Entries - Entry Category: Arts - Starting with G

Gann House

The Gann House is among the oldest buildings still standing in Saline County. The Gann House also reportedly had the first indoor bathrooms in the city of Benton (Saline County). It was built in 1895 in the Queen Anne style as the private residence of prominent doctor and freemason Dr. Dewell Gann Sr. and his family. Gann was born on March 31, 1863, in Atlanta, Georgia. In Arkansas, his family became well known for its contributions to history and to the field of medical science. The house was added to the National Register of Historic Places on January 2, 1976, a few months after what is now the Gann Museum, immediately neighboring it on South Market Street in Benton, was …

Gann Museum of Saline County

The Gann Museum of Saline County, established in 1980, is located in a historical structure at 218 Market Street in Benton (Saline County). Housed in the old medical offices of doctors Dewell Gann Sr. and Dewell Gann Jr., it contains an extensive collection of Arkansas artifacts: Quapaw and Caddo Indian artifacts, Niloak and other pottery made in Saline County, memorabilia depicting early county history up to the present, industrial and manufacturing items, photographs, and old newspapers. It is an incorporated, nonprofit institution, governed by a committee of thirteen county residents. The Gann building is an architectural landmark. Built in 1893 as the office of Dr. Dewell Gann Sr., it is the only known building in existence that is constructed out …

Gant, Glenn Rowlett

Glenn Gant was an important figure in the art history of Eureka Springs (Carroll County). He is best remembered for his paintings and pen-and-ink drawings that captured the unique essence of the architecture and culture of Eureka Springs during the last half of the twentieth century. Glenn Rowlett Gant was born in Kansas City, Missouri, on September 25, 1911, the son of Joseph Rowlett Gant and Phillippa Gant. His parents divorced shortly after his birth. Phillippa, a musician, relocated alone to Chicago, Illinois, while Joseph, a bank president, remained in Kansas City and married Mildred Stites. They had two more children: Elizabeth Lee and John (Jack) E. Gant. After his father’s death in 1925, Glenn lived with his aunt, Emma …

Garage Bands

With the arrival of the Beatles on American shores in 1964, the “British Invasion” became a national pop-culture phenomenon. Representing the second generation of rock and roll, wave after wave of English rock groups—such as the Rolling Stones, the Animals, and the Who—followed the Beatles during the next two years. Teenagers across the United States were inspired to form four- or five-member bands patterned after their British role models. Because they often practiced in garages, these amateur groups came to be known as “garage bands.” Like many mid-sized American cities, Little Rock (Pulaski County) witnessed a mid-1960s explosion in the number of neighborhood teenage groups, all competing for school, fraternity house, or country club engagements. Other cities and towns in …

Garrott House

The Garrott House is the oldest surviving structure in Batesville (Independence County) and the first Batesville structure listed on the National Register of Historic Places (1971). The first house in Batesville’s School Addition, it was built in 1842 by Independence County pioneer George Case, who moved to Batesville from Ohio in 1837. A carpenter and cabinetmaker, Case built the house for his wife’s sister and her husband, Eliza (Ridgeway) and Robert Williams, who were also from Ohio. The house is of braced frame construction, its inner structure composed of squared logs mortised and pegged together at the base and top of each wall, each corner being “braced” by a diagonal log also mortised and pegged into the logs laid horizontally …

Garvan Woodland Gardens

Garvan Woodland Gardens in Hot Springs (Garland County) is a department of the School of Architecture at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County). It is a 210-acre botanical garden located on four and a half miles of Lake Hamilton shoreline and operates as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Its mission is to be a resource for people desiring to improve their aesthetic, cultural, and scientific knowledge of plants, gardening, architecture, and landscape architecture, within a woodland environment. Arthur Cook, a Malvern (Hot Spring County) businessman, purchased the acreage in the 1920s for the purpose of harvesting the timber to manufacture hardwood flooring at his mill, Wisconsin-Arkansas Lumber. Shortly after the acquisition, the land was transformed into a large …

Garver, Neal Bryant

Neal Bryant Garver arrived in Little Rock (Pulaski County) in 1918 to help provide engineering services for the construction of a munitions plant during World War I. As the Arkansas State Highway Department’s first bridge engineer, Garver also led the design of more than 2,000 bridges from 1921 to 1950, helping to modernize the state’s roadways by adding river crossings. In 1919, Garver started what became the state’s largest engineering firm, which began by providing structural engineering services for Little Rock High School (later called Little Rock Central High), North Little Rock High School, the Pulaski County Jail, and many other structures. Neal Garver was born on February 17, 1877, in Lee County, Iowa, near the Mississippi River, to the …

