Mulberry Home Economics Building
The Mulberry Home Economics Building, located on Church Avenue in Mulberry (Crawford County), was built between 1937 and 1939 with assistance from the National Youth Administration (NYA), a Depression-era federal relief agency. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on September 10, 1992.
Mulberry Campground housed one of the first schools in Crawford County in the late 1820s, and a formal school was established in the town of Mulberry in 1878, two years before the community incorporated. In 1931, Mulberry Public Schools consolidated with the Vine Prairie and Pleasant Hill school districts as part of a wave of 591 consolidations around the state, and a $45,000 brick school building was built shortly afterward.
In 1937, the school district decided to seek assistance from the National Youth Administration for construction of two new structures for the campus, including a home economics building. The proposal was accepted and J. R. Bly was named as construction supervisor. Some seventy young people were employed on the two-year project, which included building with native-stone rocks quarried at Graphic (Crawford County).
The resulting building was a sturdy, rectangular, fieldstone-clad structure distinguished by a gable-roofed arched entryway and Craftsman-style details. It was dedicated on September 19, 1939, with Senator John E. Miller giving the main address after being introduced by state NYA director J. W. Hull. The band for what later became Arkansas Tech University provided music for the event.
In 2004, the Mulberry and Pleasant View (Franklin County) districts were consolidated to form the Mulberry/Pleasant View Bi-County School District. School officials received a $61,000 grant from the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program in 2009 to rehabilitate the Mulberry Home Economics Building to serve as headquarters for the district, a function it still serves in the twenty-first century.
For additional information:
Eno, Clara B. History of Crawford County, Arkansas. Van Buren, AR: Press Argus, 1950.
“New Buildings to Be Dedicated.” Press-Argus, September 15, 1939, p. 1.
Story, Kenneth. “Mulberry Home Economics Building.” 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/CW0161.nr.pdf (accessed September 24, 2019).
Mark K. Christ
Central Arkansas Library System
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