Fordyce Commercial Historic District

The Fordyce Commercial Historic District includes the core of downtown of Fordyce (Dallas County). Centered on Main Street, the district included sixty-one resources at the time of its addition to the National Register of Historic Places on May 20, 2008. Thirty of the resources contributed to the district, with six additional sites being empty lots. The boundaries of the district are roughly Fifth Street to the north, Oak Street to the west, Spring Street to the east, and the railroad tracks south of First Street.

Incorporated in 1884, Fordyce served as a stop on the Texas and St. Louis Railway, later named the St. Louis, Arkansas and Texas, but commonly known as the Cotton Belt. Named for Samuel Wesley Fordyce, the town quickly grew and replaced Princeton (Dallas County) as the county seat in 1908.

Included in the district are several buildings that are individually listed on the National Register, including Home Accident Insurance Building at 300–302 Main Street designed by Charles Thompson and constructed in 1908. The Nutt-Trussell Building, located at 202 North Main and the oldest building in the district, held a variety of businesses and social organizations over the decades and later began serving as part of the Dallas County Museum. Other properties individually listed include the 1928 Marathon Service Station at 121 East Second Street, the 1925 train depot, and a 1922 steam locomotive located nearby. The separately listed Dallas County Courthouse is just outside the boundaries of the district.

The former post office located at 220 North Main Street serves as the Dallas County Emergency Management offices. Constructed in 1917, the square brick building is designed in a late Victorian Renaissance style. Facing west, the flat-roofed building appears much as it did when constructed, with the exception of an expanded entryway on the front.

The Benton Building #2, located at 100–108 West Fourth Street, contains five storefronts. Constructed in 1945, the Colonial Revival–style building is best known for serving as the home of the  award-winning Klappenbach Bakery until the business closed in 2011.

Constructed around 1895, the building at 106 North Main originally served as a mercantile store. The rectangular brick building rests on brick piers and housed a barbershop at the time of the nomination. The building is notable for the rings etched into the front sidewalk by leaking barrels of pickles.

Directly across the street is a former pool hall constructed around 1900. The two-story brick building includes a flat roof with a parapet with a crest in the center. Located at 201 North Main, Benton Hardware is a rectangular brick building constructed around 1900. In the 1920s, the building served as the Lyric Movie Theater. Rex’s Liquor Store, located at 113 East Second Street, is a single-story brick building constructed in 1925 and occupied by the business since the 1970s. Topped with a flat roof and fronted by a two plate glass windows and a centrally located door, the building is a good example of late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century commercial architecture.

The district exhibits the historic business growth of downtown Fordyce as the city developed and continues to house many active businesses in the twenty-first century.

For additional information:
“Dallas County Courthouse.” National Register of Historic Places nomination form. On file at Arkansas Historic Preservation Office, Little Rock, Arkansas. Online at http://www.arkansaspreservation.com/National-Register-Listings/PDF/DA0058.nr.pdf (accessed October 15, 2020).

“Fordyce Commercial Historic District.” National Register of Historic Places nomination form. On file at Arkansas Historic Preservation Office, Little Rock, Arkansas. Online at http://www.arkansaspreservation.com/National-Register-Listings/PDF/DA0251.nr.pdf (accessed October 15, 2020).

“Fordyce Home Accident Insurance Company.” National Register of Historic Places nomination form. On file at Arkansas Historic Preservation Office, Little Rock, Arkansas. Online at http://www.arkansaspreservation.com/National-Register-Listings/PDF/DA0074.nr.pdf (accessed October 15, 2020).

“Nutt-Trussell Building.” National Register of Historic Places nomination form. On file at Arkansas Historic Preservation Office, Little Rock, Arkansas. Online at http://www.arkansaspreservation.com/National-Register-Listings/PDF/DA0189.nr.pdf (accessed October 15, 2020).

“Tennessee, Alabama & Georgia Railway Steam Locomotive No. 101.” National Register of Historic Places nomination form. On file at Arkansas Historic Preservation Office, Little Rock, Arkansas. Online at http://www.arkansaspreservation.com/National-Register-Listings/PDF/DA0207.nr.pdf (accessed October 15, 2020).

David Sesser
Henderson State University

Last Updated: 10/15/2020