Arkansas Historic Preservation Program
Arkadelphia Boy Scout Hut
Arkadelphia Boy Scout Hut

ARKADELPHIA BOY SCOUT HUT, ARKADELPHIA, CLARK COUNTY

SUMMARY

Located in a wooded area of the Arkadelphia City Park in Arkadelphia, Clark County, the Arkadelphia Boy Scout Hut, constructed in 1939 as a National Youth Administration (NYA) project, is being nominated to the National Register of Historic Places with local significance under Criterion A for its association with the nationally known NYA, and as the only example of a Rustic style building in Arkadelphia, funded by this New Deal program.

ELABORATION

National Youth Administration
First Layd Eleanor Roosevelt was the leading advocate of the National Youth Administration (NYA) and a leader in its establishment in June, 1935. The NYA was an equal opportunity agency, providing aid and opportunities to all races and genders. It was established to provide emergency relief and employment to persons between the ages of 16 and 25. The NYA program was twofold in that it catered to youth that were in school, as well as those not currently attending school. According to Robert Cohen, the NYA employed more than two million students between 1936 and 1943 (including more than 10% of the total college student population). This enabled them to continue their education, which many would not have been able to do were it not for the New Deal programs. The NYA also employed an additional 2.6 million youths in the out-of-school program.

Dorothy Canfield Fisher, a writer and friend of Eleanor Roosevelt, noted that the second part of the NYA program was due in part to an Arkansas experience. Located in Arkansas, were four work-study homes that were a response to the Depression. Their results in combining agricultural work with study and an alternative to home life gained national attention. According to Fisher these four “homes” promoted a degree of job training, health, enthusiasm and good citizenship, which later became goals of the NYA.

The NYA was responsible for employing youth across America. Arkansas youths completed various NYA projects throughout the state from 1935 – the year of the program’s implementation – to the year of its termination. Congressional conservatives brought an end to the NYA in July 1943, eight years and one month after its establishment.

Arkadelphia Boy Scout Hut
In a press release by Aubrey Williams, Executive Director of the National Youth Administration, on 24 September 1937, Williams stated:

“City recreation departments, children’s agencies, YMCA’s, YWCA’s , settlement houses, institutions for the blind, public schools, orphanages, hospitals for handicapped and crippled children, boy’s clubs, Boy Scouts, community centers and churches were reported as cooperating agencies in supervising the students and providing facilities for increased recreational programs to all young people in the community.”

The Arkadelphia Boy Scout Hut was constructed over a period of on year from 1938 to 1939 under the supervision of Edwin C. Dean, NYA District Supervisor, Camden, Arkansas and Edward T. Wayte, NYA Area Supervisors, Hope, Arkansas. A.F. Bishop, local supervisor of foreman, oversaw the project and coordinated the efforts of up to 30 unemployed local boys paid by the NYA. Community members were also involved in overseeing the project at the local level. This included Arkadelphia Mayor Theodore Goodloe, Chamber of Commerce Secretary George Dews and Superintendent of schools, L.M. Goza.

The construction of the log Hut not only involved local youth but many businesses in the community donated equipment and materials to make the construction of the building a reality. They included the following:

Tom Clark – lent trucks to haul the rock and 850 feet of lumber
Sturgis Lumber Company – donated cypress and furnished the cypress shingles
Ozan-Graysonia Lumber Company – contributed the logs for the walls of the building
John Sturgis – 500 feet of center match slabs
Rotary Club – furnished $217.28 to purchase windows, doors and other necessities
Clark County Lumber – donated cash, various materials and the use of their trucks
Thomas Brother of Curtis – log hauling
City of Arkadelphia - $10.00 in cash and use of trucks to haul gravel and sand
Arkansas Sand and Gravel Company – supplied gravel and sand
Kraft Paper and Pulp Company – logs
State Highway Department – use of trucks for one day of hauling rocks
NYA – 80 sacks of cement and use of truck for two days to haul slabs and rocks.

The Boy Scout Hut was constructed to provide a meeting place for two local Boy Scout troops. The building has always been owned by the city but its use has been controlled by the Boy Scouts who allowed local Girls Scout troops to use the building as well.

According to Mary King, who was a Girl Scout in 1958, the Girl Scouts have been using the building since at least that time. Currently the Girl Scouts and the Cub Scouts use the building. Girl Scout Troop 454, Conifer Council plans on consulting with the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program for advice on efforts to stabilize it from future deterioration so they can continue to use the building for many years to come. They are also seeking guidance in the historic replacement of missing architectural elements in order to take the Hut back to its historic appearance.

SIGNIFICANCE

The Arkadelphia Boy Scout Hut is typical of buildings constructed by the Works Progress Administration (WPA), Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and NYA during the Great Depression. However, it is in the only known structure, out of the 724 properties surveyed in Arkadelphia, built by the NYA. More than likely any federal funds received through the numerous New Deal programs were funneled into the town through other programs. The WPA funded the construction of the National Guard Armory in 1940, but these are the only two properties in Arkadelphia known to have been built with funds from the New Deal programs. Thus the Boy Scout Hut is not only unique because of its association with the NYA, but also because it is the only Rustic style building in Arkadelphia designed during the New Deal era.

The replacement of the roof in 1953 and the replacement of the original shutters and windows preclude this building from being listed on the National Register under Criterion C. However, its significance is heightened by the fact that it is the only building in Arkadelphia associated with the nationally known New Deal program – the National Youth Administration. It is also the only building in Arkadelphia designed in the Rustic style during this era, thus the Arkadelphia Boy Scout Hut is being nominated to the National Register of Historic Places with local significance under Criterion A.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

“Boy Scout Cabin Finished, Turned Over to the City by Officers of the NYA.” Daily Siftings Herald. Arkadelphia, Arkansas (24 June 1939).

“Cabin for Scouts Completed and Ready for Use.” Southern Standard. Arkadelphia, Arkansas (29 June 1939).

Cohen, Robert. Dear Mrs. Roosevelt: Cries for Help from the Depression Generation, and the American Youth Crisis of the 1930s. (May 1996). (An online article http://newdeal.feri.org/eleanor/cohen.h tm.)

“Huddleston is Rotary Speaker.” Daily Siftings Herald, Arkadelphia, Arkansas (1 July 1939).

“Scout Hut Begun Here with Gifts and NYA Funds.” Southern Standard, Arkadelphia, Arkanss (8 September 1938).

“The Resident Youth Centers of the NYA.” (An online article found at http://newdeal.feri.org/wsl/ws101.htm & http://newdeal.feri.org/wsl/wsl102.htm) .

Williams, Aubrey. “The College and High School Aid Program of the Youth Administration.” Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, Hopkins Papers, Box 13 (24 September 1937).

“Work on Boy Scouts Cabin is Under Way.” Daily Siftings Herald, Arkadelphia, Arkansas (8 September 1938).