Arkansas Historic Preservation Program
Bradford City Hall/Byers Masonic Lodge
Bradford City Hall/Byers Masonic Lodge
Historic photograph of the Bradford City Hall/Byers Masonic Lodge
Historic photograph of the Bradford City Hall/Byers Masonic Lodge

BRADFORD CITY HALL/BYERS MASONIC LODGE, BRADFORD, WHITE COUNTY

SUMMARY

The Bradford City Hall , located at
302 West Walnut Street
in downtown Bradford , Arkansas , is being nominated to the National Register of Historic Places under Criterion C with local significance as the most significant Craftsman-style municipal building remaining in Bradford .

 

ELABORATION

The community of Bradford came into existence because of the construction of a section of the Cairo and Fulton Railroad between Little Rock and Newport in the mid-1800s.  In 1871 the Bradford Allen Station was built seventeen miles southwest of Newport .  Because of its location on the rail line, Bradford became a major shipping hub for locally grown or harvested produce (such as strawberries, grapes, cotton, and pecans), timber, and freshwater mussel shells harvested from the White River .  In 1875 the general charter for the municipal corporation of the town of Bradford was approved, and, in 1894 Bradford was officially incorporated.

 

 

Byers Masonic Lodge was officially chartered on November 9, 1854 , and located in the community of Grand Glaise.  The Lodge met in the upper floor of the Cox, Byers & Co. Building until 1879 when most of Grand Glaise was destroyed by fire.  In 1879, Byers Masonic Lodge, in partnership with the local Baptist church, built a building in Bradford to be shared by both groups.  Shortly thereafter, the church sold its interest in the building to the school district, which occupied the lower floor until 1899.  That year the school district sold its interest in the building to the Methodist church.  In 1904, the Lodge and Methodist church jointly built a new building.  Following World War II, the church sold its interest in the building to the American Legion.  On March 29, 1930 , the Lodge/Legion building was destroyed by fire.

 

 

In 1934, Byers Masonic Lodge and the City of Bradford joined forces to construct the present building known as the Bradford City Hall .  The joint effort cost a total of $1,574.00.  City offices occupied the lower floor and the Lodge met in the upper floor.  In 1960 Byers Masonic Lodge built a new building, leaving the City the entire building.  In 1995, the city hall offices moved into a new building, retaining ownership of the old Bradford City Hall building and allowing it to be used as a public meeting space for the local Boy Scouts chapter and other organizations.

 

 

The Bradford City Hall is being nominated to the National Register of Historic Places under Criterion C with local significance as the most significant Craftsman-style municipal building remaining in the community of Bradford .

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Hickmon, Marshall, P.M. History of Byers Lodge #81.

 

 

First Hundred Years of Bradford , Arkansas , Published by Dugger Printing, 1934, Bradford History Book Committee

 

 

Minutes from Bradford City Council Meetings, February 5, 1934 , and August 7, 1934 .

 

 

Minutes from Byers Masonic Lodge Meetings, July 30, 1934 , September 5,10, 1934, October 10, 19, 1934.

 

 

Interview with Helen Nelson, 1999.

 

 

Interview with Frank Sanford, 1999.

 

 

Interview with Dorothy Hickmon, 1999.

 

 

Interview with Linda VanWinkle, 1999.