Entry Category: Arts

Alderson-Coston House

The Alderson-Coston House is a one-and-a-half-story Craftsman-style home located on Pine Bluff Street in Malvern (Hot Spring County). Constructed in 1923, the house was added to the National Register of Historic Places on May 26, 1995. The house is located in the Pine Bluff Street National Historic District, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1999. James Alderson was a businessman in Hot Spring County in the early twentieth century. The owner of the Malvern Meteor newspaper, he later served as postmaster of Malvern from 1934 to 1954. He was married to Lethe Alderson, who was active in a number of community organizations and served on the board of the Hot Spring County Library. The Aldersons …

Alexander House

The Alexander House in Little Rock (Pulaski County), built for Julian and Natalie Alexander in 1962, was designed in the Mid-Century-Modern style by noted Arkansas architect Noland Blass Jr. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on March 24, 2020. L. Julian Alexander was the owner of Majestic Laundry and Cleaners, a highly successful Little Rock laundry and dry-cleaning business. He and his wife, Natalie Loeb Alexander, were involved in civic affairs in Little Rock. Julian Alexander was a Pulaski County Grand Jury foreman and a member of the Board of Equalization. He also served as crusade chairman for the Pulaski County Unit of the American Cancer Society and was a member of its executive committee, the …

Alexander, Larry Dell

Larry Dell Alexander is a visual artist, writer, and Bible teacher best known for his elaborate pen-and-ink drawings and crosshatching technique. He painted Clinton Family Portrait, an oil painting that he gave to President Bill Clinton in 1995. He has also written several Bible study commentary books on the New Testament. Larry D. Alexander was born on May 30, 1953, in Dermott (Chicot County), the second son of Robert and Janie Alexander. His father was a truck driver and his mother a hairdresser. He has eight siblings. Alexander began drawing at age four and never received any formal art training while growing up. After graduating from Dermott High School in May 1971, Alexander moved to Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), where …

Allen Tire Company and Gas Station

The Allen Tire Company and Gas Station was a Craftsman-style, purpose-built gas station located in Prescott (Nevada County). Constructed in 1924, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places on May 25, 2001. The building burned around 2019 and no longer exists. The building was constructed by Henry Harrison Allen after his retirement from the lumber industry in 1924. Built on the corner of the same lot as his home, the station was located at 228 First Street Southwest. (First Street is also U.S. Highway 67.) The Allen family operated a combined gas station and tire company in the building, and for at least part of that period, the station sold Magnolia-brand gasoline. Allen operated the station until …

Allen, Al

aka: Alvin Lee Allen Jr.
Alvin Lee (Al) Allen Jr. was a painter whose contributions to Arkansas culture were his artwork, his teaching, his development of the Department of Art at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR), and two autobiographical books. His mature work was of idealized man-made structures, often with windows, bathed in bright light. His style presents realistic subjects in a classical and abstract way. Al Allen was born on November 29, 1925, the only child of Carrie Allen and Alvin Lee Allen of Steele, Missouri. His father was an automobile dealer in nearby Caruthersville; his mother was a seamstress who later worked for Goldsmith’s department store in Memphis, Tennessee. The Missouri Bootheel landscape was an environment of vast space, emptiness, …

Allison, Luther

Blues guitarist and singer Luther Allison was born in Arkansas, but like many of his contemporaries in the rural South, he rose to fame in cities far from his original home. His style exemplified the soulful blues of the west side of Chicago, Illinois, where he moved with his family as a child. Later, in 1977, when the popularity of the blues faded in the United States, he began touring Europe extensively and became an international star. Born in Widener (St. Francis County) on August 17, 1939, Luther Allison was the fourteenth of fifteen children, all of whom were musically inclined, born to parents who were cotton farmers. He was exposed to gospel music as a young child, although he …

Almand, John Parks

John Parks Almand worked as an architect in Arkansas for fifty years, beginning in 1912. Ten of his commissions have been recognized for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places, including Central High School, First Church of Christ Scientist, and First Presbyterian Church, all in Little Rock (Pulaski County). First United Methodist Church in Fordyce (Dallas County) is also included, as well as Couchwood, the country home of Arkansas Power & Light founder Harvey Couch, and the Medical Arts Building, both in Hot Springs (Garland County). John Almand was born on May 8, 1885, in Lithonia, Georgia. He was the third of eight children of Alexander J. and Clara Bond Almand. Almand attended Emory College in Georgia and graduated …

