Calico Rock Home Economics Building
The Calico Rock Home Economics Building, located on Second Street in Calico Rock (Izard County), was built in 1940–1941 with assistance from the National Youth Administration (NYA), a Depression-era federal relief agency. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on September 10, 1992.
Students in the White River town of Calico Rock were being served by a two-story school building erected in 1921 and a later gymnasium when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal created opportunities for an additional building. The school district turned to the NYA, which provided employment opportunities for young people, to build a home economics building on the school campus.
Though the NYA approved the project around 1938, construction was delayed. The Calico Rock Progress reported in early April 1940 that “work is expected to begin within a few days” but, eight months later, stated that “unforeseen delays appeared to delay construction until now.” However, the newspaper reported on December 20 that “a building to house the Home Economics department of Calico Rock seems assured, as work on the structure got underway this week.” Local contractor Charles Walker was in charge of construction.
Lillian Johnston, a student journalist for the Progress’s “Pirate’s Prattle” section, wrote in late January 1941 that “the design of the building, which will be a flint stone veneer, is one of the most modern for small Home Economics cottages. It will contain a living room, a work room, and kitchenette.” Work apparently continued into the following winter when a “Pirate’s Prattle” article noted that “we hope to be in the new building soon.”
The completed building, which the National Register nomination described as “a representative example of a small stone school building constructed for a rural school district,” is a rectangular, one-story structure covered in stone hand-cut by NYA workers from a quarry about a quarter mile from the school building. Though largely unornamented, the home economics building was well lit by banks of windows. It continues to serve the Calico Rock School District in the twenty-first century.
For additional information:
“Begin Work on New Home Ec. Building.” Calico Rock Progress, December 20, 1940, p. 1.
“Home Economics News.” Calico Rock Progress, November 7, 1941, p. 4.
“New Home Ec. Cottage.” Calico Rock Progress, January 24, 1941, p. 6.
Story, Kenneth. “Calico Rock Home Economics Building.” National Register of Historic Places registration form. On file at Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, Little Rock, Arkansas. Online at http://www.arkansaspreservation.com/National-Register-Listings/PDF/IZ0070.nr.pdf (accessed November 21, 2019).
“Work to Start on New Home Ec. Bldg.” Calico Rock Progress,” April 5, 1940, p. 1.
Mark K. Christ
Central Arkansas Library System
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