Du Bocage

aka: Judge J. W. Bocage Home

Du Bocage (French for “of the Bocage”), also known as the Judge J. W. Bocage Home, at 1115 West 4th Street in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) is a well-preserved example of late Greek Revival architecture in Arkansas. Completed in 1866, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.

Joseph William Bocage, born on the island of St. Lucia in 1819, was raised and educated in North Carolina and came to Chicot County, Arkansas, around 1836, intent on training to become a doctor. This proved to be unsuitable, and he moved to Pine Bluff to read law with James Yell, nephew of Governor Archibald Yell. At the time, there were only eight houses in the city. He also became a planter, a lieutenant colonel in the Confederate army, and a successful businessman. Bocage died in 1898.

The floor plan of the original portion of Du Bocage consisted of five rooms about a central entrance hall housing a circular stair. The second floor has two bedrooms flanking the central hall and stairwell. Elements of the Greek Revival style are the pedimented two-story entrance portico supported by four square and tapered columns with molded capitals and square plinths. A balcony extends across the entire south front façade and is supported on columns composed of four vertical, square members separated by blocking at mid-height to create a light open effect.

The main roof is of high-pitched gable construction with boxed cornice and frieze. The gable ends have boxed cornices and returns, and the gable ends and portico pediment are pierced with triangular capped louvered vents. The main windows are double-hung sashes, and the main entrance door is within an architrave with side lights and a transom. The second-floor entry from the balcony is nearly identical with the first. The two main chimneys, offset to each side, are inside end and straddle the ridge. The brick laid running terminate in caps.

The house remained in Bocage’s family until September 1966, when Bocage’s granddaughter, Mrs. H. A. “Kitty” Knorr, deeded the house to the Pine Bluff Optimist Club. The Optimist Club renovated the house over the next three years, opening it to the public on June 1, 1969. The house was added to the National Register of Historic Places on June 24, 1974.

For additional information:
“Bocage House.” National Register of Historic Places Registration form, 1974. On file at the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, Little Rock, Arkansas. Online at http://www.arkansaspreservation.com/National-Register-Listings/PDF/JE0351.nr.pdf
(accessed May 20, 2015).

Leslie, James W. Pine Bluff and Jefferson County: A Pictorial History. Virginia Beach, VA: The Donning Company, 1981.

Bill Norman
Little Rock, Arkansas

Staff of the CALS Encyclopedia of Arkansas

Last Updated: 05/20/2015