Arkansas Historic Preservation Program
Tyronza Water Tower
Tyronza Water Tower

TYRONZA WATER TOWER, TYRONZA, POINSETT COUNTY

SUMMARY

The Tyronza Water Tower in Tyronza, Poinsett County, Arkansas is being nominated to the National Register of Historic Places with local significance under Criterion A for its association to the Public Works Administration activities in the 1930s. It is also being nominated to the National Register of Historic Places under Criterion C for its excellent representation of the 1930s waterworks construction. The Tyronza Water Tower is being nominated under the multiple property listing “An Ambition to Be Preferred: New Deal Recovery Efforts and Architecture in Arkansas, 1933-1943.”

ELABORATION

Once Arkansas entered statehood, the legislature required that every county had at least 500 white male inhabitants. This restriction on the population of counties resulted in the proliferation of counties from 1836-1860. One of these new counties, Poinsett County, was formed February 26, 1838.[1] Named after John Poinsett, the Secretary of War under former President Van Buren, Poinsett County, Arkansas, is the only county in the country named after him. Early settlement to Poinsett County was slow in comparison to settlement farther west. Most of the pioneers that came to Arkansas, originated from mountainous areas; thus, they were attracted to the hills on the western part of the state. Growth in the eastern part of the state did not occur until the latter part of the nineteenth century.[2]

Poinsett County harbors the area that is known as the “sunken” lands. After the New Madrid Earthquake, a large tract of land in the eastern part of the county fell below sea level. This region includes the present location of Tyronza. This area was cut off largely from communication with the county and the rest of the state.[3] In the nineteenth century, roads were a public service duty. If men did not complete their job, they were summoned to county jail. Despite these efforts to build roads, there was no really efficient way to market the County’s vast natural resources.[4]

In the 1880s, the St. Louis and San Francisco Railroad was built. It passed through the eastern part of the county and fostered growth in towns such as Marked Tree and Tyronza. The town of Tyronza began sometime before the Civil War and named after an Indian Chief. In 1880s, early settlers sought a need for and established a municipal government under the leadership of Sam Watson. With the improvement of the railroad, businesses sprang up rapidly at the turn of the century. The first Mr. Wright’s store, built in 1899, and the first bank, built in 1907, was reflective of this new growth.[5]

Following the flood of 1927, an emerging class of businessmen lobbied for an improved drainage system for the eastern part of the state including Poinsett County. The administration that had formed Drainage District Seven had gone bankrupt as a result of the Depression, and could not provide funds for the improvements. So, the businessmen lobbied congress for government funding. The Federal Government sponsored the St. Francis Levee Project which would improve the drainage system throughout the area.[6]

In addition to the levee projects, the federal government aided with improvements for the municipal governments. In 1929, Tyronza built an artesian well, which was the first source of water for the town. In 1930, a curb was constructed around the well with shrubbery.[7] In 1934, the Public Works Administration provided a $7, 190 grant and a $19,000 loan for the construction of a water tower.[8] Construction on the water tower began in 1935 and was completed in that same year.

The Tyronza Water Tower stands prominently in downtown Tyronza off Main Street. The historic water tower stands behind a new water tower, but is still used as a source of water for the town. It is reminder of the improvements and progress made in Tyronza during the 1930s.



[1] The Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Northeastern Arkansas ( Nashville: The Goodspeed Publishing Co., 1889) 570.

[2] Poinsett County Arkansas History and Families ( Paducah, KT: Turner Publishing Col, 1998) 11.

[3] The Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Northeastern Arkansas, 574.

[4] Poinsett County Arkansas History and Families, 12.

[5] Ibid., 91.

[6] Jeannie Whayne, Reshaping the Rural South: Land, Labor and Federal Policy in Poinsett County, Arkansas, 1900-194 ( San Diego, CA: University of San Diego Press, 1989) 305.

[7] Poinsett County, Arkansas History and Families, 92.

[8] Information on PWA found in the AHPP files.

SIGNIFICANCE

The Tyronza Water Tower in Tyronza, Poinsett County, Arkansas is being nominated to the National Register of Historic Places under Criterion A for its association to the Public Works Administration activities in the 1930s. It is also being nominated to the National Register of Historic Places under Criterion C for its excellent representation of the 1930s waterworks construction. The Tyronza Water Tower is being nominated under the multiple property listing “An Ambition to Be Preferred: New Deal Recovery Efforts and Architecture in Arkansas, 1933-1943.”

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Information on PWA found in the AHPP files

Poinsett County Arkansas History and Families. Paducah, KY: Turner Publishing Col., 1998.

The Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Northeastern Arkansas. Nashville: The Goodspeed Publishing Co., 1889.

Whayne, Jeannie. Reshaping the Rural South: Land, Labor and Federal Policy in Poinsett County, Arkansas, 1900-194. San Diego, CA: University of San Diego Press, 1989.