Entries - Entry Category: Arts - Starting with J

J. V. Bell House

The J. V. Bell House stands at 303 West Cherry Street in Jonesboro (Craighead County). Built in 1895, the Bell House stands as an example of the typical Victorian-era residence, with its high, multiple roof suggesting a Queen Anne influence, and its cut-out stars and moons and sunburst ornamentation incorporating a distinct Oriental flavor. The Bell House was entered on the National Register of Historic Places on November 7, 1976. John Vernon Bell moved to Jonesboro in the late 1800s and owned and operated one of the city’s first bookstores. Later, he became secretary of Jonesboro Savings and Loan. In 1919, Thomas Hardy purchased the house from Bell. Hardy added two rooms to the upstairs, thus boxing in the back …

Jack Tar Hotel and Bathhouse

aka: Garland Tower
The Jack Tar Hotel and Bathhouse is a historic hotel built in the International style located on Oriole Street in Hot Springs (Garland County). The building was constructed in 1950 and added to the National Register of Historic Places on February 21, 2006. Hot Springs was a popular resort location in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries due to the supposed medicinal properties of the numerous springs located in the area. The growing use of the automobile in the early twentieth century led more visitors to the city, and numerous businesses were created to support this rise in tourism. Park Avenue served as a major thoroughfare into the city from the north, and many restaurants and motels opened along …

Jackson County Courthouse

The Jackson County Courthouse, built in 1892, is located on 208 Main Street in downtown Newport (Jackson County). The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program recognizes the three-story building as architecturally and historically significant as a fine example of a preserved Victorian-era building in the county and as one of the oldest courthouses in the state. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on November 18, 1976. When construction of the Cairo and Fulton Railroad came through in 1873, the previously impoverished river town of Newport found itself in an economic boom, with a new flow of people and commerce arriving from across the country. The railroad also replaced the river as the way to move goods and people. …

Jackson, Joseph Walter (Joe)

Joseph Walter (Joe) Jackson was a talent manager best known as the father and manager of his children’s careers, including the Jackson 5, Michael Jackson, and Janet Jackson. He was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 2011. Joseph Walter Jackson was born on July 26, 1928, in Fountain Hill (Ashley County). He was the oldest of five children of Samuel Joseph Jackson and Crystal Lee King. His father was a schoolteacher. Jackson remembered that his father was one of few African Americans in the area to own a car. The elite status earned his father the nickname of “Professor Jackson.” Much of Jackson’s childhood was spent in Arkansas. However, when his parents separated, he left Arkansas at the …

Jacob Wolf House

The two-story log structure known as the Jacob Wolf House stands on a hillside overlooking the juncture of the White and North Fork Rivers in the present-day town of Norfork (Baxter County). It was constructed in 1829 as the first permanent courthouse for Izard County in Arkansas Territory and is the oldest public structure in Arkansas. Before permanent Anglo-American settlement occurred, the juncture of the White and North Fork rivers was the site of early fur-trading activities. From 1819 to 1828, numerous villages of Shawnee and Delaware Indians were located nearby. Trade with these Indian tribes prompted Jacob Wolf to establish his homestead at the mouth of the North Fork River in 1824. In 1825, he was granted a license …

James A. Dibrell House

The James A. Dibrell House at 1400 Spring Street at Daisy Bates Drive in Little Rock (Pulaski County) was constructed in 1892. It is part of the twenty-four-block Governor’s Mansion Historic District, a residential neighborhood built in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries located in the Quapaw Quarter (an area loosely encompassing the boundaries of historic Little Rock). The district was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on September 13, 1978. The home was constructed by real estate agent H. A. Bowman as a speculation for Dr. James A. Dibrell, who became an early president and dean of the Medical Department of the University of Arkansas (now the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences). Upon graduating from …

James C. Tappan House

aka: Tappan-Pillow House
The James C. Tappan House, with a present-day address of 717 Poplar Street, in Helena-West Helena (Phillips County) was completed in 1859 by James C. Tappan, a highly regarded Confederate general and successful attorney and politician. Tappan purchased the house in 1858 while it was still under construction, and he directed its completion. It was built on a high brick foundation on a hill overlooking the Mississippi River and the levee. At the time of its construction, it was the only home for a radius of several city blocks. Originally enclosed by a picket fence, the home was the focal point of a compound that included a kitchen building, a smokehouse, slave quarters, and other outbuildings. The two-story house is …

