Liberty School Cafeteria
The Liberty School Cafeteria, located on Highway 36 in Hamlet (Faulkner County), is a single-story, novelty-sided building erected in 1928 to serve as a school building for the Liberty Special School District. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on September 10, 1992.
School consolidation in Faulkner County in 1927 combined the Sunny Gap, Jeffries, Hamlet, Friendship, and Saltillo districts to form the Liberty School District in what is today the community of Hamlet. A new school was built in 1928 to provide classrooms for grades 1–9. While the National Register nomination says the building was erected in 1935 by the Works Progress Administration (WPA), a Depression-era federal relief program, the wood-frame building listed on the National Register is actually the original 1928 structure. The school building housed classes until the mid-1940s, when it was repurposed to serve as the campus’s cafeteria, according to the National Register nomination.
Other buildings on the Liberty Special School District campus included a home economics building, a Smith-Hughes building, and a gymnasium. The gym was erected in 1938 with assistance from the WPA, and the others may also have been WPA projects.
The Liberty School Cafeteria served the district for the remainder of its existence. In 1951, the district’s high school students were sent to school in Vilonia (Faulkner County), and Liberty’s remaining students began attending in the Vilonia School District in 1963. In later years, the old cafeteria was used to house a flea market.
For additional information:
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 June 11, 2020).
Faulkner County Historical Society. Faulkner County: Its Land and People. Conway, AR: Faulkner County Historical Society, 1986.
Goss, Joe, cont. “Liberty Special School.” Faulkner Facts and Fiddlings 47 (Winter–Spring 2006): 24–28.
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 June 11, 2020).
“Liberty School Cafeteria.” 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/FA0863.nr.pdf (accessed June 11, 2020).
Petrucelli, Fred. “Faulkner Buildings Steeped in Historical Significance.” Faulkner Facts and Fiddlings 33 (Spring–Summer 1991): 29–34.
Mark K. Christ
Central Arkansas Library System
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