Arkansas Properties on the National Register of Historic Places: Leake-Ingham Building, Camden, Ouachita County

Arkansas Historic Preservation Program - Tuesday, February 03, 2015

The Leake-Ingham Building at Camden in Ouachita County was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on May 2, 1975. You can read this and other Arkansas National Register nominations at


The white frame building which now rests on the rear lot of the McCollum-Chidester House has long been a landmark in Camden, Arkansas. Built circa 1850, this small commercial structure stood for over 100 years at the corner of Washington and Harrison Streets in the heart of the historic south Arkansas community. The Classical style of this small building lent dignity to its use as a law and government office, and as a library. Greek Revival features on this simple rectangular structure include the portico supported by columns and the balanced entry with a large double hung window on either side of the paneled door.

The building was originally constructed to serve as a law office for Mr. William W. Leake, a prominent Camden attorney. An 1859 advertisement in Camden’s States Rights Eagle announced that Mr. Lyon and Mr. Leake, lawyers, were in business in the Washington Street office formerly occupied by lawyers Jennings and Leake. Mr. Leake later changed partners again, and in 1866 was working with Mr. R. E. Sallee. By that time Leake had vacated his first office, and it was rented to the United States government.

In the years following the Civil War the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands had district offices in urban areas all over the South. The Camden office of the Freedmen’s Bureau was established in the building formerly used to house Mr. Leake’s law practice. Supervising a seven county area in south central Arkansas, the Freedmen’s Bureau in Camden played an important role in shaping Reconstruction era history in the State.

Among a collection of miscellaneous papers from the files of the Camden Freedmen’s Bureau is an 1860 fire insurance policy certificate issued to W. W. Leake. For a $16.00 premium Leake received $1,000.00 coverage on his Washington Street law office.

Following its use by the Freedmen’s Bureau, the Leake building served as a Government Land Office for a number of years. It was afterwards purchased by Mr. A. A. Tufts, who used the building as a business office for some time, then rented it to others for the same purpose.

In 1904 a group of women in the New Century Club of Camden started a movement for a public library in the city. An organizational meeting resulted in the formation of the Camden Library Association. The first goal set by the Association was the purchase of a building to house the library. This goal was accomplished on April 1, 1906, when the Leake building was purchased for $1,100.

Mr. H. M. Ingham, Rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Camden, supervised the preparation of the Leake building to house the library. He and his wife made such valuable contributions to the library that in June, 1906, it was named Ingham Library.

For the first half of the twentieth century this small structure housed Camden’s only public library. However, a new library building was constructed in the 1950’s and the Ingham Library was abandoned. Urban growth threatened destruction of the building and in 1954 it was removed from its original downtown lot. After temporarily resting at two different sites, it was moved in 1963 to the rear of the McCollum-Chidester House property (added to the National Register on June 24, 1971).

The Ouachita County Historical Society, which owns both the Ingham Library and the lot on which it stands, plans to restore the building and use it in conjunction with the adjacent McCollum-Chidester House. As one of Camden’s earliest existing commercial structures, the Leake Building-Ingham Library is an important ante-bellum landmark in this historic south Arkansas community.

“Fifty Years of Camden Library History.” Ouachita County Historical Quarterly, Vol. 5.

Freedman’s Bureau Records: Arkansas: Camden. Roll 2, Entries 297-305. Microfilm, Arkansas History Commission.

Ouachita County Tax Records, 1861-1867, Microfilm, Arkansas Historic Commission.

Records Assistant Commissioner: Arkansas: Freedman’s Bureau: Abandoned and Confiscated Lands: 1865-1868. National Archives Microfilm Publications, #M969, roll 29.

Recent Posts


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