James E. M. Barkman House

The James E. M. Barkman House, constructed in Arkadelphia (Clark County) in about 1860, is an example of a transitional Greek and Gothic Revival–style house. Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974, the building is now owned by Henderson State University. James Barkman was the son of Jacob Barkman and Rebecca Davis Barkman, who settled along the Caddo River in 1811. One of the earliest settlers in what became Clark County, Jacob Barkman owned a variety of businesses and worked as a planter. James Barkman was born in 1819 and followed his father into farming. The younger Barkman was successful and quickly accumulated wealth. In the 1860 census, the family of James Barkman included his wife, Harriet; …

James Phillip Smith House

The house at 510 West Sevier Street in Benton (Saline County) was built for the family of businessman James Phillip Smith circa 1885. Like the Gann House on South Market Street, the Smith House was built in the Queen Anne style. However, the Smith house has a two-story symmetrical front façade with a wood-frame structure; ornamental siding elements; double-hung windows; and a gabled, asphalt shingle–clad roof. The Smith family lived in the home until 1943. The Smith House was purchased by Joe Tollet in 2017, who, along with Brandon Sutton, began a complete restoration of the house. The Smith House was added to the Arkansas Register of Historic Places on December 5, 2018. James Phillip Smith was born in DeKalb …

Janes, Roland

Roland Janes was a well-known session guitar player who worked with Sam Phillips at the legendary Sun Studios in Memphis, Tennessee. He was elected to the Southern Legends Entertainment & Performing Arts Hall of Fame and the Memphis Music Hall of Fame. His guitar is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio. Roland Janes was born on August 20 ,1933, in Brookings (Clay County) to R. D. Janes and Mary Pearl Janes; he had three brothers and three sisters. Janes learned to play guitar and performed in country bands with his cousins while living in Arkansas. His parents divorced when he was about ten, and his mother moved to St. Louis, Missouri; he shuttled back and …

Jazz Music

  With New Orleans, Louisiana, and Kansas City, Missouri, emerging as the booming urban epicenters of jazz music and inevitably spilling this music and culture across interstate lines, Arkansas began to see a number of touring “territory bands” sprout up around the state in the late 1910s and early 1920s. Some of the first included Sterling Todd’s Rose City Orchestra; the Quinn Band out of Fort Smith (Sebastian County); and the Synco Six out of Helena (Phillips County), led by banjo player Gene Crooke. All three bands were at some point joined by Arkansas’s first major jazz musician, pianist Alphonso E. “Phonnie” Trent. Trent played with the Rose City Orchestra and the Quinn Band during his teenage years before eventually …

Jeannette, Gertrude Hadley

Throughout her career, Gertrude Hadley Jeannette was a playwright, producer, director, and actress with roles on Broadway. Involved in the civil rights movement, she also became a rare woman taxicab driver in New York. Retired after a seven-decade theater career, she remained active in the New York theater scene. Jeannette was a member of the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame. Gertrude Hadley was born in Urbana (Union County) on November 28, 1914, to Willis Lawrence Hadley and Salley Gertrude Crawford Hadley. She attended Dunbar High School in Little Rock (Pulaski County) and had plans to attend Fisk University. Instead, she eloped in 1934 to New York City with Joe Jeannette II, a prizefighter and president of the Harlem Dusters, a motorcycle club. …

Jeffress/Phillips Music Company

The Jeffress/Phillips Music Company, located in Crossett (Ashley County), is one of the five remaining seven-shape gospel publishing companies in the United States and is the sole seven-shape gospel publisher in the state of Arkansas. While known best as a rural tradition, shape notes, sometimes referred to as character or patent notes, are visual cues that act as points of reference, creating a unique notational style composed of geometric figures. This teaching mechanism led to the development of a rich and varied canon of American folk hymnody notated and practiced in shape notes, of which seven-shape gospel music comprises one specific tradition. Successor to the Jeffress Music Company, Jeffress/Phillips Music is a family-run operation. William Nolin Jeffress, founder of the …

Jess Norman Post 166 American Legion Hut

The Jess Norman Post 166 American Legion Hut, the best example in Augusta (Woodruff County) of a vernacular log meeting hall, was constructed in 1934 through local efforts with the assistance of the Depression-era Civil Works Administration (CWA). The post was named for Jess Norman, the first man from Augusta to be killed during World War I. The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 14, 2001. On January 5, 1933, the Augusta Advocate announced that the Jess Norman Post planned to construct a hut on the banks of the White River for “a minimum amount of money” and with “all labor…contributed by the Legionnaires.” The Legionnaires planned a boxing match as a fundraising event. …

