Arkansas Historic Preservation Program
Clinton Commercial Historic District
Clinton Commercial Historic District

CLINTON COMMERCIAL HISTORIC DISTRICT, CLINTON, VAN BUREN COUNTY

SUMMARY

The Clinton Commercial Historic District, located in Clinton, Arkansas, Van Buren County, Section 15, Township 11 North, Range 14 West, is being submitted for nomination to the National Register of Historic Places with local significance. The district, whose period of significance spans 1903 to 1955, is eligible for nomination under Criteria A and C.  

ELABORATION

Originally hunting grounds to the Quapaw and Osage Indians, the area presently known as Van Buren County was surveyed by the United States beginning in 1819 and ending circa 1839. The 1830 Census documents some of the first settlers of this region. Created from Conway, Izard, and Independence Counties on 11 November 1833 Van Buren County experienced additional small boundary changes in 1853, 1859, 1873, and 1883, but the core of the county has never been altered.[1]  Named for Vice-president of the United States Martin Van Buren (1833-1837) and later president of the United States (1837-1841), Van Buren County presently comprises 709 square miles.[2]  Van Buren County is located in Arkansas’ Ozark Mountain Region.

Clinton is located in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains where the Archey Creek meets the Little Red River. Prior to the founding of the town of Clinton in 1842 by George Counts, a post office had been in operation there since opening in 1833. Presumably the post office was named for Vice-President DeWitt Clinton (1833-1837). The town of Clinton was first incorporated in 1879.[3]

Clinton’s Political, Economic & Social History: 1842 to 1900

In 1829 and 1830, surveyors first surveyed Section 15, Township 11 North, Range 14 West noting only that fields were present.[4]  An 1836 Arkansas Map shows Clinton (the site of the post office, est. 1833) located along a main road connecting Batesville on the White River and Lewisburg on the Arkansas River.  By 1844, two years after the towns establishment, Clinton was the convergence point for several roads that led to various towns: Lebanon to the north, Dover to the west, Lewisburg to the southwest, Little Rock to the south, Searcy to the southeast, Batesville to the northeast, and Athens to the north.[5]  The road that extended from Batesville to Dover was known as the Batesville-Dover Military Road, a prominent thoroughfare. According to stories told by locals, the east end of Main Street once had a gate that was called the military gate where the military road came through town.[6]  Original land grants for this area were: George Counts, 40 acres (1844); Samuel B. Joslin, 80 acres (1844); Lemuel B. Joslin, 40 acres (1855), John T. Bradley, 40 acres (1859), Samuel Boykin, 40 acres (1860); Drewry Harrington, 120 acres (1875); Jacob Kies, 120 acres (1876); and Perry C. Bennett, 120 acres (1895).  The location of Clinton is within the original forty-acre land grant belonging to George Counts (who also owned land in the adjacent section).[7]

Historians credit George Counts with establishing the town of Clinton in 1842. Two years later, in 1844, after much lobbying by Counts, officials moved the county seat from Bloomington (approximately 10 miles east) to Clinton. Since that time the courthouse square has been the political, economic and social hub of Clinton. Since 1869, the courthouse has been located on the site of the present-day courthouse (Junction of Main and Griggs Streets).  The first courthouse in Clinton was a one-room log structure that was later replaced by a frame, two-story building with columns (located on the current site of the Morgan and Tester Law Firm at 264 Court Street (VB0127). This frame building served as the courthouse until the end of the Civil War when fire destroyed it and most of Van Buren County’s early records. After the fire, county business transpired at the Methodist Church until the county could build a new courthouse. In 1869, builders constructed another two-story frame courthouse at the location of the current courthouse (an annex was constructed in 1880 and a rock vault added in 1907).[8]  Clinton’s early courthouses served as a place of operation for county business such as administering justice and also as a place for family reunions, fraternal organization meetings, and community gatherings. Since Clinton’s early beginnings, the town of has “grown up” around and radiated out from the courthouse square.[9]

Most people who settled in and around Clinton subsistence farmed while some also raised small cash crops like corn and cotton. In 1840 workers constructed the first cotton gin south of town. In the 1870s workers built a steam-powered mill that ground both corn and wheat; also on the premises was a sawmill. William Stobaugh and Hensley (first name unknown) ran the afore-mentioned operation through the early 1900s. Early settlers also harvested the abundant timber and used the wood for local building, firewood, fence posts and other products used around the home.  An advertisement in the Clinton Banner on 6 October 1881 notes, “Clinton Saw and Grist Mill – 1 ½ miles north of Clinton – William Currue”.[10]

