LITTLE ROCK—The State Review Board of the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program nominated 15 Arkansas properties in 10 counties to the National Register of Historic Places when it met April 5.
Properties nominated to the National Register are:
* Lake Nixon at Little Rock in Pulaski County, the centerpiece of a desegregation case that was adjudicated between 1966 and 1969. “On June 10, 1966, this beautiful location, along with Spring Lake, became shrouded in negative publicity following the denial of two women admission into the lakes, on the basis that both Lake Nixon and Spring Lake were “Private Clubs” and that membership was $0.25 but that the club was not taking new members at the time,” according to the National Register nomination. “The two women would later sue in a Little Rock Court alleging that any white person would be admitted by paying an entry fee but that blacks were being excluded in violation of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The case would eventually be heard by the United States Supreme Court with a ruling in the case being heard on June 2, 1969.”
* Bethel Cemetery near Crossett in Ashley County, containing burials dating to 1855. “The cemetery contains at least 170 burials, with the possibility of several additional unmarked burials,” according to the National Register nomination. “The earliest known burial was in 1855 and spans to the present day. The tombstones are manufactured out of marble, granite and concrete and were carved by stone carvers from as far away as Indiana. The iconography and detailed carvings found on the tombstones in the Bethel Cemetery represent many popular late nineteenth and early twentieth century motifs. Many of the carvings are in excellent condition and represent a wide swath of many popular as well as rare grave symbols.”
* Leslie Commercial Historic District at Leslie in Searcy County, featuring buildings dating back to 1905. “The contributing buildings in the district were constructed between 1905 and 1940 on parcels platted in 1902,” according to the National Register nomination. “Most of the buildings incorporated State and local trends in commercial architecture of the period. The buildings fronting Main Street and the adjacent side streets were erected in the preferred popular Twentieth Century Standard Commercial style, and largely retain their architectural integrity.”
* Batesville Commercial Historic District Expansion at Batesville in Independence County. “On October 22, 1958, a fire of unknown origins destroyed the buildings at 407 and 409 Main Street,” according to the National Register nomination. “By the time that the fire was discovered the buildings were beyond saving. Just as the Roberson Family arrived on the scene, the front of the building at 407 Main Street collapsed into the street. The fire displaced ten businesses and the losses from the fire were estimated at $300,000. Within two years, Roberson had rebuilt at 407 Main, constructing the building that is currently located on the site, and reopened his hardware store. At the same time, once the building at 409 Main was rebuilt, Bill Waldrip reopened his New Drug Store, which had opened c.1953. The new buildings at 407 and 409 Main Street reflected standard commercial styles of the mid-twentieth century.”
* Gay Oil Company Building at Little Rock in Pulaski County, a 1925 commercial building with Neoclassical-style details. “Thomas J. Gay, the owner and president of Gay Oil Company, occupied the office building from its construction in 1925 through his retirement in 1938,” according to the nomination. “The building illustrates the development and growth of Gay Oil Company, which had a profound impact on oil production in Arkansas, as well as automobile transportation in Little Rock and throughout the state.”
* Martin Cemetery, Historic Section at Little Rock in Pulaski County, containing burials dated 1833 to 1959. “As surveyors and early settlers, the Martin and the Douglass families were an important part of the early settlement and development of Pulaski County and their family connections and public service helped to form the early political dynamics that would continue to affect Arkansas politics for the next century,” the nomination says. “This cemetery is a rare surviving link with the historic community that existed in the area before the establishment of any major transportation link other than the Southwest Trail.”
* MacLean Hall at Clarksville in Johnson County, a 1927 residence hall built for the College of the Ozarks but used to train sailors during World War II. “MacLean Hall is a well-preserved example of a movement, during World War II, in the United States Military to provide locations for training schools throughout the United States to help educate personnel quicker and easier, in places already set up to help in the education process,” according to the National Register nomination. “MacLean Hall was built in 1926-1927 to provide much need living space to the men of the College of the Ozarks, who were being housed all over campus and throughout Clarksville.”
* Home Ice Company at Jonesboro in Craighead County, a 1907 industrial building with a later Missionary Revival-style addition. “The main two-story exterior brick structure, built with twelve-inch-thick walls covering a wooden frame interior was constructed in 1907 as the site for the Jonesboro Wagon Factory,” according to the National Register nomination. “It was used for manufacturing artificial ice from 1926 through 2013. When the building was converted from a peanut hulling factory to the icehouse, a one-story Spanish Colonial Revival addition, housing offices, was added to the south façade.”