Jewell, Buddy

Buddy Jewell is a country musician best known for having won the top prize in the first season of the reality television show Nashville Star, which landed him a recording contract with Columbia Records. His first major-label album, Buddy Jewell, reached gold-record status after being released in July 2003. Later projects have not been as successful as his debut, but he continues to make music and record in Nashville, Tennessee. In 2015, Jewell was inducted into the Arkansas Entertainers Hall of Fame. Buddy Jewell was born on April 2, 1961, in Lepanto (Poinsett County), the second of three children born to Leslie L. “Buddy” Jewell, a native of Louisiana, and Eva Lorene Harris, a native of Arkansas. For a time, the …

Joe Marsh and Maxine Clark House

aka: Joe Marsh Clark House
The Joe Marsh and Maxine Clark House in Fayetteville (Washington County), often referred to as the Joe Marsh Clark House, is located along the northern side of Rockwood Trail on the eastern slope of Mount Sequoyah. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on February 3, 2020. The Joe Marsh Clark House was designed and constructed by acclaimed Arkansas architect Fay Jones between 1959 and 1961 for Joseph Marsh Clark and Maxine Clark, a couple who had retired to Fayetteville. Joe Marsh Clark, a geologist, and wife Maxine Bradford Clark, a botanist, were both charter members of the Ozark Society with Dr. Neil Compton. They also were both the long-time editors of the award-wining Ozark Society Bulletin. …

John F. Weinmann House

Located in the Central High School Neighborhood Historic District in Little Rock (Pulaski County), the John F. Weinmann House was built in 1917. The house was designed in the Tudor Revival style with Craftsman influences. It expands the boundary of the Central High School Neighborhood Historic District, which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1996. The district was amended in 1997 and 2004 to include contiguous historic development on the east side of the present district, which comprised the Wright Avenue Neighborhood Association. The house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on June 4, 2012, as part of the second boundary increase of the Central High district. The 160-acre parcel of land on …

John G. Williams House No. 2

The John G. Williams House No. 2 in Fayetteville (Washington County) is located on the east side of North Sang Avenue, near its intersection with West Markham Road. The house was constructed between 1969 and 1970, and was designed by John G. Williams, founder of the Fay Jones School of Architecture at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville. It was designed in the Organic style of Mid-Century Modern architecture, following the ideas of Frank Lloyd Wright. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on February 13, 2020. The ideal location for Williams to design a new home for his family presented itself in 1967 when Evangeline Pratt-Waterman-Archer hired him to design a residential subdivision on a …

John Wilson Martin House

aka: Bradley County Historical Museum
The John Wilson Martin House in Warren (Bradley County), the oldest surviving residence in the town, was the home of a notable Civil War doctor. Now housing the Bradley County Historical Museum, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places on December 27, 1990. John Wilson Martin was born on June 8, 1819, in Harrison County, Virginia, and went to New Orleans, Louisiana, around 1843 to attend lectures at Tulane University. He was settled in Warren by 1848, when he married Mary Elizabeth Franklin and established what became a flourishing medical practice. It was said that Martin would ride by “horseback all day to reach the frequently remote residences” of the sick. Martin’s medical practice was especially active, …

John, “Little Willie”

aka: William Edgar John
William Edgar “Little Willie” John was a powerful rhythm and blues vocalist and songwriter who recorded several hit songs, including the original version of “Fever” at age eighteen. Little Willie John was born on November 15, 1937, in Cullendale (Ouachita County). He was one of ten children. His father, Mertis, was a logger in northern Louisiana and southern Arkansas; his mother, Lillie, played guitar and sang gospel songs, teaching them to her children. His sister Mable, also raised in Ouachita County, recorded as a Raelette for Ray Charles and solo for Stax Records. In 1942, the Johns moved to Detroit, Michigan, so Mertis could pursue factory work. The eldest children, including Willie, formed a gospel quintet in the 1940s. A …

