HPAA Recognizes Achievements in Arkansas Preservation

Arkansas Historic Preservation Program - Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Little Rock – On January 9, 2015, the Historic Preservation Alliance of Arkansas celebrated its annual Arkansas Preservation Awards with an event honoring individuals and organizations for projects focused on historic sites throughout the state.

The Arkansas Preservation Awards are given each year to recognize the important work being done throughout Arkansas to preserve and protect places of historical or cultural importance.

The Parker Westbrook Award for Lifetime Achievement was given to Ruth A. Hawkins, PhD for work in preservation, tourism and education. Hawkins is the Director of Arkansas State University’s Arkansas Heritage Sites program, the director of the Arkansas Delta Byways regional tourism association and a member of the faculty of the ASU Heritage Studies PhD program. She has been integral to preservation of many of the region’s and the state’s most significant landmarks, including the Hemingway-Pfeiffer House in Piggott, the Southern Tenant Farmer’s Museum in Tyronza, Lakeport Plantation in Lake Village, the Dyess Colony Administration Building and Johnny Cash Boyhood Home in Dyess. Hawkins’ work has not only helped to protect these important pieces of Arkansas history, but has proven that the sites are essential part of Arkansas’s economy.

Awards for Excellence in Preservation through Rehabilitation were given to
* Dempsey Bakery in Little Rock for reviving a Mid-Century gem for use as a gluten-free bakery and café. Owner Paula Dempsey and Herron Horton Architects were recognized for the project.

* The William F. Laman Public Library Argenta Branch in North Little Rock for sensitive adaptation of a 1930s Post Office into a new branch library in the heart of downtown North Little Rock. Interim director Mary Furlough accepted the award on behalf of the library and the project team, including Architects Allison Architects and CBM Construction Co., Inc.

* Honorable Mention: CareLink Community Kitchen and Adult Respite Center in North Little Rock for adapting a long-vacant mid-century grocery store that allowed CareLink to expand service to elderly people in Ccentral Arkansas. Carelink’s President and CEO Luke Mattingly accepted the award on behalf of project team, including Polk Stanley Wilcox Architects and East Harding Construction.

Awards for Excellence in Preservation through Restoration were given for
* Beth El Heritage Hall in Helena for adaptation of the historic Temple Beth El into an auditorium and community center for all of Helena while restoring its beautiful historic elements. Tommy Jameson of JAMESON Architects, P.A. accepted the award on behalf of the project team and owner, the Delta Cultural Center, an Agency of the Department of Arkansas Heritage.

* Honorable Mention: The Arkansas State Capitol Dome in Little Rock
restoration project included repairing plaster, recreating the original color scheme and restoring decorative painting and faux marbling. David Ware of the Arkansas Secretary of State’s office and Mark Haguewood of Hight-Jackson Associates, PA, accepted the award on behalf of the project team.

* Honorable Mention: Rohwer Relocation Camp Cemetery in Desha County
for restoration of the two most iconic monuments at the cemetery, which is the last physical remnant of the World War II Japanese American confinement site at Rohwer. Dr. Johanna Miller Lewis of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock accepted the award on behalf of the project team, including WER Architects/Planners and Kinco Constructors.

Co-Authors Gordon Wittenberg and Charles Witsell and the University of Arkansas Press were recognized with the Ned Shank Award for Outstanding Preservation Publication for Architects of Little Rock: 1833-1950, an illustrated history of Little Rock’s most iconic buildings and the stories of the people who designed them.

Scott Darwin of Jonesboro received the Award for Outstanding Achievement in Preservation Advocacy for championing preservation of the 1936 V.C. Kays House, home of ASU founding father Victor C. Kays. Darwin gained media attention and built support for saving the house, which will be preserved for use by the Heritage Studies PhD program and will house furnishing and memorabilia from Governor Mike Beebe.

The Hot Springs Historic Baseball Trail was recognized with the Award for Outstanding Achievement in Preservation Education. The network of interpretive markers accessed by smart phone and website connects people to the places that highlight the “Spa City’s” baseball history in the early 20th century. Steve Arrison, CEO of Visit Hot Springs, accepted the award on behalf of the project team.

The Award for Outstanding Service in Neighborhood Preservation was given to Jennifer Carman and Donna Thomas for over ten certified historic rehabilitation projects of homes in Little Rock’s Central High School Neighborhood Historic District.

The Award for Outstanding Work by a Craftsperson was given to Clancy McMahon of Prairie Grove for his expert masonry work in restoration of the 1900 A.R. Carrol Drugstore in Cane Hill, part of restoration efforts by Historic Cane Hill.

An Honorable Mention for Outstanding Work by a Craftsperson was given to Keith Newton for carpentry on the porch of the Frank Gibb House in Little Rock. Newton adapted salvaged historic decorative elements and crafted new pieces to restore the historic form of the Victorian porch.

The Award for Outstanding Preservation Reporting in the Media was given to Rex Nelson for a series of articles published in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and posts on the Rex Nelson’s Southern Fried Blog about the revitalization of downtown Hot Springs.

Honorees and guests celebrated with a reception and banquet at the Annunciation Cultural Center followed by program recognizing award-winning projects. A program from the 2014 Arkansas Preservation Awards will be available on

The Historic Preservation Alliance is the only statewide non-profit organization dedicated to preserving Arkansas’s architectural and cultural heritage. For more information about the Alliance, or photos of the projects contact Vanessa at 501-372-4757, [email protected], or visit

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