Clinton in the mid 1800s was a small but self-sufficient town. The Methodist Church was the first church in Clinton. Other early institutions included: the Clinton Fraternal Order of Free Masons, known as Patterson Lodge No. 111, which received its charter on 5 November 1857 and the founding of the Clinton Banner by Mr. H. P. Fielding in 1878, the county’s first known published newspaper. In 1879, James H. Fraser founded the Clinton Male and Female Academy, which offered an education beyond primary learning and drew students from the surrounding counties. The earliest buildings in Clinton were of log construction followed by buildings of wood frame construction. The first bank in Clinton was located west of the courthouse. The bank was a small wooden building with a tall front displaying the name CLINTON BANK in large black letters. [11]  One of the earliest known photographs of the city, dating to the late 1800s or early 1900s (See Figure A, Page 21) shows:a courthouse with cupola, which would be Clinton’s third courthouse (1869); a frame church with steeple, likely the Methodist church; one- and two-story commercial buildings, either log or frame construction; and what appear to be residential buildings and outbuildings, some of which appear to be part of farmsteads.[12]  In a newspaper article published 29 June 1923 in the Van Buren County Democrat, T.J. Bradshaw recounted his memories of Clinton in 1866:

"The first time I had a view of Clinton was 1866.We lived in a big old box house in the east end of town, known as “Catch All”. A log house stood about sixty yards southeast and a large log house was on the corner northwest of court square. To the south was a double log house where for a long time Hartwell Greeson ran a hotel.South of this was another log house in which Dr. Thornbrough lived for a long time. West of this place stood the church a two story frame building, the upper story of which was used as a Masonic hall. Northwest of the church was a double log house occupied by the Boykin family as a residence.North of the church was a frame dwelling, and in the extreme northwest end of the town was a number of log cabins where the Pates lived afterwards.On the hill southwest of the church was an old horse mill owned by the Boykins. All of the unoccupied buildings were burned during the Civil War, among them being the courthouse and the jail.Just why the church was spared I do not know…"[13]

By 1881 the following businesses were in operation as advertised in the Clinton Banner:

James H. Fraser, editor and proprietor of the paper; Sam W. Simpson, Lawyer, located south of the courthouse square; Bruce & Kimes, Attorney at Law; James H. Fraser, Attorney at Law; Bradshaw & Thornbrough Cash Store, located northwest corner of town square; W. T. Poe & Co. General Merchandise; Pate & Hatchett City Drug Store; Brittin & Pate General Merchandise Store; Clinton Saw & Grist Mill, 1½ miles north of Clinton, operated by William Currie; Steam Mill (lumber and flour), 6 miles southeast of Clinton on Choctaw, operated by William Stobaugh.

According to an 1894-1896 publication that promoted the settlement of Van Buren County, the following are some of the business that served Clinton during the 1890s:

One of the leading firms of the town is that of S. W. Simpson & Son, who carry an unusually fine stock of general merchandise…Thompson & Allison…young, active and energetic, these gentlemen know the desires of the buying public, and try to supply their wants…Greeson & Patterson…carry a full stock of general merchandise…A good hotel is a necessity…the Clinton House, as kept by Bennett & Leonard…Greeson & Potter…will build you a better wagon and sell it for less money than any foreign firm…For furniture and cabinet work R. M. Everson stands ready to serve all…R. J. Pleas grocer and produce merchant… S. W. Simpson will attend to your legal affairs… Dr. R. J. Steele to look after your general health.[14]

In his book, Hill Folks: A History of Arkansas Ozarkers and Their Image, Brooks Blevins notes that by the turn of the century, the Ozark region was completely settled in terms that the land had reached its maximum capacity for sustainability of life. He states that all of the northern Arkansas plateau had been purchased or homestead except for the most rocky and hilly parts. [15]  During the late 1800s, Van Buren County was still very rural with roads that accommodated wagon and horse travel. At the turn of the century the county required men between the ages of 21 and 45 years of age to contribute five days of work per year or the monetary equivalent.[16]  Blevins reminds us, “By the 1890s almost all Ozarkers lived within a “team haul” – the distance a team and wagon could travel round-trip in a day – of at least a crossroads store.Consequently, on any given road a traveler would probably have encountered a village, hamlet, or crossroads center every five miles.” [17]Clinton was one of these crossroad towns. The oldest resource in town dating to the nineteenth century is the Clinton Cemetery located at the intersection of Park Street and Highway 65 B (VB00201), northwest of the courthouse square.  Many of Clinton’s early and/or well-known families are buried in this cemetery.