* Hot Springs National Guard Armory at Hot Springs in Garland County, an Art Deco-style building constructed in 1937-38. “When the project began in August of 1937, it was estimated the construction of the Hot Springs National Guard Armory building would take the 25 men assigned to the project five months to complete,” according to the National Register nomination. “However, the first National Guard drill was not held in the structure until July 1938. During WWII, when all of the Arkansas National Guard units were called to active duty, the building was used by the local Boys Club to provide baseball, basketball, and boxing matches for the young men of the area. The armory also housed a small Medical Detachment of three officers and eight enlisted men as part of the reconstituted Arkansas State Guard during the war years.”
* Rumph Mortuary at El Dorado in Union County, a 1927 building designed in the Gothic Revival style of architecture. “The Rumph Mortuary exhibits several characteristics of the Gothic Revival style, and represents a rare commercial example of the style,” according to the National Register nomination. “For example, the flat roof of the building is sheltered by a castellated parapet. The windows on the front of the building, and in the side chapel, exhibit the Gothic arch shape that was common to the style. In addition, the front entry also exhibits the Gothic arch, and the windows and entrance on the front façade are also highlighted by the cast-concrete detailing that approximates stone.”
* Barton Library at El Dorado in Union County, a t-shaped Mediterranean-style building. “The Barton Library is a one-story Mediterranean Revival-style building constructed in 1957 by local businessman and philanthropist Thomas Harry Barton and given to the City of El Dorado,” the nomination says. “Barton was known state-wide for his business acumen and many contributions to the citizens of his city and state through the construction of public facilities.”
* Henley-Riley Historic District at El Dorado in Union County, featuring two houses, a pavilion and two objects designed and built 1959-1961 by architect E. Fay Jones. “The 1959-61 Henley-Riley Historic District, through the attention to detail and elements of E. Fay Jones’ signature style, is an excellent example of Jones’ work in the mid twentieth-century,” according to the National Register nomination. “The organic elements common to Jones’ designs include low sloping rooflines, use of exterior and interior space and materials to create a sense of connectedness with the outside and a sense of open space.”
* Vernon Fitzhugh House at Fayetteville in Washington County, built in 1962 and designed in the Mid-Century Modern style of architecture. “The design of the Vernon Fitzhugh House also reflects the increased relationship between the indoors and outdoors, as well as the issue of privacy in house design,” according to the National Register nomination. “The design of the Fitzhugh House, with its large windows and several sets of French doors 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.”
* Warren Seagraves House at Fayetteville in Washington County, the 1959 Mid-Century Modern-style home of a prominent Fayetteville architect. “The Segraves family lived in the house until shortly after Warren died in 1978,” the nomination says. “In the fall of 1978, Warren’s wife Rhea moved out of the house and left it to her daughter, Janie, and son-in-law Mike Green. They lived in the house until 1988 when the house was sold to Linda Moore. Moore lived in the house until the current owners, Mark and Carie Pryor, bought the house in 2009.”
* Scott Cemetery near Walnut Ridge in Lawrence County, an African American cemetery with burials dating to around 1930. The cemetery is noteworthy “for its association with the ethnic heritage (burial customs) of the African-American community of Walnut Ridge, Hoxie and the surrounding portions of Lawrence County from 1920s to the present, as well as its association with the efforts of African-Americans to construct institutions during the period of Jim Crow in the state,” according to the National Register nomination. “The cemetery serves as the final resting place for at least seven former slaves, as well as local leaders in the African-American community.”
The board also listed the Superior Savings and Loan Building at Fort Smith in Sebastian County and Ritter House at Jonesboro in Craighead County on
the Arkansas Register of Historic Places. The Arkansas Register recognizes historically significant properties that do not meet National Register
For more information on the National Register of Historic Places program, write the AHPP at 1100 North St., Little Rock, AR 72201, call the agency at (501) 324-9880 [TDD 501-324-9811], send e-mail to [email protected] or visit www.arkansaspreservation.org.
The AHPP is the Department of Arkansas Heritage agency that identifies, evaluates, registers and preserves the state’s cultural resources. Other agencies 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.