Quitman Home Economics Building
The Quitman Home Economics Building, located on Second Avenue, was built in 1937–1938 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 August 16, 1994.
The first public school in Quitman (Cleburne and Faulkner counties) was established in 1868, and the Quitman Male and Female Institute was founded a year later. The institute (later called the Quitman Male and Female College) constructed a three-story brick building that it used until closing in 1898. The building was turned over to the Quitman School District, which used it until fire destroyed it in 1932.
Quitman’s leaders turned to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal agencies to replace it. The Works Progress Administration (WPA) approved Project No. 31593 to “[c]onstruct a school building in the town of Quitman, Cleburne Co., and perform work appurtenant and incidental thereto.” WPA files show that “[i]n addition to projects specifically approved,” a home economics building to be constructed through the National Youth Administration was added to the project. Local funds of $700 were used to match a $7,641 NYA allocation for the building.
The main school building was completed in late 1937 or early 1938, while construction of the home economics building commenced in November 1937, when the Times-Record of Heber Springs (Cleburne County) reported that “much progress has been made on the N.Y.A. cottage. The first lumber was unloaded Monday and the framework is going up rapidly.” The main school was complete in time for Arkansas Education Commissioner T. H. Alford to deliver the commencement address to graduating seniors in April 1938. The home economics building was finished in the fall, and its October 1938 dedication was attended by Alford, WPA administrator Floyd Sharp, and congressional candidate Wilbur D. Mills.
The Quitman Home Economics Building is a rectangular structure reflecting elements of the Craftsman style of architecture. The fieldstone-clad building is distinguished by an arched, gable-roofed entryway that features brick quoins, a buff-brick door, and window surrounds that add an element of style to a relatively simple design. At the time of its addition to the National Register, it was being used by the Quitman School District. By 2009, it was being used to house the superintendent’s office.
For additional information:
“Educators’ Activities.” Arkansas Gazette, April 24, 1938, p. 3.
“Quitman School Building near Finish.” Times-Record, November 18, 1937, p. 4.
“Quitman School to Be Dedicated Tonight.” Arkansas Gazette, October 26, 1938, p. 2.
Story, Kenneth. “Quitman 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/CE0061.nr.pdf (accessed December 16, 2019).
Mark K. Christ
Central Arkansas Library System
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