Political Economic & Social History: 1900 – 1960

At the turn of the century, Clinton was still very much a pioneer-like town. Only two extant buildings are known to date to the turn of the century, the Kemp House (ca. 1903 – date of newspapers found in wall during remodel) and the Patterson-Moss Hotel (in existence by 1910 as documented by a photograph).[18]  Because the railroad and automobile had not yet impacted Clinton at the turn of the century, the area and roads were still primitive and Clinton was self-sufficient. Citizens still subsistence farmed and raised row crops such as cotton and corn. In spite of the Clinton Male and Female Academy (1879), education in Clinton and the rest of the county was still basic, children attended school in one-room schoolhouses scattered throughout the county.[19]  Clinton’s commercial area had many of the same businesses that small towns throughout the Ozarks had to meet the needs of the townspeople and those passing through. A turn of the century photograph shows some of the one and two-story frame buildings clad in lap-siding located on the courthouse square.[20]  In 1900, businesses in Clinton included:

Hotel – A.C. Bennett; Justice – S. H. Bradley; Saw Mill and Gin – W. A. Brittin; General Store – Brittin and Pate; Clinton Democrat – Myover and Collins (publishers); Justice – J. H. Greeson; Blacksmith – Greeson and Potter; Grist Mill and Gin – A. L. Johnson; General Store – Leonard Brothers; General Store – J. W. Pate and son; Drugs – Pate and Hatchett; Grocer – J. E. Sanders; Lawyer – S. W. Simpson; General Store – S. W. Simpson and Son; General Store – Dr. R. J. Steele; Lawyer and P. M. – J. J. Stobaugh;and General Store – S. B. Thornbrough.[21]

Other turn of the century business endeavors included: the creation of the Van Buren County Bank, Charter No. 117, chartered by the State Bank Department, 21 February 1903; the establishment of the Van Buren County Democrat by J. B. Fraser in 1908; and the opening of the Graham Telephone Company that provided service for residents in Clinton by 1911 (and possibly earlier).[22]

One of the most significant impacts on the county at the beginning of the Twentieth century was the construction of the Missouri and North Arkansas Railroad that eventually spanned from Neosho, Missouri, to Helena, Arkansas (1901-1909). The construction of the railroad provided jobs for locals. The railroad made it easier and more economical for timber and other commodities to be shipped from the Ozarks to other parts of the state and country. The closest depot to Clinton was in Shirley, approximately 11 miles away.[23]  In 1909, during the “Pre-Forestry Exploitation Era”, the lumber industry employed 73% of all factory wage earners in Arkansas.[24]  Locals worked for the timber industry as hackers, timber cutters, and sawmill workers; they earned approximately $1.00 per day for “Day Labor.”[25] The harvesting of timber depleted much of Van Buren County and the surrounding area of its upland hardwoods and large pine trees in relatively a short time.[26]  Families planted crops such as cotton and corn in the rocky soil of the newly cleared forests.[27]  Many families in this area continued to plant row crops such as corn and cotton until county extension agents encouraged them to diversify during the mid to late twenties with such activities as: dairying, turkey raising, berry growing, hunting, trapping, canning in factories, growing legume hay for cows, and establishing permanent pastures.[28]

As late as 1920, there were still many families in Van Buren County that did not own an automobile, as roads still were not conducive to automobile travel. Starting in the 1920s, road construction began in earnest in Van Buren County, although the work was done a little at a time. Prior to the late 1920s, with the passage of the Martineau Law in 1927, which transferred some responsibility of road improvements to the state, commissioners of county road districts oversaw the construction of roads. Contracts that were “let” for highways in the Clinton vicinity during the early 20s included: the Shirley to Scotland Highway, the Clinton to Damascus Highway, and the Clinton to Leslie Highway. By 1920, parts of Highway 9 that would eventually connect Mammoth Spring to Hot Springs, were also under construction. By 1924, Highway 65 was paved all the way to the Conway County line at Damascus.[29] A 1928 headline in the Van Buren County Democrat stated, “Clearing Right of Way for Highway 65 through Clinton.”[30]

In 1910, the first documented appearance of an automobile in Clinton occurred when Mr. Frank Greenhaw passed through town on his way home from Little Rock to Leslie.[31]  However, it wasn’t until the mid 20s that the automobile, due in part to the movement for better roads in Van Buren County, began influencing the built environment in Clinton. By 1927, Clinton Motor Company was present in Clinton and by late 1928 or early 1929 the Lefler-Patterson Chevrolet Company was serving customers. An article in the Van Buren County Democrat published 8 July 1932 notes that, “with the completion of these two stations, Clinton will be able to boast of eight filling stations.”[32]

