Arkansas Historic Preservation Program
Gann House
Gann House

GANN HOUSE, BENTON, SALINE COUNTY

ELABORATION

The Gann House sits on a corner lot adjacent to the Gann Building on South Market Street in Benton, Arkansas.  The significance of this house lies not only in its architecture but in the people who lived there as well.  The Gann family was prominent in Saline County for many years and Dr. Gann, Jr. was nationally known for some of his scientific contributions.

Dr. Dewell Gann, Sr. was born March 31, 1863, in Atlanta, Georgia, the son of Edwin and Frances Gann.  After graduating from Southern Medical College in Atlanta in 1886, Gann moved to Arkansas to establish his practice.

In 1889, after moving to Benton, Gann married Martha Harding Whithorne, daughter of Colonel Sam Houston Whithorne, a Benton lawyer and investor.  There Dr. Gann became a surgeon for the Missouri-Pacific, Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroads, and for various industries in the area, in addition to having a regular practice.

Prior to her marriage Mrs. Gann assisted her father in publishing his newspaper, The Saline Courier.  After marrying she assisted her husband in his practice.  Mrs. Gann was one of twelve women in Arkansas selected to represent the state at the inauguration of President Roosevelt in 1932.

Dr. Dewell Gann, Jr. was born to Martha Whithorne Gann and Dewell Gann on September 14, 1890.  Dr. Gann, Jr. attended Indiana University and received a Master of Science degree from this institution in 1914.  In 1919 he received a Doctor of Science degree from Little Rock College.  Dr. Gann, Jr. introduced the therapeutic use of radium into Arkansas in 1916.  He was appointed Chief of Staff of St. Vincent Infirmary in 1922 and was responsible for the Gann Resuscitator which was purchased by the United States Government in large quantities in 1940.

Architecturally, the Gann House is one of the most outstanding structures remaining in Benton.  This two-storey frame house is built in the Queen Anne style.  The one-storey porch supported by round, fluted, wooden columns extends around the north end of the facade in keeping with the contour of the house.  Thee separate oak doors open onto the porch from the entry hall, parlor and office.  Ornate stained and leaded glass decorates the upper portion of the windows to the front of the house.  A two-storey round turret sits on the northwestern corner of the facade.  Set in the gable of the front bay is a large letter “G” after the name of the family who owned the house.

The present owner is in the process of doing extensive restoration work on the house.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Arkansas Democrat, Little Rock, Arkansas.  September 29, 1940, Section A, Page 11.

Arkansas Democrat, Little Rock, Arkansas.  September 25, 1945.

Arkansas Gazette, Little Rock, Arkansas.  December 20, 1936, Page 16.

Benton Courier.  September 27, 1945.

Centennial History of Arkansas.  Little Rock:  S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1922.

Demuth, David.  Personal interview in Benton, Arkansas, August 20, 1975.