Arkansas Historic Preservation Program
J. W. & Ann Lowe Clary House
J. W. & Ann Lowe Clary House

J. W. & ANN LOWE CLARY HOUSE, BENTON, SALINE COUNTY

SUMMARY

The Clary House in Benton is being nominated under Criterion C with local significance as an excellent example of a Tudor Revival-style residence with some residual Craftsman influence.

ELABORATION

The Clary House is located at 305 North East Street in Benton, the county seat of the County.  Although it was not the first town laid out in the county, by 1834 a mercantile store was started at the present site of Benton and in 1836 a post office was established.  Later in the same year, Benton was chosen as the county seat, and the site was subdivided and lots sold on an installment plan.  The town was first incorporated in 1839, though the present incorporation dates from 1848.

At the time the Clary House was constructed c.1926, Benton boasted a population of 2,933 (1920 census) and was a railroad center of considerable importance for the Chicago, Rock Island, & Pacific Railroad and three branches of the Missouri Pacific.  The town contained three banks, municipal waterworks, a sewer system, electrical facilities, two flour mills, two large potteries (of which the Niloak Pottery Plant was nationally renowned), two furniture manufacturing plants, two weekly newspapers, a thriving downtown, and a modern public school system.

In 1926, J. W. Clary and his wife, Ann Lowe Clary, purchased the south half of Lot 3 of Block 22 in two separate transactions on May 7 and October 18 of 1926.  On October 29, 1926, the Clarys mortgaged the property for $6,000, which was presumably used to construct a house thereon.  After the death of Mrs. Clary in 1929, the house was sold to Pearl Henry in November of that year.  The home is currently owned by Tom and Amanda Haley, who are in the process of restoring the house.

The Clary House was constructed during a time of architectural transition in Arkansas.  In 1926, the Craftsman style was still a popular architectural style, especially in restrained, vernacular form (which would continue to be built in rural Arkansas through World War II).  The Clary House does reflect many Craftsman features of which the porte cochere, the sleeping porches, and the exposed rafters are the most recognizable.  In overall appearance and ornamentation, however, the house is better classified as of the Tudor Revival style of architecture, a fashionable period revival style that had recently been introduced in the new suburbs of the larger towns and cities in the state.  Significant Tudor Revival detail includes stuccoed gable ends with false half-timbering, casement windows, a steeply-pitched roof, decorative shutters and window box, and a heavy wood door with exposed metal hinges.  As such, the Clary House is an excellent example of a transitional Craftsman/Tudor Revival-styled residence and is being nominated under Criterion C with local significance.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Benton Courier, Centennial Number, March 25, 1937 (reprint).

Herndon, Dallas T.  Centennial History of Arkansas.  Chicago-Little Rock:  The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1922.  Vols. I, II.

Information supplied by Tom Haley, May 1992.

Information supplied by Doyle Webb, January 1993.

The Goodspeed Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Central Arkansas.  Chicago, Nashville, and St. Louis:  The Godspeed Publishing Co., 1889.

Workers of the Writers' Program.  The WPA Guide to 1930's Arkansas, with a new introduction by Elliot West.  Lawrence, Kansas:  University Press of Kansas, 1987 (original copyright 1941).