All of the changes that occurred around the county in the early 1900s and 1920s had done little to alter the nineteenth-century appearance of Clinton’s courthouse square.  Business continued to come and go occupying the frame buildings that surrounded the courthouse. Dirt roads accommodated the automobiles that were beginning to replace wagons.  The greatest change to the core of Clinton would occur in the late 1920s and continue through the 1940s. A catalyst for this change occurred on 29 January 1926, when a fire destroyed seven businesses on the east side of the courthouse. The businesses that the fire destroyed were: Pate Mercantile and Company (stock and building, $12,500); Patton Drug Company (stock and building, $10,000); Kemp and Son (stock and building, $5,000); R.P. Hayes (stock and building, $5,000); J. S. Burnett (building, $1,000); Roy Lefler building, occupied by barbershop ($500); Mrs. Kate Thompson building, occupied by Will Banks ($800). Nearby businesses that were spared but incurred minor damage included:  the courthouse, the Democrat building, A. L. Johnson’s store room, A. R. Godfrey’s blacksmith shop, Lay and Graddy’s feed store and grist mill, Henry Graham’s telephone exchange, Will Banks’ restaurant, and Pate and Bradley’s barbershop. It can be argued that this tragedy was the impetus for constructing buildings out of concrete, brick, and stone so that they would be “fireproof”.[33] Newspaper articles for 1928 and 1929 reference the building of concrete, cobblestone, brick, and brick veneer buildings. Although refuted, it was first thought that a DELCO lighting plant at the Patton Drug Company caused the 1926 fire. Prior to1928, when Electric Lights first came to Clinton, DELCO lighting plants were the only source of power.[34]

In October of 1929, the “stock market crashed,” propelling the country into the Great Depression.  The fallout of the Great Depression impacted the citizens of Clinton, however the effects were compounded by poor weather. Clinton’s Van Buren County Bank (chartered in 1903) was closed December 1930 and reopened January 1931.The bank closed for liquidation in February 1933 and again in April 1940.Later, in October of 1946, the State Bank Department chartered the Clinton State Bank.[35]  Most families around Clinton were subsistence farmers, so the depressed state of the economy wasn’t as detrimental to their way of life as the 1931-32 hot winds from Texas and the boll weevil that severely damaged the cotton fields - the county’s main cash crop. These natural disasters ultimately resulted in the lay-off of workers at the cotton gins and low cotton prices. To further the economic hardships of locals, the stave and lumber mills that once employed many citizens early in the century through the 1920s laid off workers because the forests were virtually gone, which caused low timber production. Another employer, the M & NA railroad line laid off workers due to financial problems incurred in the mid 20s through the early 30s. Like so many other towns, Clinton’s residents looked to President Theodore Roosevelt for an answer to the poor economy.[36]

Many New Deal programs affected residents of Van Buren County and Clinton, such as the Rural Electrification Administration (REA), which brought electricity to farms and the Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC), which employed young men to build roads, bridges, dams and plant trees, often times in the national forests and state parks located in Van Buren County. However, the New Deal program that most affected Clinton’s built environment, specifically the downtown area, was the Works Progress Administration (WPA). In 1934, the WPA funded the construction of a new courthouse to replace the 1869 frame courthouse. The present-day Van Buren County Courthouse was WPA Project No. 3454. Selected architects were Earl and Carl Bird from the Little Rock firm of Frank Erhart and Howard Eichenbaum. The facades of the courthouse were clad in native stone, quarried from an area north of Dennard. The WPA constructed sidewalks in downtown Clinton.[37]

It is possible that two other factors, in addition to the 1926 fire, also contributed to the use of stone on buildings in the commercial area: first, the availability of sandstone from nearby quarries such as the one located near Dennard; and second, the availability of skilled stonemasons who had honed their craft while working for the WPA and CCC.It is uncertain which stonemasons completed the work on all of these buildings.  Several newspaper articles from the time reference Claud Horton as the contractor.  In an article dated 15 January 1931 a reference was made to Claud Horton and his son-in-law Sam Whillock as being brick and stonemasons. Until, information proves otherwise it is assumed that these two men did some of the masonry work on the stone-clad commercial buildings.[38]  According to Jim Burnett, Art Holloway, a stonemason from Bellefonte, was responsible for the cobblestone veneer on the building at 588 Main Street (VB0065), constructed to serve as a post office, and adjacent buildings now sheathed in stucco or other veneers. The other two “contractors” mentioned in newspaper articles were Sherman Ward and Cecil Jones.[39]  Despite the nation’s depressed economy, business owners in Clinton’s commercial area continued to build stone, concrete and brick buildings during the 1930s, 40s and 50s.