Altheimer, Joshua

Joshua Altheimer was one of the Delta’s most prolific blues pianists. Altheimer mastered the emerging boogie-woogie style of the 1930s as he accompanied some of the legendary blues musicians of his era. Joshua Altheimer was born on May 17, 1911, in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) to Silas Altheimer and Verdis Pruitt Barnes Altheimer. He played his first years in Arkansas, performing during the late 1920s. It is not clear whether Altheimer knew blues legend “Big Bill” Broonzy during this period, who was from his home county and who was raised just a few miles from where he was born. By the 1930s, Altheimer had moved to Chicago, Illinois, and was playing with the likes of John Lee “Sonny Boy” Williamson, Washboard Sam, …

Altvater, Catherine Tharp

Catherine Tharp Altvater was a nationally known watercolorist whose works were shown in numerous museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Today, her paintings are found in many private collections and museums in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Japan. Catherine Tharp was born in Little Rock (Pulaski County) on July 26, 1907, to William J. Tharp and Catherine Collins Tharp. Her maternal grandparents were early settlers of Little Rock, and her paternal grandfather, originally from Tennessee, had a private academy in Little Rock with R. C. Hall. Altvater’s interest in art began at an early age and continued throughout her school years, when she spent many hours in art classes. At the age of eighteen, …

American Legion Hut (Des Arc)

aka: Burson-Bethel Post 119 American Legion Hut
The American Legion Hut in Des Arc (Prairie County), located at 206 Erwin Street, is a Rustic-style structure erected in 1934 with assistance from the Civil Works Administration (CWA), a Depression-era federal relief program. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on June 9, 1995. Des Arc’s American Legion Post was named for two fallen soldiers during World War I: Edward Burson and Bedford B. Bethel of Des Arc. Burson, twenty-one, was killed in action in France on October 6, 1918, and Bethel, twenty-nine, died of pneumonia on October 30, 1918. As with several other American Legion posts around the state in the early 1930s, Burson-Bethel Post 119 decided to seek funding from the CWA to finance …

American Legion Post 127 Building

aka: Wilson Burnett Post 127 American Legion Hut
The American Legion Post 127 Building, located on the northeast corner of Cherry and Armstrong streets in Eudora (Chicot County), is a Rustic-style structure erected in 1934 with assistance from the Civil Works Administration (CWA), a Depression-era federal relief program. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 8, 1992. Local veterans of World War I established an American Legion post at Eudora on April 9, 1920, and named it in honor of Wilson B. Burnett, an eighteen-year-old soldier from Montrose (Ashley County) who was killed in action in France on July 20, 1918. It would be another fourteen years before the post had a permanent home with the assistance of the CWA. In seeking CWA …

Anderson, Bruce Roy

Bruce Roy Anderson was a prominent Arkansas architect and watercolorist in the mid-twentieth century. Bruce Anderson was born on October 7, 1907, in Newport (Jackson County), the son of George Roy Anderson and Amelia Frei Anderson. He had an older brother, Maxwell, and sister, Bernice. Anderson attended Little Rock (Pulaski County) public schools and graduated from Castle Heights Military Academy in Tennessee. He received a bachelor’s degree in architecture from Auburn University in Alabama in 1929. In 1936, Anderson earned a Master of Architecture degree from the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Anderson married Helen Venus McClain on December 25, 1931. They had one son, Bruce R. Anderson Jr. Anderson began his architectural career in …

