Caraway Hall (Arkansas Tech University)

Caraway Hall, located at 1403 North Arkansas Avenue on the Arkansas Tech University campus in Russellville (Pope County), is a three-story brick building designed in the Colonial Revival style of architecture and constructed in 1934–1935 with assistance from the Public Works Administration (PWA), a Depression-era federal relief program. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on September 10, 1992.

Arkansas Polytechnic College (which later became Arkansas Tech University) had seventeen major buildings, including several dormitories that the U.S. Office of Education deemed “unfit for human habitation” at the time Joseph W. Hull became the college’s eighth president in January 1932 and embarked on a major building campaign. In early 1934, the college received funding from the PWA—a $35,000 grant and $100,000 loan—to build a new women’s dormitory, a power plant, a grandstand at the athletic field, and a president’s home, and to convert one women’s dormitory into a home economics building (which would become the Girls’ Domestic Science and Arts Building) and another into a faculty apartment building.

Little Rock (Pulaski County) architect A. N. McAninch was hired to design the new women’s dormitory, and he chose the Colonial Revival style, which the 1992 National Register nomination says is reflected in its “absolutely symmetrical composition of the front façade and the semi-circular, columned Classical central entrance portico—including its four Doric columns—that dominate the composition.” Construction of the H-shaped building began in the summer of 1934, with the Arkansas Gazette reporting that the new women’s dormitory had priority over the remodeling of the two older dorms. The $87,000, fifty-room dormitory was open for business in March 1935.

The Arkansas Polytechnic College board of trustees decided to name the new building in honor of Senator Thaddeus Caraway, whose strong support helped establish Arkansas’s four agricultural colleges. His widow, and the successor to his Senate seat, Hattie Caraway spoke at Caraway Hall’s dedication on October 18, 1935, saying that “this building will be a means of fostering noble ideals, of creating interest in government and of providing the unselfishness and loyalty of Arkansans to the cause of education.” Attorney General Carl Bailey also spoke at the dedication, which was followed by a football game in which Tech defeated Magnolia A&M (which later became Southern Arkansas University) by a score of 41–0.

Caraway Hall serves as a sorority dormitory in the twenty-first century.

For additional information:
“Arkansas College PWA Loans O.K.’D.” Arkansas Gazette, March 11, 1934, p. 12.

Baker, William D. Public Schools in the Ozarks, 1920–1940. Little Rock: Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, 1990. Online at http://www.arkansaspreservation.com/News-and-Events/publications (accessed September 3, 2020).

DeBlack, Thomas A. A Century Forward: The Centennial History of Arkansas Tech University. Madeline, MO: Walsworth Publishing Co., 2016.

Hope, Holly. An Ambition to be Preferred: New Deal Recovery Efforts and Architecture in Arkansas, 1933–1943. Little Rock: Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, 2006. Online at http://www.arkansaspreservation.com/News-and-Events/publications (accessed September 3, 2020).

“Mrs. Caraway in Dad’s Day Talk at Russellville.” Arkansas Gazette, October 19, 1935, p. 1.

Silva, Rachel. “Arkansas Listings in the National Register of Historic Places: One Hundred Years of Arkansas Tech University.” Arkansas Historical Quarterly 68 (Winter 2009): 442–450.

Story, Kenneth. “Caraway Hall—Arkansas Tech University.” 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/PP0054.nr.pdf (accessed September 3, 2020).

Walker, Kenneth R. History of Arkansas Tech University 1909-1990. Russellville: Arkansas Tech University, 1992.

“Work on New Tech Buildings to Start in 10 Days.” Arkansas Gazette, July 22, 1934, p. 2.

Mark K. Christ
Central Arkansas Library System

Last Updated: 09/03/2020