The WWII and Post WWII era brought many changes to Van Buren County, as it did to the entire Ozark Region. From 1940 to 1960, Van Buren County lost more than 40% of its inhabitants.[40]  During the depression years, young men in Clinton and neighboring towns signed up for the armed services and as a result ended up serving in some capacity in WWII. Clinton, like the rest of the world experienced rationing of items such as sugar, coffee, tea and other imported goods, as well as canned goods, shoes and gasoline. Farmers planted more peanuts, beans, and other vegetables and women raised more poultry and eggs. The outward migration of Van Buren County that had began in the 30s, when families were leaving to find work on other farms as migrant workers, continued through the 40s as solders returning home from WWII applied for GI assistance and entered college or simply moved west to find work.[41] Yet despite this outward migration, primarily in the 40s, Clinton continued to build new buildings and expand its business base. In April of 1946, M. V. and Dorothy Hatchett built the first real estate office building in the county, Southern Ozarks Realty located at along Highway 65B (VB0152); Dorothy was also the first licensed lawyer in Van Buren County. June and Sid Latture opened June’s Café adjacent to Sourthern Ozark Realty at 618 Highway 65B (VB0153) in the Spring of 1946.June’s Café was a popular eating spot for residents and travelers passing through the area.  Bryan Lefler built the Clinton Theater in 1941, formerly located on Griggs Street (demolished 2000), the price of admission for adults was twenty-five cents and eleven cents for children. The Sycamore Motel was also constructed during the 40s/50s, and is located at 616 Highway 65B (VB0151).[42]  Another disappointment to the county occurred in 1946, when the M&NA Railroad discontinued service, leaving the county without a railroad, forcing residents to become dependant on private transportation and other modes of public transportation such as the bus.  At that time there was a Trailways Bus stop located at the Esso Station at 477 Highway 65B (VB0139), the bus having been servicing Clinton since at least March of 1938.[43]

The decline in population in Van Buren County continued through the 1950s, dropping from 12,000 people in 1940 to 7500 in 1960. Automobile travel in the county was prevalent; however, many roads still were not paved until the late 40s and early 50s: Highway 16 from Clinton to Shirley (1947), Highway 16 from Shirley to the Cleburne County line (1952), Highway 9 from Choctaw to the Conway County line (1952), Highway 92 from Bee Branch to Higden (1950s), Highway 124 from U.S. 65 to Quitman (1950s), Highway 95 from Clinton to Scotland (1950s), Highway 9 from Shirley to Mountain View (1950s), and Highway 16 from Shirley to Stark (1950s).  The paving of these major roads made Clinton more easily accessible for those traveling through the area.  Accessibility was very important once the dam spanning the Little Red River east of Heber Springs was completed. The damming of the Little Red River formed the tourist attraction Greers Ferry Lake. The building of the dam (1949-1964) provided jobs for locals and it provided a boost to the many local economies in and around the lake.  Once Greers Ferry Lake was completed retirees began moving to Heber Springs, Fairfield Bay and Greers Ferry.  Although Clinton is not located on the lake its closeness to the lake allowed it to benefit from those traveling to Greers Ferry Lake.[44]

During the past twenty-five years Clinton’s commercial area has survived many hurdles such as the 1980 flood which submerged much of the downtown area; being bypassed by the new route of Highway 65 circa 1965, which skirted the downtown area to the east; the growth of chain businesses along the Highway 65 corridor; and the coming of Wal-Mart in 1985. Perhaps, it is because Highway 65 bypassed this enclave of buildings, that it has been spared from new commercial development and still retains the authenticity and charm of an earlier time. Maintaining the integrity of the district while promoting the economic growth of the area is Main Street Clinton.Clinton has been part of the Main Street program since 2000.



[1]Clark, Ruby Neal, Mae Shull Holloway, Elenor Bowling Ryman and Alma Dean Stroud, eds., A History of Van Buren County (Conway, AR:River Bend Press, 1976; reprint 2002), pg. 1, 8, 12.

[2] Greer, Tom and Lavell Cole, Arkansas:The World Around Us (New York: Macmillan/McGraw-Hill School Publishing Co., 1991), Appendix A38.

[3] Earngey, Bill,Arkansas Roadsides: A Guidebook for the State, edited by Ross Sackett (Eureka Springs, AR:East Mountain Press, 1987), pg. 19; Clark, et al., A History of Van Buren County, pg. 3-4, 17, 25.

[4] Clark, et al., A History of Van Buren County, pg. 2.

[5] Earngey, Arkansas Roadsides: A Guidebook for the State, pg. xv.

[6] Van Buren County: An Arkansas Legacy, (Clinton, AR: Main Street Clinton, circa 2001), pg. 8

[7] Risener, Lynn Banard, “Original Grantee’s Land, Van Buren County, Arkansas, Township 11N, Range 14 W,” http://www.rootsweb.com/~arvanbur/LandRecords/1114.html.

