Oak Grove School
The Oak Grove School, located off Highway 270 in Grant County’s Oak Grove community six miles east of Sheridan (Grant County), is a single-story, wood-frame, four-room structure designed in the Craftsman style of architecture and constructed in 1938–1939 by the Works Progress Administration (WPA), a Depression-era public relief program. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on June 14, 1991.
In 1938, the Oak Grove, Ellis, and Morris school districts in Grant County were consolidated to create School District No. 24, with the centrally located Oak Grove community selected as the site for the district’s school building. The new district applied to the WPA for funds to construct a new school, and the agency approved the project on May 14, 1938, allotting $54,589 to “construct school building and perform incidental and appurtenant work.” Construction by local workers began soon after, and in February 1939 the Sheridan Headlight, writing about School District No. 24, stated: “This is one of the best school districts in the county, and is soon to enjoy a new school building of four rooms.”
The finished building was a handsome, rectangular wood-frame structure lighted by large banks of double-hung windows. The exposed rafter tails beneath the eaves provide the traditional Craftsman-style appearance.
The Oak Grove School was dedicated on March 5, 1939, with a celebration that included dinner, a speech by state Commissioner of Education T. H. Alford, and music from the Grant County Quartet. The Headlight reported: “The building is modern in all departments and the people of the district are indeed thankful that their children have access to a greater opportunity for educational advancement.”
The building only served about ten years as a school, however. School District No. 24 was consolidated into the Sheridan School District in 1949. Oak Grove School became the home of a Methodist Church congregation, a role it still serves in the twenty-first century.
For additional information:
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).
“Oak Grove School District One of the Best in This Area.” Sheridan Headlight, Booster edition, February 2, 1939, p. 9.
“Oak Grove to Dedicate Schoo [sic] Bldg. Sunday.” Sheridan Headlight, March 2, 1939, p. 1.
WPA Central Office Files, 1935–1937, Ala.–Ark. (Jeff. Co.), Roll 2. Arkansas State Archives, Little Rock, Arkansas.
Zollner, Patrick. “Oak Grove School.” 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/GR0077.nr.pdf (accessed June 11, 2020).
Mark K. Christ
Central Arkansas Library System
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