Anderson, Frederick Tanqueray

Frederick Tanqueray Anderson was an early twentieth-century Arkansas watercolorist. Categorized as a romantic American Landscape artist, Anderson is known for his steamboat and landscape paintings. Anderson’s paintings were inspired by his boyhood memories of traveling down the Mississippi River with his grandfather on steamboats to New Orleans, Louisiana. According to a Memphis Commercial Appeal article dated May 20, 1945, many regarded Anderson as the leading river scenes painter in America. Frederick T. Anderson was born on July 1, 1846, on his grandfather’s Arkansas River plantation near New Gascony (Jefferson County). His parents were Richard Cuthbert Anderson, who was a physician, and Hortense Barraque Anderson. Anderson had one older sister, Julia. His grandfather, Antoine Barraque, was one of Arkansas’s more prominent …

Anthony House

From 1830 until 1875, a premier hotel stood on the southwest corner of Markham and Scott streets in Little Rock (Pulaski County). It was known by different names throughout its existence, but it is best remembered as the Anthony House. The location in the heart of downtown Little Rock with frontage on Markham Street put the hotel in an excellent location for travelers, and for many years it also served as stagecoach offices. Major Nicholas Peay arrived in Little Rock in 1825. He rented a house and opened a tavern. In 1829, he purchased lots on the southwest corner of Markham and Scott streets. In 1830, he built a one-story frame building on Markham Street that he opened as a …

Architectural Styles

A region’s architecture “speaks volumes about the culture of the inhabitants and their level of technology,” notes the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program. Over time and space, several styles have developed to reflect cultural changes and moods. James Curtis, in the Journal of Cultural Geography, writes that a “distinctive architectural style…is often the most enduring and expressive manifestation of the spirit of an age.” Architecture fits into two broad categories—traditional (folk) houses and high style houses designed by architects who try to set or follow trends. From early settlers’ simple log structures to the elaborate Victorian styles of the nineteenth century to today’s Modern styles, Arkansas’s architecture reflects the trends of the rest of the country. From the early to mid-1800s, …

Arkadelphia Boy Scout Hut

The Arkadelphia Boy Scout Hut is a log building located in Central Park in Arkadelphia (Clark County). Constructed by local boys and members of the National Youth Administration (NYA) in 1938–39, the Rustic-style building is owned by the city and used by various Boy Scout and Girl Scout groups. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on January 28, 2002. The NYA was a New Deal agency created to offer employment opportunities for youth between the ages of sixteen and twenty-five. Construction of the hut was supervised by Edwin Dean, the district supervisor from Camden (Ouachita County), and Edward Wyate, the supervisor from Hope (Hempstead County). The local foreman was A. F. Bishop of Arkadelphia, who supervised …

Arkadelphia Commercial Historic District

The Arkadelphia Commercial Historic District consists of twenty-nine contributing buildings located in the heart of downtown Arkadelphia (Clark County). A total of forty-eight buildings and a park are in the district boundaries. The district was added to the National Register of Historic Places on July 20, 2011. The borders of the district are roughly Main Street between 5th and 7th streets and Clinton Street between 6th and 9th streets. The city of Arkadelphia grew westward, away from the Ouachita River, which is located about a half mile away from the district. The buildings in the district evolved over the years. The earliest buildings in the district are free standing or in a row and are frame or brick constructed on …

Arkansas [Album]

Arkansas is an album written and recorded by John Oates, a New York–born inductee of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame who was half of the duo Hall and Oates. He was accompanied by a group of legendary Americana musicians collectively known as the Good Road Band. Oates called the album the “sum total” of his many musical influences, including rock, folk, blues, and country. Released in 2018, the ten-song album began as a tribute to blues musician Mississippi John Hurt but soon grew to “represent the dawn of American popular music,” as Oates said. The title track “Arkansas” was inspired by Oates’s experiences visiting the former company town of Wilson (Mississippi County). John Oates was born in New …

Arkansas Art Educators

Arkansas Art Educators (AAE) is a statewide organization of art teachers. The organization’s focus is to advocate for art education through supporting legislation and providing quality professional development for all art instructors in the state. AAE began as the art section of the Arkansas State Teachers Association (ASTA), which later became the Arkansas Education Association (AEA). The art group met as early as November 1922 for the ASTA fall conference. Classroom teachers from across the state gathered to discuss how to incorporate picture study and art history into the classroom curriculum. The group continued to meet yearly to hold elections and to discuss ways to further art education in the Arkansas school system. Members supported art education by writing articles …