Central Avenue Historic District: The Ohio Club

Arkansas Historic Preservation Program - Wednesday, March 06, 2019


The State Review Board of the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program will consider 16 Arkansas properties in 12 counties for nomination to the National Register of Historic Places when it meets at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, April 3, at the Arkansas State University offices at 501 Woodlane Drive in Little Rock.

While added to the National Register in 1985, the board will consider an update to the Central Avenue Historic District utilizing additional documentation for this area in Hot Springs, Garland County. It’s always enjoyable to look back at past National Register forms and read the summaries of past structures. Once such summary from the original 1985 Central Avenue Historical District is the well-known Ohio Club.

Under the architectural description it states, “Constructed in 1905, this elaborately detailed building has one of the only examples of pressed metal façade dating from this period. Pressed metal corner pilasters imitate rusticated stone and are topped by finials. The gabled parapet has a simple dentilled cornice.”

Also according to the notes in the nominating form, the Ohio Club was originally owned by Otis McCraw as a private saloon and gambling establishment. In 1914, the club was still flourishing and during prohibition, according to the business website for the modern day Ohio Club, “1926 was during prohibition and the Ohio Club turned into a speakeasy in the truest sense of the word with the name changing to Ohio Cigar Store. About 10 foot of the front was walled off to contain the cigar store with two doors that led into the bar and upstairs to the casino.”

And if you think history is as stale as one of the Ohio Club’s old cigars, think again. According to the website for the Ohio Club gangsters, professional baseball players, movie stars, and entertainers have enjoyed and performed in the establishment in the past 100 years. In fact, this business in the heart of the Central Avenue Historical District boasts being the oldest bar in the state. 

Want to learn more about a National Register of Historic Places property? Search National Register Listings




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