Nashville Commercial Historic District

The Nashville Commercial Historic District is located in Nashville (Howard County) and includes a total of fifty-five buildings, with twenty-nine contributing to the district. Almost all of the buildings in the district are commercial buildings, with the sole exception of the U.S. Post Office, which is separately listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The district was added to the National Register on September 23, 2010.

The boundaries of the district are roughly Shepherd Street on the north, the Missouri Pacific Railroad to the east, Hempstead Street to the south, and Second Street to the west. Three blocks of Main Street are included in the district.

Nashville was incorporated in 1883, the same year that the Arkansas and Louisiana Railroad began constructing a line to Nashville from Washington (Hempstead County). The town grew quickly due to its location on the rail line and the rapidly developing agricultural industry in the area.

None of the earliest commercial buildings in the area survive due to numerous fires. In 1898, the town council passed an ordinance banning the construction of wooden buildings, helping alleviate the potential for fire. The oldest buildings in the district are three constructed around 1895. Located at 203 North Main Street, the Rector Drug Store is a single-story building with a brick façade and stucco side walls. It is notable for the Romanesque Revival influence seen in the arches of varying sizes located on the front of the building. The building at 121 North Main Street, constructed around the same year, includes decorative brickwork and a double store front added in the 1940s. The final building in the district constructed in this period is a warehouse located behind 117 North Main Street. The two-story building is also constructed of brick and retains the original barred windows.

A number of buildings in the district were constructed between 1900 and 1908. The buildings located at 115 and 113 South Main Street include an upper brick façade with three panels, each including a ventilator. It is topped with a corbelled brick cornice. The structure at 103 South Main Street is a wide building with two storefronts with layered brickwork and a centrally located corbelled brick feature. The building at 110 North Main Street was constructed in the same period and includes a detailed brick façade featuring diamond patterns and roundels. Decorative cast-iron columns are present on the store front.

Later buildings in the district include 101 South Main Street. The façade facing Main Street is constructed with red brick, while the side on East Howard Street is faced with a lighter brick with a decorative band at the top. It includes entries on both streets. The building at 100 North Main Street is the former location of the First National Motor Bank. The Mid-Modern–style building was constructed around 1955 and includes a drive-through and a flat roof with gold trim.

Seventeen of the twenty-nine contributing buildings in the district were constructed between 1895 and 1919. An economic slowdown beginning in the 1920s slowed construction, and the preservation of these buildings became more important. With these structures, the district continues to convey the importance of commerce to Nashville and the surrounding areas in the twenty-first century.

For additional information:
Howard County Heritage Club. Howard County Heritage. Dallas, TX: Taylor Publishing Co., 1988.

“Nashville Commercial Historic District.” National Register for Historic Places registration form. On file at Arkansas Historic Preservation Office, Little Rock, Arkansas. Online at http://www.arkansaspreservation.com/National-Register-Listings/PDF/HO0113.nr.pdf (accessed October 17, 2019).

David Sesser
Henderson State University

Last Updated: 10/17/2019