Magnolia Manor is a historic home located in Arkadelphia (Clark County). Constructed by John B. McDaniel between 1854 and 1857, the house contains both Greek Revival and Italianate design elements. When the house was constructed, it was several miles from Arkadelphia, but the city grew to encompass the home. The name of the home comes from the massive magnolia tree in the yard that was planted by McDaniel shortly after the home was constructed. The house was added to the National Register of Historic Places on September 27, 1972.
John B. McDaniel was born on May 5, 1811, in Marlboro County, South Carolina. He married Mary Ann Thomas on June 14, 1836, and the couple eventually had five children. McDaniel owned a plantation in South Carolina but sold it in 1850 to move to Arkansas. Purchasing eighty acres in Clark County, McDaniel began construction on the house in 1854. By 1860, the family owned at least 320 acres.
Madison Griffin, a mason from South Carolina, supervised construction of the house. A group of slaves owned by McDaniel completed the construction of the house. The bricks used in the construction were made on site, and the lumber was from nearby trees.
The foundation of the house is brick, and the walls are wood-frame construction. Wooden siding covers the house, typical of the Greek Revival style. The exterior of the house is white. Other Greek Revival characteristics include the corner boards, the entrance architraves, the flanking pilasters, and the window surrounds. The roof of the two-story home has an overhang of two feet and is supported by scrollwork brackets. The front entrance faces the east and has a porch with a deck on the second level. A less grand west entrance is opposite of the front entrance, and the two entryways are connected by a central hallway. The house has three chimneys, which have been stuccoed. Each chimney is connected to two fireplaces for a total of six. The parlor, dining room, modern-day den, and three bedrooms each have a fireplace.
Mary Ann McDaniel died in 1883, and John B. McDaniel died in 1889; both are buried in Rose Hill Cemetery in Arkadelphia. They had sold the house in 1877 to Annie Hoskins, and she lived in the house with her husband, T. C., until they sold it to John R. McDaniel (son of the original owner) and Kate McDaniel in 1906. Their daughter Anne Stark McDaniel lived in the house with her husband, Benjamin Foster, a professor at Henderson-Brown College. After his wife’s death, John R. McDaniel lived with his daughter and son-in-law until his death in 1918, and they inherited the house.
In 1929, state Senator Fletcher McElhannon and his wife, May, purchased the home from the children of the Fosters, and they restored it between 1932 and 1933. As part of the restoration effort, a garage with a bedroom above and a new porch were added to the house. Another porch was enclosed at this time, and two bathrooms were added. After May McElhannon’s death, the home was purchased by state Senator Olen Hendrix, who helped restore the home again and removed the twentieth-century additions. Other owners of the home have included Jane Ross, the Ross Foundation, Henderson State University, and Park Hill Baptist Church. It is currently a private home.
For additional information:
“Magnolia Manor.” National Register of Historic Places nomination form, 1972. On file at Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, Little Rock, Arkansas. Online at http://www.arkansaspreservation.com/National-Register-Listings/PDF/CL0721.nr.pdf (accessed July 20, 2017).
Richter, Wendy, et al. Clark County Arkansas: Past and Present. Arkadelphia, AR: Clark County Historical Association, 1992.
Henderson State University
Last Updated: 03/02/2020