Plumerville School Building
The Plumerville School Building at Plumerville (Conway County), located at 105 Arnold Street, is a circa 1925 wood-frame structure that was remodeled with assistance from the Works Progress Administration (WPA), a Depression-era federal relief program, while serving as a school in 1939. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on September 10, 1992.
Plumerville was a leading agricultural center in Conway County and had a well-established school system at the time of the Great Depression. When President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal offered opportunities to improve facilities, Plumerville School District No. 39 took advantage of the funding possibilities and, around 1938, received money to build a new high school building and a gymnasium.
The district decided to pursue further improvements, including at the former African-American Methodist church building that served as a school for local black children. On February 5, 1939, the Arkansas Gazette reported several new WPA projects, including $15,355 “to construct [a] teacherage and new school building for Plumerville School District No. 39 in Plumerville.”
The Morrilton Democrat published a modification to that description when work commenced in March 1939, reporting that the WPA project was for “a teacherage and other improvements” that would include “a water system for the school plant and remodeling the negro school building.…All construction is of native stone and is modern in every respect.” The Plain Traditional–style school building would receive a fieldstone veneer sheathing that still covers it in the twenty-first century.
The Plumerville School District consolidated into the South Conway County School District in 1979, and it may have been at that time that Mount Carmel Baptist Church acquired the old school to serve as its education building, a function it continues to serve in the twenty-first century.
For additional information:
“Plumerville WPA Project Started.” Morrilton Democrat, March 9, 1939, p. 1.
“President Approves Four WPA Projects in Arkansas.” Arkansas Gazette, February 5, 1939, p. 3.
Story, Kenneth. “Plumerville School 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/CN0148.nr.pdf (accessed January 29, 2020).
Mark K. Christ
Central Arkansas Library System
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