Arkansas Properties on the National Register of Historic Places: Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Clarendon, Monroe County

Arkansas Historic Preservation Program - Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Cumberland Presbyterian Church at Clarendon in Monroe County was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on July 30, 1976. You can read this and other Arkansas National Register nominations at


The many ways in which this building has been used exemplifies how a small community can work together in cooperative fellowship, so that the lives of the citizens, both young and old, will be spiritually and educationally enriched. With its sturdy construction and simple but dignified style, it is a typical example of the type of church buildings that were erected during a period of hardship and struggle, by citizens who realized the importance of having a place for worship.

The town of Clarendon was completely destroyed by shelling and burning in June, 1854, forcing the evacuation of the town. The people returned after the close of the Civil War to rebuild their homes and businesses from the weeds and ashes. It is significant that during this time of struggle to return to their former way of life that the spiritual needs of the community were realized by the erection and cooperative use of this church building. The fact that it has survived through numerous floods and many years of weathering and is still useful, testifies to the sturdiness of construction.

The original deed to the property, dated September 15, 1869, was to the Cumberland Presbyterian Church of Clarendon, and stated that the use of the church was to be freely offered to other denominations when not in use by the Cumberland Presbyterians. The July 9, 1870, minutes of the session state “it was resolved to tender the use of the new Church House now nearly completed, to the Methodist Episcopal Church South, The Presbyterian Church and the Baptist Church, each a portion of the time when not used by the Cumberland Presbyterians.” On July 16, 1870, the session resolved to hire a sexton and request the other denominations worshipping in the house to bear equal parts of the sexton’s hire. Thus the building was completed and several congregations were using the building by this date.

Not only was the building constructed for use by several religious groups, but it is also thought that it was erected jointly by the Cumberland Presbyterians and the Cache Lodge 235 of Free Masons, whose group was organized November 20, 1869, and whose members state that they used the upper floor of the church from the time of its erection until they sold the building in 1968.

The Cumberland Church had been organized in 1857, according to an entry in the record books, and records are intact from March 1869-1920. In 1920, the Cumberland Presbyterian Church united with the First Presbyterian Church of Clarendon and from that time the Masons became the sole owners of the building.

From an entry under building expense it is determined that the congregation paid $2500.00 for the building. If the Masons shared jointly in the expense, the total cost was probably $5000.00. This joint ownership would also explain the reason for a two-story building.

After the lower floor was vacated by the congregation, the Masons allowed the lower floor to be used for various community purposes. The Clarendon Library was housed there for about 20 years. It was operated by librarians who worked without pay, and part of this time was sponsored by Civic organizations. Nearly 4,500 volumes of books were damaged or destroyed when the lower floor was submerged during the 1927 flood. After the break in the Clarendon Levee, the church withstood the rush of the water without structural damage.

The W.L. Boswell chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star also held their meetings in the building. At one time a kindergarten was held there, and a teenage club met in the building for a short time. It was about the year 1960 that the Masons allowed the Boy Scouts to use the lower floor for their meeting place, which they have done since that time.

In 1968 when Cache Lodge 235 decided to tear down the building to erect a new lodge hall, Mrs. W. F. Vaughan, to prevent the destruction of the church, donated the necessary funds to the Troop Committee of the Boy Scout Troop 28, and with the funds they purchased the building. Thus the Boy Scouts are the present owners and occupy the building for their “Scout Hall.”

Thus the old church, whose cornerstone was laid in 1869, which was built for service to the community’s spiritual life, has served in many worthwhile areas — all of which have been for the betterment of the community. It has defied going out of service, having served continuously, as no other building in Clarendon has served to so many worthy groups. It continues to stand, amid the tall oak trees, meeting the needs of today and of our future citizens as it did for those of the past.


Record Books of the Clarendon Congregation, Cumberland Presbyterian Church Charter of Cache Lodge 235 of Free Masons, Clarendon, Ark.

Scrapbooks containing newspaper articles about interviews with former members living in Clarendon when the building was erected; articles also about the Clarendon Library and the 1927 Flood.

Monroe County Deed Records.

