Angus McLeod House

The Angus McLeod House, once located at 912 North 13th Street in Fort Smith (Sebastian County), was built in 1905 and consisted of three stories with a full basement. Designed in the Neoclassical style, the dwelling was constructed of pink bricks ordered specially from New Orleans, Louisiana. McLeod employed many such imported materials in the construction of the dwelling, which was featured in the 1982 movie The Blue and the Gray. The Angus McLeod House was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on December 8, 1978, but it was destroyed by fire in 2010 and removed from the register in 2018.

Rusticated hewn-stone and masonry blocks extended the width of the house and wrapped around the south end to form a semi-oval portico over the wide front entrance. Four two-story Corinthian columns supported the portico. The heavy double doors of the entrance had insets of leaded glass. The foyer opened into a double parlor, delineated by oak columns. From the north parlor, a wide stairway led up to the second floor. The first landing widened to form a large bay, which featured built-in seats around the bay contour, beneath six windows. The smaller north parlor could have been used as a sitting room, with the larger parlor used on more formal occasions. The north parlor featured a blue-tiled fireplace, bordered in carved oak. A small, unusual cupboard with two glass doors was built over the fireplace. Heavy dark crossed beams decorated the ceiling of the double parlor and the large dining room. The original brass chandelier, lit by gas jets, remained over the banquet-sized table in the dining room for the life of the house.

The Angus McLeod House and its grounds sat on two large lots first owned by Jeremiah Kannady, who purchased the land from the government in 1837. In 1841, Kannady sold the land to his uncle, John Rogers, founder of the city of Fort Smith. The property passed through the hands of several of Fort Smith’s leading citizens throughout the nineteenth century.

In 1904, these lots were purchased by Angus and Elizabeth McLeod. Angus McLeod was the owner of the Fort Smith Contracting Company, which supplied railroad ties for the Fort Smith and Western Railroad and the Midland Valley Company. McLeod started constructing the house that same year, but it was not finished until 1905. Dire financial straits forced him to sell the house in 1914 to the Wolf-Pollock family for $102,500. Although this was an extravagant sum for a house in those days, over $2.5 million in 2019, it is unlikely that McLeod even recovered the initial cost of the construction and imported materials.

The Wolf-Pollock family, who owned the largest department stores in Fort Smith for many years, owned the Angus McLeod House until 1958, when they sold their business and downsized to a smaller home. It was then sold to Virginia Rush, widow of Paul Rush, a Fort Smith businessman who held stock in several Fort Smith companies at the time of his death. It subsequently had several more owners, with the last being the family of Daniel Hearne.

In the early morning of July 7, 2010, the historic Angus McLeod House was destroyed by fire. This was a tremendous loss to Fort Smith, as the house had long been considered a showplace of exceptional architecture and a testament to skilled craftsmanship.

For additional information:
“Angus McLeod House.” National Register for Historic Places registration form. Previously on file at Arkansas Historic Preservation Office, Little Rock, Arkansas. Archived from original online at https://web.archive.org/web/20150403192322/http://www.arkansaspreservation.com/%21userfiles/SB0233.nr.pdf (accessed December 20, 2019).

“Historical Home Lost In Blaze.” Journal of the Fort Smith Historical Society 34 (September 2010): 3.

Kenneth Angell
Henderson State University

Last Updated: 12/20/2019