Blog

Arkansas Properties on the National Register of Historic Places: Houston Methodist Episcopal Church, South, Houston, Perry County

Arkansas Historic Preservation Program - Thursday, February 05, 2015

The Houston Methodist Episcopal Church, South, at Houston in Perry County was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on May 20, 1994. You can read this and other Arkansas National Register nominations at http://www.arkansaspreservation.com/historic-properties/national-register/search.aspx.

Summary

The Houston Methodist Episcopal Church, South, in Perry County is being nominated under Criterion C with local significance as the best example of a Colonial Revival-style church in Houston.

Elaboration

Although the area surrounding the present town of Houston was settled before the Civil War, sufficient population to warrant a post office was not attained until 1878. The name “Jamesville” was first selected, however, due to another post office by that name in Arkansas, the name “Houston” was substituted instead. According to oral tradition, the name is in honor of Sam Houston, who is said to have stayed in the area during his travels. Interestingly, Goodspeed calls the town “Huston” and, in a different section, mentions a John L. Huston, who operated the first ferry across the nearby Fourche LaFave River in 1847.

The community around Houston never really prospered and disappeared into memory as “Old Houston” in 1900 with the completion of the Choctaw, Oklahoma, and Gulf Railroad two miles to the south. The new town became a center for shipping logs, crossties, cattle, and cotton produced in the surrounding area. The town grew quickly, as most railroad towns did, and contained the usual assortment of businesses including a bank, several general stores, a couple of saloons, hotel, blacksmith shop, sawmill, and a cotton gin. Additionally, the town could offer to its populace the Houston Weekly newspaper, a brick kiln, and a grist mill. The town was incorporated in 1908.

Houston could also boast daily passenger train stops, a feature unusual for a town its size, in addition to the regular freight schedule. Margaret Long, who donated the land for the townsite, received credit for obtaining this service by stipulating the daily stops in her contract with the railroad. A fine of $25 was imposed on the railroad, payable to the Houston Public Schools, for each day the passenger train failed to stop. Passenger train services following these conditions were continued for thirty-five years until the town was made a flagstop.

Margaret Long was also responsible for donating the land for the fist Methodist Church in the Houston area. In 1893, approximately seven years before the arrival of the railroad, Long donated one-and-a-half acres for the construction of the Bethel Methodist Episcopal Church, South. The name of the church was changed to the Houston Methodist Episcopal Church, South in 1902 to reflect the presence of the new railroad town that now encompassed the building. By 1912, the congregation had outgrown the existing facility, and the current structure was erected on the same site. In 1968, the name was changed to the Houston United Methodist Church when the Evangelical United Brethren Church joined with the Methodist Episcopal Church. The building is no longer used for church services, except for the occasional funeral, as only two members of the congregation remain. Nevertheless, the building is well maintained and has been little altered since its construction.

The Houston Methodist Episcopal Church, South is an excellent example of the single-room, wood-frame, gable-roof church form used throughout rural Arkansas in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Although these buildings are basically Plain Traditional in style, local congregations sometimes applied various architectural style elements – most commonly Gothic Revival windows – to the basic form. This church, however, exhibits the less frequently employed Colonial Revival-style influences that consist of a dignified frieze and cornice treatment and unusual arched windows with purely decorative keystones. As it is the best example of this type of church form and style in Houston and the surrounding area, the Houston Methodist Episcopal Church, South is being nominated under Criterion C with local significance.

BIBLIOGRAPHY
Kemper, George. You Can Go Home Again: A History of Houston, Arkansas. 1982 (bound and on file at the Arkansas History Commission).

The Goodspeed Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Central Arkansas. Chicago, Nashville, and St. Louis: The Goodspeed Publishing Co., 1889.



Recent Posts


Tags

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

Archive