Recent Posts


Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council Estes-Williams Post #61 American Legion Hut Historic Preservation Restoration Grants Huntsville Commercial Historic District Booneville Arkansas Destination Downtown Conference Phillips County Arkansas Arkansas Humanities Council steel window restoration workshop Pope County Courthouse Montgomery County Courthouse Pope County Arkansas New Century Club of Camden Arkansas History 13th Amendment Arkansas Historic Preservation Program Houston Methodist Episcopal Church South Morrilton Arkansas Centennial Baptist Church Flood Control Dr. Ruth Hawkins free teacher resources Sunken Lands Mississippi Main Street Association Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission historic resort communities Sandwiching in History Madison County Arkansas Ouachita County Arkansas Miller County Pike County Courthouse Houston Arkansas Arkansas African American Civil War History Saline County Arkansas Arkansas Tuberculosis Sanatorium Museum Old U.S. Post Office and Customs House Main Street Siloam Springs Fayetteville Arkansas Duck Hunting Leake-Ingham Building U.S. Forest Service Historic Preservation Alliance of Arkansas Let Freedom Ring Downtown Revitalization Grants downtown economic development Conway County Library Main Street Searcy Main Street Ozark Turner Restoration St. Francis County Historical Society Huntsville Arkansas cemetery preservsation 19th Century Road Construction Helena Arkansas slipcover removal grants Three States Lumber Company Paris Arkansas Kiblah School Arkansas Design Network Free Courthouse Poster Free Lesson Plan Mississippi County Courthouse Osceola Naturalistic Architecture Real Estate Transfer Tax Booneville Historical Preservation Society Pike County Arkansas Arkansas History Lesson Plans Tolbert Gill Little Rock Central High School Arkansas Historic Preservation Mid-Century Modern Architecture Burdette Arkansas National Register of Historic Places News Release "Let Freedom Ring" Travel Grants Tudor Revival Architecture Rosenwald Schools Freedmen's Bureau Arkansas Business History Roe Arkansas Barney Elias House Craftsman style architecture Walks Through History Mosaic Templars Cultural Center Cemetery Preservation Library Camden to Washington Road County courthouse Restoration Grants White County Courthouse Prairie County Arkansas Henry Koen Office Building Montgomery County Arkansas Main Street Batesville Little Rock Fire Station No. 2 Doddridge Arkansas International-Style Architecture Marked Tree Arkansas Perry County Arkansas Abolition of Slavery Louisiana Main Street program Arkansas Register of Historic Places historic architecture Marked Tree Lock and Siphons Camden Arkansas Main Street Dumas Russellville Arkansas Mississippi County Arkansas Arkansas Railroad History African American education Monsanto Chemical Corporation Monroe County Arkansas historic Arkansas properties Burdette Plantation Main Street Arkansas:Real Estate Transfer Tax Evelyn Gill Walker House Benton Arkansas Edgar Monsanto Queeny Parker-Hickman Farm Historic District Rosston Arkansas Cumberland Presbyterian Church free historic preservation workshop Folk Victorian Architecture Skillern House Free Cemetery Preservation Workshops North Little Rock Arkansas Rustic Architecture Civilian Conservation Corps Clarendon Arkansas Stearns/Gehring Chapel Cemetery Historic County Courthouses Carlisle Rock Island Railroad Depot American Legion Camden Public Library Ozark Farming Erbie Arkansas cemetery preservation Main Street Texarkana Main Street Arkansas Wingmead Poinsett County Arkansas Monroe County Courthouse Arkansas religious history Renaissance Revival Architecture Forrest City Cemetery Elias Camp Morris Newton County Arkansas Freedom Park Bogg Springs Arkansas National Register of Historic 13th Amendment Classroom Presentation Pulaski County Courthouse most endangered historic places Forrest City Arkansas Bogg Springs Hotel Polk County Arkansas National Historic Landmark Central High School Neighborhood Historic District free history tours Arkansas Preservation Awards Dionicio Rodriguez Historic Preservation Alliance Nevada County Arkansas Civil Works Administration downtown revitalization U.S. Army Corps of Engineers historic telephone booth Gothic Revival architecture Arkansas State University Heritage Sites Buffalo National River Delta Cultural Center Trail of Tears in Arkansas Art Deco Architecture