Dr. T. E. Buffington House

The home of Dr. T. E. Buffington is located at 312 West South Street in Benton (Saline County), just west of the Benton Commercial Historic District. It was built specifically for Buffington in 1928. His house was designed in the English-Tudor Revival style but with some 1920s Craftsman influences throughout. Its historical significance lies with Buffington himself, an influential figure in the history both of Benton and of Lonsdale (Garland County).

Turner Ellis (T. E.) Buffington was born on May 5, 1879, in Benton to William Ellis Buffington and Mary Marceline Miller Buffington. William and Mary moved to Saline County from Georgia in the early 1870s. Buffington was educated in Benton’s rural schools and at the medical school that became the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, before passing the state medical board examination in 1903. That year, he was named physician for the Perry Smith Bauxite Mining Company in Bauxite (Saline County). Reportedly, Buffington also studied medicine with Dr. John Wyatt Walton and Dr. D. N. Fisher.

In 1904, Buffington married Marjorie Bennett. In 1906, the couple moved to Lonsdale.

Buffington worked closely with John G. Lonsdale Sr. to incorporate the town of Lonsdale. After the incorporation on May 10, 1913, Buffington became the town’s first mayor, serving until 1926. While in Lonsdale, Buffington’s wife taught at the local school. After returning to Benton, Buffington had a one-and-a half-story home built on West South Street in 1928. From 1951 to 1952, Buffington served as mayor of Benton. In 1954, Buffington’s wife died a few months after their fiftieth anniversary. In 1957, he married Grace H. Henry, who had been his assistant for fourteen years. They had one son, Carrol B. Buffington, who became an orthopedic surgeon in Wheeling, West Virginia.

During his sixty-two-year career, Buffington reportedly delivered more than 6,000 babies—dubbed “Buffington Babies” by the Benton Courier. He held gatherings at his home on his birthday for members of his extensive “baby crop.”

Buffington died at his home on November 26, 1965. He is buried at Pinecrest Memorial Park in present-day Bryant (Saline County).

The Buffington House’s front façade faces north. It has a recessed front porch on the home’s northeast corner accented by a large archway. Within the archway are four columns that support a concrete sill and two half columns on each end. The home has two entrances, one on the inner south wall and one along the west wall. The front features a pair of Carpenter-inspired nine-over-one single-hung windows, and an English-inspired chimney adorns the roof. To the right of the chimney is another set of Carpenter-inspired windows. There are two hipped dormers with one located at either end of the house. The dormers have six-by-six doors that swing out from the house. In the center of the second story is a large gable with a Palladian window. There is a staircase on the south elevation that leads from the crawlspace to ground level, and there are more Carpenter-inspired windows. The house also has a two-bay garage. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 1, 2014.

For additional information:
“Benton Physician and Ex-Mayor Dies. Arkansas Gazette, November 27, 1965, p. 7B.

“Dr. Buffington Dead; Practiced until End.” Benton Courier, December 2, 1965, p. 1.

“Dr. T. E. Buffington Has Been Practicing Medicine Thirty Years; Is a Native.” Benton Courier-Centennial Number, March 25, 1937, p. 76.

Muncy, Violet B. “Saline County Doctor Has a Record ‘Baby Crop.’” Arkansas Gazette, June 3, 1962, p. 5E.

Ratermann, Travis. “Dr. T. E. Buffington House.” 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/SA0120.nr.pdf (accessed February 13, 2018).

Cody Lynn Berry
Benton, Arkansas


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