Gatewood House

The Gatewood House, designed in the Shingle architectural style, is gambrel-roofed home located in Malvern (Hot Spring County). Constructed in 1905, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places on July 24, 1992. The house was constructed by Matthew and Hannah Duffie for their daughter, Annie Sinney Duffie Gatewood. Amie married Edwin Lee Gatewood in Dallas County in 1893, and the couple had three children between 1894 and 1902. Edwin died in Beebe (White County) on April 14, 1905, and Annie lived in the home with her children, Anita, Edwin, and Estell. She died on March 2, 1947, and is buried with her husband in Malvern. The home is located at 235 Pine Bluff Street and faces north. …

George W. Mallett House

The George W. Mallett House is the only antebellum structure still standing in Princeton (Dallas County). Constructed in 1853 as a dogtrot house, the building has been modified over the decades. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on October 28, 1983. George Mallett was born in Mecklenburg, Virginia, on April 13, 1826, and moved to Arkansas in 1847. He worked as a tailor in Princeton. Before moving to Arkansas, George married Mary Smith in Virginia, and the couple had three sons and two daughters. Evidence suggests that the couple had another daughter who died as an infant. He entered politics and served as the county treasurer from 1852 to 1856. During the Civil War, he operated …

Gibb, Frank Wooster

Frank W. Gibb was a prolific architect whose many designs include those of iconic Arkansas county courthouses and a pair of National Historic Landmarks. Frank Wooster Gibb was born on February 24, 1861, in Rutland, Vermont, to Edward Gibb and Isabella Emerson Gibb. The family moved to Chicago, Illinois, where the elder Gibb established a carriage-furnishings business, then to Little Rock (Pulaski County) in 1871 when the business was destroyed in the great Chicago fire. Frank Gibb graduated from the Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy (which eventually became the Missouri University of Science and Technology) at Rolla in 1881 and then returned to the Arkansas capital to establish a business as a mining consultant and assayer, becoming a member …

Gibson Baskets

The history of the Gibson family of basket makers—which, as of 2009, has produced split white oak baskets for four generations—parallels the history of basket making in the United States. The split white oak basket is distinctive to the Ozarks and is woven from thin, flexible splints used as ribs and weavers. The Gibson family has continued the tradition of making baskets using handmade tools and natural materials. The characteristics of a Gibson basket are a heavy hand-carved handle, herringbone weave on the flat rectangular basket bottom, and construction without nails. Christopher Columbus “Lum” Gibson (1865–1947) reportedly began making baskets in the 1880s and is said to have had a blind man as a teacher. His workbaskets were sold door …

Gilbert, Cass

Cass Gilbert was one of the most famous and influential architects in American history. He designed numerous government buildings and public institutions that dot the American landscape, with the Arkansas State Capitol being among his earliest efforts. Cass Gilbert was born in Zanesville, Ohio, on November 24, 1859, to Samuel Gilbert and Elizabeth Wheeler Gilbert. He was named for his uncle, Lewis Cass, who served in the U.S. Senate, the Cabinet, and was the Democratic Party’s nominee for president in 1848. Gilbert’s family left Ohio for Minnesota when he was nine years old. His father died shortly after the move, leaving his mother to care for Cass and his siblings. However, she was committed to seeing that her children continue …

Gilbert, Ollie Eva Woody

Both a local and national celebrity, Ollie Eva Woody Gilbert, known popularly as Aunt Ollie, performed with Jimmy Driftwood, Woody Guthrie, and many other folk musicians who have come to define the voice of the Great Depression. Venues ranged from friends’ and family members’ front porches and living rooms in the Ozark Mountains to Cow Palace in San Francisco, California; the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee; and Madison Square Garden in New York City. The eighth of thirteen children of James (Jim) Franklin Woody and Mary Minerva Balentine Woody, Ollie Eva Woody was born on October 17, 1892, in the Hickory Grove area of Stone County. Shelearned to play the banjo at the age of five. Her instrument was made …

Gillham City Jail

The Gillham City jail is a small one-room jailhouse located in the town of Gillham (Sevier County). It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on January 27, 2012. In the 1890s, a railroad was constructed through the remote farming community, leading to the relocation of most of the population of the neighboring town of Silver Hill (Sevier County) to Gillham (originally known as Silver City but renamed after a railroad engineer). This large relocation led to a boom in the town, bringing a train depot, an ore mill, and a post office to the community. Commissioned by town officials and constructed in about 1914, the Gillham City Jail was typically used as a temporary holding place for …

Gillis, Ann

aka: Alma Mabel Conner
Ann Gillis was a child actress and ingénue in thirty-nine Hollywood movies from 1934 to 1947. She played small parts in two perennially famous films—Walt Disney’s Bambi (1942) and Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). Ann Gillis was born Alma Mabel Conner in Little Rock (Pulaski County) on February 12, 1927, to Mabel Brandon Conner. She later recalled: “My mother was one of those ladies who kept getting married. I guess one might say she was a femme fatale.” Mabel Conner left two husbands, including Alma’s father. The family often consisted only of Mabel, Alma, and Alma’s brother Brandon. Alma’s first show business experiences were in school plays in New Rochelle, New York, and her mother was eager to …

