Women's Community Club Band Shell
Built in 1933, the Women’s Community Club Band Shell is located at the northeast corner of Spring Park in Heber Springs (Cleburne County). It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on August 16, 1994. The band shell is important as a study of the cultural and social development of a central Arkansas resort community and provides a good example of a New Deal public works project.
The Women’s Community Club was organized in 1921, and, by the early 1930s, it had decided that a band shell was needed to replace the entertainment pavilion located in Spring Park. Members of the club visited other cities to see their band shells and then contracted with Leo King for construction of the Heber Springs band shell. Funds were raised through donations and through fundraisers such as suppers, plays, and pie sales. One thousand dollars paid for the design and the materials, while labor was provided through the National Youth Administration (NYA), a federal project similar to the Works Progress Administration (WPA). The band shell was completed and dedicated in June 1933. The band shell is set on a continuous stone foundation and is a half-stone with an asphalt-covered flat roof behind a parapet. Although it exhibits no particular style, the use of native stone as a building material reflects the rustic idiom that was then popular in New Deal public works built by agencies such as the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and WPA.
Heber Springs grew steadily over the years as a tourist center. Its hotels became centers of social life, and the activities conducted in Spring Park were popular attractions. The band shell, though largely replaced by a bigger outdoor stage, continues to be used for concerts and plays and remains an important landmark in Spring Park.
For additional information:
“Band Shell in Spring Park.” Cleburne County Historical Society Journal 34 (Summer 2008): 27.
Berry, Evalena. Time and the River: A History of Cleburne County. Little Rock: Rose Publishing Company, 1982.
“Women’s Community Club Band Shell.” National Register of Historic Places Registration Form, 1994. On file at Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, Little Rock, Arkansas. Online at http://www.arkansaspreservation.com/National-Register-Listings/PDF/CE0057.nr.pdf (accessed April 26, 2022).
Little Rock, Arkansas
Staff of the CALS Encyclopedia of Arkansas
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I will never forget seeing a tiny old woman in a granny dress dancing on the bandshell at a hootenanny. My father, Wayne Hardin, was born in 1925 in Wilburn, Arkansas, a few miles from Heber Springs. His older brother, George, lived in Higden on Greers Ferry Lake from the 1960s until his death in 2010. In the 1970s, my family lived in Illinois, and we visited Higden often. Summers in Arkansas are my fondest memories, one of which include going to a hootenanny held at the bandshell in Spring Park. It was possibly held to coincide with the annual Old Soldiers and Sailors Reunion, an event my Aunt Eller Hardin, widow of George (who resides still in Higden), always seemed eager to share with her nieces and nephews. I love my aunt, I love Arkansas, and, until I die, I’ll love that memory of a granny hoe-downing at the bandshell hootenanny in the 1970s.