Waldron School Historic District
The Waldron School Historic District is located at the corner of West 5th and Cedar streets in Waldron (Scott County). Within the campus are two contributing buildings: the C. E. Forrester Building (Home Economics Building) and the Vocational Agriculture Building. Both buildings were constructed by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in the late 1930s and maintain a high level of integrity in the twenty-first century. The buildings were placed on the National Register of Historic Places on September 19, 2019.
One of the most significant figures in the development of the Vocational Agriculture and Home Economics buildings was Charlie Edward (C. E.) Forrester. Forrester was born in Parks (Scott County) in 1871. After his mother died, he moved to Waldron with his father, and later became a successful businessman. The nearby community of Forester (Scott County), which he helped establish, was named after him. Forrester’s philanthropic efforts included donating land for the public school.
In 1961, the Waldron High School was destroyed by fire. For the remainder of the year, students were sent to the nearby communities of Boles (Scott County) and Parks to attend school. After the school burned, citizens sought a larger and more up-to-date school. At a cost of $200,000, a new school was built adjacent to the current Home Economics and Vocational Agriculture buildings on land donated by Forrester. A junior high wing, cafeteria, and auditorium were also built, bringing the total expenditure to $260,000. A new gymnasium had been constructed a year prior across the street from the new school for $102,000. Likewise, a new elementary school was built in front of the Home Economics and Vocational Agriculture buildings. The completion of the new school and supporting facilities in 1962 modernized the Waldron school system and drastically expanded the campus.
For several decades, the school and supporting facilities served Waldron’s educational needs. In 1980, a new middle school building was constructed on the west side of Waldron. A new gymnasium was added to the middle school later in 1989. In 1993, an elementary school building was constructed beside the new middle school. The 1962 school building, Vocational Agriculture Building, Home Economics Building, and old gymnasium served only high school students from 1980 to 2007. In 2007, another new high school was constructed near the new middle school and elementary school campuses. The old high school was torn down, and the campus was converted into a city park. The gymnasium began serving as the county’s Boys and Girls Club, while the Vocational Agriculture Building, Home Economics Building, and old elementary school building came under the ownership of University of Arkansas Rich Mountain community college for use as a satellite campus.
The C. E. Forrester Building, located at 429 West 5th Street, is a one-story stone building that was constructed in 1938 as part of a series of WPA projects, with help from the local Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camp. The building was constructed using native stone from the area. The level of craftsmanship is noticeable in the attention devoted to the arched porch entryways, chimney, and arrangement of the horizontal native stone. There have been few additions made and only minor exterior damage to the building, therefore it retains much of its historical integrity in the twenty-first century.
The Vocational Agriculture Building, located at 403 West 5th Street, is a split-level stone building that was constructed in 1939 in conjunction with the WPA, National Youth Administration (NYA), and local CCC camp. The building was constructed using native stone from the area. The level of craftsmanship is noticeable in the arched porch entry and the arrangement of the horizontal native stone. There have been no additions made and only minor exterior damage to the building.
For additional information:
“Waldron School Historic District.” 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/SC0047-SC0048.pdf (accessed December 31, 2020).
Richardson Preservation Consulting
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