German folk tradition, and is connected to the early colonial homes found along the eastern seaboard of what would become the United States. In many places the single pen house had design elements from the Tidewater or Middle Atlantic architectural tradition, including large porches and hipped roofs. Because of the small size of the single pen, they were often quickly expanded by the addition of a wing or room to the rear as soon as the family gained wealth or as the family continued to grow due to the birth of children.”

* Clay County Courthouse, Eastern District, at Piggott and Clay County Courthouse, Western District, at Corning, both built in 1966-67 with a New Formalism design by the Donnellan and Porterfield architectural firm. The two courthouses “employed several New Formalism characteristics,” according to the National Register nomination. “The buildings used cast concrete, for example, that could have been meant to mimic a more luxurious material, and the cast concrete also enhances the look of the buildings’ flat-slab roofs. In front of the courthouses, the small formal plazas with benches, planters and several sidewalks are also characteristic of the style and its formal composition.”

* Bold Pilgrim Cemetery near Overcup in Conway County, an African American cemetery with burials dating to the 1880s. “The Bold Pilgrim Cemetery embodies the rich legacy of pioneering families who settled in Conway County seeking new opportunities,” according to the National Register nomination. “These families were seeking a better life in the decades following the Civil War as racial tension, poverty, and bad harvests created an unviable situation for many black families in South Carolina.Many families eventually settled in Arkansas after discovering a place where land was affordable and economic and political opportunities existed.Bold Pilgrim Cemetery is the final resting place of many of these settlers and the property acts as a ‘gathering place’ for their descendants.The individuals who are buried in Bold Pilgrim Cemetery represent diverse stories that illustrate the important history of the African-American communities in Conway County and Arkansas.”

The board listed the Levon Helm Boyhood Home at Marvell in Phillips County, the Brown Duke Diner near Magnolia in Columbia County and the Old Galatia Church near Norfork in Baxter County on the Arkansas Register of Historic Places. The Arkansas Register recognizes historically significant properties that do not meet National Register requirements.

The AHPP is the Department of Arkansas Heritage division that identifies, evaluates, registers and preserves the state’s cultural resources. Other divisions are the Arkansas Arts Council, the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, the Delta Cultural Center, the Old State House Museum, the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, the Historic Arkansas Museum and the Arkansas State Archives.

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