Ginocchio, Frank Joseph

Frank Joseph Ginocchio was a Little Rock (Pulaski County) architect whose skills in supervision and in wartime construction shaped the development and expansion of Camp Pike (later renamed Camp Joseph T. Robinson) in North Little Rock (Pulaski County) during World War I and World War II. When his architectural firm merged with architect Charles Thompson’s practice in 1928, Ginocchio became part of the longest-lasting succession of architectural firms in Arkansas, now known as Cromwell Architects Engineers. During Ginocchio’s long career, many of the buildings he worked on were located in the Little Rock area, including the Hall Building, Forest Heights junior high school, M. M. Cohn department store, the Arkansas Arts Center, and the Governor’s Mansion. He also worked on …

Gladys McFadden and the Loving Sisters

Gladys McFadden and the Loving Sisters were an African-American gospel group based in Little Rock (Pulaski County). At its artistic peak in the 1970s, the group’s adventurous, contemporary style put its sound outside the realm of traditional gospel music. The group—which included McFadden as well as Jo Dumas, Ann James, and Lorraine Leeks—was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 2003. Gladys McFadden was born on September 10, 1934, in Little Rock. Her father, Aaron Williams, was a pastor, and her mother coached their church choir. McFadden sang in that choir until age nine, when she founded a group she christened the Loving Sisters, as the group included one of McFadden’s sisters, as well as a friend who …

Glenwood Iron Mountain Railroad Depot

The Glenwood Iron Mountain Railroad Depot is a former depot located in Glenwood (Pike County). Constructed around 1910 by the St. Louis, Iron Mountain and Southern Railroad, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places on June 28, 1996. Glenwood was platted in 1907 when the railroad reached the area. The area around the town soon began to support a number of lumber mills, and the settlement grew rapidly. In order to ship the large amounts of timber from the area quickly, another rail line was laid in 1910. Few details from the construction are available. Although the building is currently a single-story frame structure on a concrete-block foundation, the depot was originally constructed with a central second …

Glosson, Lonnie Elonzo (Marvin)

Lonnie Elonzo Glosson popularized the harmonica nationwide and had a hand in several hit songs during a time when radio stations employed harmonica orchestras. From a young age, Glosson’s ability and versatility on the harmonica stood out. Lonnie Marvin Glosson was born the seventh of eleven children on February 14, 1908, in Judsonia (White County) to Cora Busby Glosson and George H. Glosson. He later changed his middle name to Elonzo because he did not like the uncle after whom he was named. Glosson’s mother taught him the harmonica after he earned money to buy the instrument by picking cotton: “She showed me how to play ‘Home Sweet Home,’ and I took it from there.” His father owned a boat …

Goodwin, Harvey Wilson

aka: Harvey Lee
Harvey Wilson Goodwin, who used the stage name Harvey Lee, was a gifted stage performer, singer, and internationally recognized female impersonator during the decades of the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s. Harvey Wilson Goodwin was born on August 14, 1912, in Little Rock (Pulaski County) to Ernest Eugene Goodwin, who was a contractor, and Ella Lorena (Hicks) Goodwin, who was a homemaker; he had three siblings. His family apparently recognized and supported his early interest in the theater because his father reportedly arranged makeshift stages out of canvas and drapery material for Goodwin’s neighborhood theatrical performances. Goodwin attended elementary school in Little Rock, graduated from Little Rock High School in 1930, and briefly attended business school before he left for Washington …

Gospel Music

Musicologists and journalists have often provided conflicting definitions of the term “gospel music.” Early African-American gospel was a blend of nineteenth-century hymns, spirituals, field songs, ragtime, and blues, while the religious music performed by white artists—an obvious antecedent to what would be labeled Southern gospel—incorporated folk, traditional hymns, and singing convention standards. Today’s Christian music is often categorized by genre, reflecting the social, racial, ideological, and generational diversity of the Christian community. This diversity is shown in a contrast of pervading traditions, varied approaches to lyric writing, and stylistic exchanges between the sacred and secular. Throughout the evolution of gospel music, Arkansas has remained at the forefront, producing noteworthy pioneers of yesterday and molding trendsetters of today. Several key figures …

Governor’s Mansion

aka: Arkansas Governor's Mansion
The Arkansas Governor’s Mansion, located on 8.5 acres on Center Street in the historic Quapaw District of downtown Little Rock (Pulaski County), was established by an act of the state legislature in 1947. It was completed in January 1950 during Governor Sidney McMath’s term. Previously, Arkansas did not have an official residence for the governor of the state. In 1944, the Arkansas Federation of Women’s Clubs, led by its president, Agnes Bass Shinn of Harrison (Boone County), began a campaign for housing for the chief executive of the state. The first effort to obtain legislative funding for a governor’s residence, attempted in 1945, failed. Two years later, however, Act 257 created a Governor’s Mansion Commission with an appropriation of $100,000. …

