Norman Town Square

The Norman Town Square is located in the center of the small town of Norman (Montgomery County). Constructed between 1935 and 1940, the park includes a large green space and a small library. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on February 25, 1993.

Incorporated in 1910, Norman was known as Womble until 1925, being called such in honor of Walter Womble, a land speculator who was the first citizen and postmaster of the settlement. The town grew due to its location near two large lumber mills and the Gurdon and Fort Smith Railroad. The name was changed to Norman in 1925 to honor a benefactor of the Caddo Valley Academy, a local school.

The town square remained an open plot of land during the early years of growth in Norman. Only a barbed-wire fence marked the boundary of the area, which lacked any landscaping. A small brick building housing the town water pump was constructed on the plot around 1935. After initial projects including landscaping, the club founded a local library located in the former water pump building. The single-story rectangular building fronted by a gabled porch with Craftsman details. The word “LIBRARY” is emblazoned across the front of the porch, with “NORMAN” across the roof gable. Marie Little Pinkerton led the effort to improve the square, organizing a garden club to help with the project. A concrete sidewalk encircles the building. In 1937, four fieldstone planters were constructed. Each diamond-shaped planter is located in a quadrant of the plot. The planters are each about eight inches high.

The next project removed the barbed-wire fence, and the Works Progress Administration constructed a low stone wall around the entire square in 1940. Steps are centrally located on each wall around the square, and low pillars are located along each wall, supporting a heavy steel cable that runs atop the wall. A wider opening with a gate is located on the southwest side near the steps.

The square covers an entire city block, bounded on the northeast by East Main Street (which is also Arkansas Highways 8 and 27), on the southeast by Golf Course Road, on the southwest by Gurdon Avenue, and on the northwest by 9th Avenue. The library faces East Main Street. In the twenty-first century, the entire square looks much as it did at the time of construction, with the exception of the roof of the library, on which the original ceramic tiles have been replaced by asphalt tiles. The library building is known as the smallest free-standing library in the state.

For additional information:
Sesser, David. “Library Profiles: Norman: The Smallest Library in Arkansas.” Arkansas Libraries 68 (Winter 2011): 24.

Story, Kenneth. “Norman Town Square.” National Register of Historic Places nomination form. On file at Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, Little Rock, Arkansas. Online at http://www.arkansaspreservation.com/National-Register-Listings/PDF/MN0038.nr.pdf (accessed October 17, 2019).

David Sesser
Henderson State University

Last Updated: 10/17/2019