Xenophon Overton Pindall Law Office
Constructed in 1882, the Xenophon Overton Pindall Law Office was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on May 10, 1999. The building is at the corner of Kate Adams Street and Capitol Avenue in Arkansas City (Desha County), located on the Mississippi River.
The Pindall Law Office is named for its main proprietor, the prominent attorney and politician Xenophon Overton Pindall (1873–1935). Pindall practiced law in Arkansas City for decades in the building that today bears his name, as well as maintaining an office in Little Rock (Pulaski County). Pindall was also prominent in Democratic politics, representing the Seventeenth District in the Arkansas Senate, which at the time included Desha and Drew counties, for several terms. As the Senate’s president pro tempore, Pindall served as the interim governor of Arkansas, beginning on May 14, 1907, soon after incumbent Democratic governor John Sebastian Little resigned due to mental illness. Pindall’s most notable accomplishment during his brief term of office was in prison reform. He initiated policies that marked the ultimate end of the convict-lease system. Pindall served as governor until the inauguration of duly elected Democratic governor George Washington Donaghey on January 11, 1909. Upon his return to the Arkansas Senate, Pindall helped secure passage of Act 100, which established the four district agricultural schools that would ultimately evolve into today’s Arkansas State University (ASU), Arkansas Tech University, Southern Arkansas University (SAU), and the University of Arkansas at Monticello (UAM).
The Pindall Law Office is of vernacular design and is similar to other contemporary public buildings built in the vicinity. The building’s extremely low-pitched roof lays atop an ornamental cornice. Tall, narrow windows arched from above, with prominent front and back galleries supported by ornamental columns and gated railings, are all features inspired by the Italianate architectural style, popular during the Victorian era. Unlike most American Italianate architecture, however, the Pindall Law Office is just one story, although its main floor sits atop a large raised basement that runs the entire length of the building. The main floor, accessible by the wide staircases that run up to the galleries in both the front and rear of the building, is divided into two rooms with a brick fireplace in between.
The Pindall Law office survived the Great Mississippi Floods of 1927 and 1937, as well as the decline of Arkansas City due to population loss and the accompanying closure of the city’s public schools. Speaker of the Arkansas House of Representatives Robert Moore and his wife, Beverly Moore, donated the Pindall Law Office to UAM on December 13, 2013. UAM received general improvement funds from the Arkansas General Assembly to restore the structure. Plans were announced that, once restoration is complete, the Pindall Law Office will be used as a site for university-related educational activities, including community projects, public history, and tourism. Arkansas City also announced plans to make its historic district a tourist destination along the proposed Southeast Arkansas Heritage Trail.
For additional information:
Donovan, Timothy P., Willard B. Gatewood Jr., and Jeannie M. Whayne, eds. The Governors of Arkansas: Essays in Political Biography. 2nd ed. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 1995.
Worthen, John, “Ex-Governor’s Office a Case Study for History Students.” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, September 1, 2013, 1B.
Xenophon Overton Pindall Collection. Special Collections, Taylor Library. University of Arkansas at Monticello, Monticello, Arkansas.
“Xenophon Overton Pindall Law Office.” 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/DE0003.nr.pdf (accessed June 12, 2018).
John Kyle Day
University of Arkansas at Monticello
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