[8] Van Buren County: An Arkansas Legacy, pg. 15; Earngey, Arkansas Roadsides: A Guidebook for the State, pg 19.

[9] Clark, et al., A History of Van Buren County, pgs. 28-29.

[10] Clark, et al., A History of Van Buren County, pg. 39; Evans. Carroll B, “English 103b:A History of Clinton, Arkansas” [photocopy], 1940, In Clinton Community File, Van Buren County Historical Museum, Clinton, AR.; Gray, John Dr.“Arkansas Forest History,. www.arkforests.org/favorite-history.html; [Advertisements], Clinton Banner, 6 October 1881.

[11] Clark, et al., A History of Van Buren County, pgs. 36, 58-59.

[12] Van Buren County Historical Society. Calendar:“Yesteryear in Van Buren County,” 2003 (photograph on cover).

[13] Bradshaw, T. J., “Good Old Days,” Van Buren County Democrat, 29 June 1923.

[14] “Van Buren, County, AR: Why the Home-seeker, Manufacturer and Laborer Should Seek a Home With Our People” [photocopy], In Clinton Community File, Van Buren County Historical Museum, Clinton, AR, pgs. 23-24.

[15] Blevins, Brooks,Hill Folks:A History of Arkansas Ozarkers and Their Image, (Chapel Hill & London:University of North Carolina Press, 2002), pg. 63.

[16] McLaren, Christie, “Arkansas Highway History and Architecture, 1910 –1965,” Arkansas Historic Preservation Program.

[17] Blevins, Hill Folks:A History of Arkansas Ozarkers and Their Image, pg. 63.

[18] Phillips, Judy, Phone Interview by Kara Oosterhous, 22 November 2005.

[19] A Pictorial History of Van Buren County Arkansas: Memories of a Century 1890-1990[Mae Holloway, 1900 to 1910], pg. 10.

[20] Van Buren County Historical Society, Calendar:“Yesteryear in Van Buren County,” 2003.

[21] “Van Buren County Cities and Towns in 1900” [photocopy], In Clinton Community File, Van

Buren County Historical Museum, Clinton, AR.

[22] Clark, et al., A History of Van Buren County, pgs. 4, 36- 37.

[23] Ibid., pg. 36, 70-71; Baker, William D,“Historic Railroad Depots of Arkansas, 1870-1940,” (Arkansas Historic Preservation Program), pg. 13.

[24]Gray, “Arkansas Forest History”.

[25] A Pictorial History of Van Buren County Arkansas: Memories of a Century 1890-1990[Mae Holloway, 1900-1910], pg. 10.

[26] Ibid.

[27] Van Buren County: An Arkansas Legacy, pg. 11-12.

[28] A Pictorial History of Van Buren County Arkansas: Memories of a Century 1890-1990[Lloyd and Penzel Cooper, 1920s], pg 49.

[29] Johnson, Essie, “ Description of Van Buren County,” Van Buren County Democrat, 16 January 1920, pg. 1; Old State House, “New Land Gives State Government Major Responsibility for Roads,” The Arkansas News, Spring 1989, pg. 1.; A Pictorial History of Van Buren County Arkansas: Memories of a Century 1890-1990[Lloyd and Penzel Cooper, 1920s], pg. 49; and Van Buren County: An Arkansas Legacy, pg 9.

[30] “Clearing Right of Way for Highway 65 through Clinton,” Van Buren County Democrat, 31 August 1928, pg. 1.

[31] “First Automobile Appears,” Choctaw-Clinton Past-Times [photocopy],In Clinton Community File, Van Buren County Historical Museum, Clinton, AR.

[32] “Clinton Soon to Have Eight Filling Stations,” Van Buren County Democrat, 8 July 1932, pg. 1;“Another Clinton Landmark Passing From View,” Van Buren County Democrat, 16 September 1927, pg. 1; and “E. E. Canerday Buys Local Post-office Building.” Van Buren County Democrat, 23 November 1928, pg. 1.

[33] Van Buren County Democrat, Volume xvii, No. 6, Friday, February 5, 1926, Page 1, “Seven Business Houses in Clinton Burn” and “Pate Mercantile Company Will Erect Concrete Building.”

[34] A Pictorial History of Van Buren County Arkansas: Memories of a Century 1890-1990[Lloyd and Penzel Cooper, 1920s], pg. 49.

[35] [35] Clark, et al., A History of Van Buren County, pgs. 36-37.

[36]A Pictorial History of Van Buren County Arkansas: Memories of a Century 1890-1990[Glenn Hackett, Decade of 1930], 58.