Graham, Josephine Hutson

Josephine Hutson Graham was a prolific artist, educator, author, and folklorist of Arkansas’s White River culture and cuisine. She won many local, regional, and national art awards and held more than twenty one-woman shows throughout the South and Southwest, as well as shows in New York, Washington DC, and Dallas, Texas. Josephine Hutson was born in Newport (Jackson County) on April 12, 1915, to Thomas Hutson (a cotton broker) and Mary Bailey Hutson; she had one younger brother. After high school graduation in Newport, Graham attended the University of Texas for three years before transferring to the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County). She earned a bachelor’s degree in English. She married Thomas Nathan Graham, a farmer and …

Gray, Joseph Ray (Joe)

Joseph Ray Gray (commonly known as Joe or J. R. Gray) was a painter, illustrator, sculptor, and graphic designer who grew up in Dardanelle (Yell County). His lasting influence on the art of the Arkansas River Valley grew from his passion for the environment, which defined not only his seventy-five-year fine arts career but also the development of his distinctive and varied artistic styles. Gray designed and illustrated publications and advertising campaigns, as well as creating—to the delight of friends, family, and numerous fans—outspoken political cartoons. Born in Booneville (Logan County) on September 25, 1917, Joe Gray was the son of Armour Gray, who was a meat cutter and, later, a grocery store owner, and Cena Rea McCorkle Gray. Around …

Green, Al

Al Green is one of Arkansas’s best-known singers, with a career that has ranged from rhythm and blues (R&B) to pop to gospel and a combination. Green’s distinctive falsetto singing style continues to thrill fans old and young, and he remains an active soul singer from an era that also produced Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, and Marvin Gaye. Al Greene (he later dropped the last “e”) was born on April 13, 1946, in Forrest City (St. Francis County) and grew up in a large family that sang gospel music. When his sharecropper father moved the family to Grand Rapids, Michigan, Green was only nine but sang with his siblings in the Green Brothers. When he began listening to the non-gospel …

Greene County Courthouse (1888)

The 1888 Greene County Courthouse, located at 306 W. Court Street in Paragould (Greene County), is a three-story rectangular structure. The building exhibits the Italianate style in the low-pitched, hipped roofline; the square cupola supporting a clock tower; widely overhanging eaves with decorative brackets; and tall, narrow windows. The exterior also features Georgian Revival accents shown in the pediments on each side. The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on August 11, 1976. The restored building is no longer used as a courthouse, but it houses the Paragould Regional Chamber of Commerce and is open to visitors. Greene County has changed county seats three times. The first county seat was located at a town called Paris …

Gridiron

The Gridiron Show is a satirical musical production that makes good-natured fun of prominent people in politics, business, the judiciary, and the legal profession. It is presented biennially in Little Rock (Pulaski County) by Gridiron Productions, Inc., a nonprofit corporation composed of lawyers and others associated with the legal profession. All cast members are either lawyers or connected to the legal profession by employment, family ties, or friendship, and all are unpaid. The director, choreographer, musical director, and band are paid professionals. The script is written by a group called the Clandestine Committee. The Gridiron Show was first presented in 1916 by members of what was then the Little Rock Bar Association at a Gridiron luncheon. The luncheon was held …

Griffin Auto Company Building

The Griffin Auto Company building was considered the finest car dealership building in the city of El Dorado (Union County) when it opened in 1928. The building exemplifies the architectural transition from the traditional storefront showrooms to super service stations. The Murphy Arts District (MAD) purchased the Griffin building in 2012, restoring and converting it into a farm-to-table restaurant and music venue. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places on May 25, 2001, and included in the El Dorado Commercial Historic District on August 21, 2003, the Griffin Auto Company Building is located at 117 E. Locust, two blocks from El Dorado’s courthouse square. Its boxy, symmetrical massing was originally divided into three sections: a filling station, a showroom, …

Gurdon Jail

The Gurdon Jail is a small structure located in the former timber boom town of Gurdon (Clark County). It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on November 24, 1989. It stands derelict in the twenty-first century. Gurdon was incorporated in 1880. The timber town was founded on the Cairo and Fulton Railroad, and the addition of another line to Camden (Ouachita County) and a third to Montgomery County in 1906 brought hundreds to the community. The growing population attracted numerous businesses to the town, as well as crime. While major criminals were transported to Arkadelphia (Clark County), locals arrested for petty offenses often remained in their community, creating the need for a jail in Gurdon. The Gurdon …