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

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

Archive