[37] Zollner, Patrick, “National Register of Historic Places Registration From:Van Buren County Courthouse,” (Completed for the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, 1991), Section 8/Page 1.

[38] “Walter Patterson Contracts for Cobblestone Business House,”Van Buren County Democrat, 5 July 1929;and “New Filling Station,” Van Buren County Democrat, 15 January 1931

[39] Van Buren County Democrat, “Clinton to Have Another Stone Building,” 14 November 1934, pg. 1; and Van Buren County Democrat, 14 March 1935, pg. 1.

[40] Blevins, Hill Folks:A History of Arkansas Ozarkers and Their Image, pg. 181.

[41] A Pictorial History of Van Buren County Arkansas: Memories of a Century 1890-1990[Lillian Hall, 1940s], pg. 67.

[42] Van Buren County Historical Society, Calendar:“Yesteryear in Van Buren County,” 2003 & 2005;Satterfield, Molly, “Survey Forms for Proposed Clinton Commercial Historic District,” 2001.

[43] A Pictorial History of Van Buren County Arkansas: Memories of a Century 1890-1990[Lillian Hall, 1940s], pg. 67; Borecky, Email Correspondence, 17 January 2006.

[44] A Pictorial History of Van Buren County Arkansas: Memories of a Century 1890-1990[Glen Hackett, Decade of 1950 and R.J. Boise, 1960s], pgs. 79 & 90.

SIGNIFICANCE

The Clinton Commercial Historic District is being nominated to the National Register of Historic Places under Criterion A and Criterion C. The Clinton Commercial Historic District is part of the original, forty-acre land grant belonging to George Counts; Clinton has served as the county seat of Van Buren County since 1844. The early growth and development of the town began around the courthouse square and radiated outward in the ensuing years. The overall site is comprised of the cemetery and 101 buildings. Some of the oldest burials in the Clinton Cemetery appear to have perhaps been children of some of the earliest settlers, some of these children became business or property owners in downtown Clinton during the late 1800s and early 1900s.  The buildings located in the proposed commercial district are significant because they are the best representation of Clinton’s commercial, political and social history, as well as architectural styles from 1903 to 1956. 1903 being the construction date of the oldest known building, the Kemp House (VB0089) and 1955 being the cutoff date for those resources deemed historic based on their 50-year age. The buildings located within the district are architecturally significant for the twentieth century commercial style that they portray, as well as the restrained versions of:  English Revival, Art Deco, Art Moderne, Craftsman, and National styles. In addition, there is quite a collection of buildings within the district that are clad in sandstone and cobblestone from nearby quarries, this in itself contributes to Clinton’s distinct and unique quality that reminds any observer that they are at the foothills of the Ozark Mountains. It is with local significance that the Clinton Commercial Historic District is being nominated to the National Register of Historic Places. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

A Pictorial History of Van Buren County Arkansas: Memories of a Century 1890-1990.  [Multiple Contributing Authors Named in Footnotes]. 1990; reprint. Marceline, MO:  Heritage House Publishing Company, 2005.

Arkansas Research Inc. “Information about Arkansas Counties.” http://www.arkansasresearch.com/colist.html#vanb, 2003.

Baker, William D.  “Historic Railroad Depots of Arkansas, 1870-1940.” Arkansas Historic Preservation Program.

Blevins, Brooks.  Hill Folks:  A History of Arkansas Ozarkers and Their Image.  Chapel Hill & London:  University of North Carolina Press, 2002.

Bonds, Bill.  Interview by Kara Oosterhous. 18 November 2005.

Borecky, Dortha.  Interview by Kara Oosterhous. 7 October 2005 and 18 November 2005.

Borecky, Dortha.  Email Correspondence with Kara Oosterhous. 8 November 2005.

Borecky, Dortha.  Email Correspondence with Kara Oosterhous. 17 January 2006.

Burnett, Jim.  Interview by Kara Oosterhous. 7 October 2005 and 18 November 2005.

Clark, Ruby Neal, Mae Shull Holloway, Eleanor Bowling Ryman and Alma Dean Stroud, eds.  A History of Van Buren County.  Conway, AR:  River Road Press, 1976; reprint, 2002.

City Data.Com. “Clinton Arkansas.” http://www.city-data.com/city/Clinton-Arkansas.html.

Clinton Banner.  Advertisements from 6 October 1881.

“Clinton Cemetery – Van Buren County.” Submitted by JoAnn Bradford Garrett.
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Eoff, James. Interview by Kara Oosterhous. 7 October 2005 and 18 November 2005.

Evans. Carroll B. “English 103b:  A History of Clinton, Arkansas” [photocopy], 1940. In Clinton Community File, Van Buren County Historical Museum, Clinton, AR.

“First Automobile Appears.” Choctaw-Clinton Past-Times [photocopy].  In Clinton Community File, Van Buren County Historical Museum, Clinton, AR.

First Baptist Church, Clinton. “Together We Build,” ca. 1980 [photocopy].  In Clinton Community File, Van Buren County Historical Museum, Clinton, AR.

Goodspeed Publishing Co.  A Reminiscent History of the Ozark Region. Chicago:  Goodspeed Publishing Co., 1894.

Greer, Tom and Lavell Cole  Arkansas:  The World Around Us.  New York: Macmillan/McGraw-Hill School Publishing Co., 1991.

Gray, John, Dr.  “Arkansas Forest History.” www.arkforests.org/favorite-history.html.

A Town View From the Hill, 1929 & Away Back When, 1920-1930. Photographs in Koone-Hollenbeck Scrapbook [GENIA], Van Buren County Historical Museum, Clinton, AR.

McAlester, Virginia and Lee.  A field Guide to American Houses.   New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1984.

McLaren, Christie. “Arkansas Highway History and Architecture, 1910 –1965.” Arkansas Historic Preservation Program.

Old State House. “New Land Gives State Government Major Responsibility for Roads.” The Arkansas News. Spring 1989.

Phillips, Judy.  Phone Interview by Kara Oosterhous. 22 November 2005.

Phillips, Virginia Lane.  Phone Interview by Kara Oosterhous. 12 January 2006.

Risener, Lynn Banard. “Original Grantee’s Land, Van Buren County, Arkansas, Township 11N, Range 14 W.” http://www.rootsweb.com/~arvanbur/LandRecords/1114.html.

Risener, Lynn Banard (county coordinator). “Van Buren County, Arkansas.” http://www.rootsweb.com/~arvanbur

Satterfield, Molly. “Survey Forms for Proposed Clinton Commercial Historic District.” 2001.

The WPA guide to 1930s Arkansas.  With and Introduction by Elliott West. Lawrence, KS:  University Press of Kansas, 1987.  Reprint of:  Arkansas: A Guide to the State, 1941.

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Risener, Lynn (compiler). “Van Buren County, Arkansas.” http://www.rootsweb.com/~arvanbur

Van Buren County: An Arkansas Legacy.  Clinton, AR: Main Street Clinton, circa 2001.

“Van Buren, County, AR: Why the Home-seeker, Manufacturer and Laborer Should Seek a Home With Our People” [photocopy].  In Clinton Community File, Van Buren County Historical Museum, Clinton, AR.

“Van Buren County Cities and Towns in 1900” [photocopy]. In Clinton Community File, Van Buren County Historical Museum, Clinton, AR.

Van Buren County Democrat, newspaper articles on the following dates:  16 January 1920 (by Miss Essie Johnson); 29 June 1923 (by T.J. Bradshaw); 5 February 1926; 12 March 1926; 16 July 1926; 16 September 1927; 27 April 1928; 17 August 1928; 31 August 1928; 19 October 1928; 16 November 1928; 23 November 1928; 30 November 1928; 14 December 1928; 7 June 1929; 5 July 1929; 12 July 1929; 15 January 1931; 27 March 1931; 10 February 1933; 15 November 1934; 14 March 1935; 9 May 1935; 20 June 1935; 25 June 1935; 19 September 1935; 23 January 1936; 18 February 1936; 1 April 1937; 15 September 1938; 20 October 1938; 4 July 1941; 15 December 1944; 19 January 1945; 2 February 1945; 6 April 1945; 7 July 1945;  10 August 1945; 14 September 1945; 22 February 1946; 15 March 1946; 22 March 1946; 10 June 1949; 30 April 1959; 7 May 1959 (Calud Horton Obituary); 2 January 1975; 14 July 1999. 

Van Buren County Historical Society. Calendar(s):  “Yesteryear in Van Buren County,” photographs from the years:  Cover, 1998; Cover, 1999; Cover, 2001; February, 2001; May, 2001; December, 2001;  May, 2002; November 2002; June, 2003; August, 2003; November, 2003; May, 2004; Cover, 2005; April, 2005: November, 2005; and December, 2005. Van Buren County Historical Museum, Clinton, AR.
 
“Van Buren County Cities and Towns in 1900” [photocopy]. In Clinton Community File, Van Buren County Historical Museum, Clinton, AR.

Wales, Jimmy (founder of Wikipedia). “Clinton, Arkansas.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clinton%2C_AR

Workman, R. C. “Map of Clinton, Van Buren County Arkansas.” March 1947.

Zollner, Patrick. “National Register of Historic Places Registration From:  Van Buren County Courthouse.”  Completed for the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, 1991.