Johnny Cash Heritage Festival

The Johnny Cash Heritage Festival is an annual event held in Dyess (Mississippi County), the small town where Johnny Cash lived until he was eighteen years old. The festival, begun in October 2017, features several days of music, arts and crafts, scholarly lectures, and appearances by Cash family members and nationally known performers. The event is sponsored by the Cultural Heritage Program at Arkansas State University (ASU), headed by Dr. Ruth Hawkins. The festival is held in October, traditionally a month of good weather in northeastern Arkansas as well as the period when farmers are harvesting cotton. From 2011 to 2014, ASU held the Johnny Cash Music Festival in Jonesboro (Craighead County), featuring concerts by such country music luminaries as Rosanne …

Johnson County Courthouse

The Johnson County Courthouse, built in the 1930s, is located on the corner of Fulton and Main streets in downtown Clarksville (Johnson County). The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program recognizes the three-story building as architecturally and historically significant as a courthouse built in the Depression era and for its impressive elegance. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on June 14, 1991. In 1934, the Great Depression had its grip on the United States, and northwestern Arkansas was not immune. The wave of public works construction brought about by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his New Deal provided jobs for many Americans, with new federal appropriations bringing wages and stabilizing unemployment. The people of Johnson County took advantage …

Jones, Fay

aka: Euine Fay Jones
aka: E. Fay Jones
Fay Jones was an internationally known architect from Arkansas who won the American Institute of Architects’ highest honor, the AIA Gold Medal, in 1990. From his small studio in Fayetteville (Washington County), he practiced architecture from 1954 to 1998. He designed 218 projects, encompassing residential buildings, educational and commercial buildings, chapels, pavilions, and intricate metal structures. The most acclaimed of Jones’s buildings is Thorncrown Chapel in Eureka Springs (Carroll County). Of the 218 projects for which records exist, 129 projects were built; eighty-four were built in Arkansas. Euine Fay Jones was born in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) on January 31, 1921, to Euine Fay Jones and Candie Alston Jones. The family moved to El Dorado (Union County), where Jones grew …

Jones, Willa Saunders

Willa Saunders Jones grew up in Little Rock (Pulaski County) during the first decades of the twentieth century before moving to Chicago, Illinois, where she became a prominent religious and cultural leader. Her crowning achievement was a passion play (a dramatization of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection), which she wrote in the 1920s and produced for more than five decades in churches and eventually prestigious civic theaters. The play featured top musical talent, including Dinah Washington and Jones’s close friend Mahalia Jackson, and drew support from such prominent figures as the Reverend Jesse Jackson Sr. and Chicago mayor Richard J. Daley. Her success in music as a soloist, accompanist, and choral director and in drama stemmed from early experiences in …

Joplin, Scott

Known as the “King of Ragtime,” Scott Joplin composed more than forty ragtime piano pieces, including “Maple Leaf Rag” (which sold more than a million copies) and “The Entertainer” (which was used in the 1973 film The Sting). He spent his formative years in Texarkana (Miller County), and his major opera, Treemonisha, is set in the plantation area of Rondo (Miller County) north of Texarkana. Scott Joplin was born on November 24, 1867 or 1868, near Marshall, Texas. His father, Giles, was a former slave, and his mother, Florence, was a freed woman from Kentucky. The family moved to Texarkana early in Joplin’s life so that his father could obtain work on the railroad. Joplin showed an early interest in …

Jordan, Louis Thomas

Louis Thomas Jordan—vocalist, bandleader, and saxophonist—ruled the charts, stage, screen, and airwaves of the 1940s and profoundly influenced the creators of rhythm and blues (R&B), rock n’ roll, and post–World War II blues. Louis Jordan was born on July 8, 1908, in Brinkley (Monroe County). His father, Dardanelle (Yell County) native James Aaron Jordan, led the Brinkley Brass Band; his mother, Mississippi native Adell, died when Louis was young. Jordan studied music under his father and showed promise in horn playing, especially clarinet and saxophone. Due to World War I vacancies, young Jordan joined his father’s band himself. Soon, he was good enough to join his father in a professional traveling show—touring Arkansas, Tennessee, and Missouri by train, instead of …

June Sandidge House

The June Sandidge House is an English Revival–style home located in Gurdon (Clark County). Constructed in 1935, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places on February 25, 1993. Gurdon was founded in 1880 on the Cairo and Fulton Railroad. The town grew as more rail lines were constructed in the area and large-scale timber operations began. June Sandidge worked as a signalman on the railroad and resided in Gurdon with his wife, Beatrice Sandidge, and their six children. The family name also appears as Sandedge in some records. Originally from Missouri, the family resided in Illinois before moving to Arkansas. Sandidge purchased four lots in the Wright’s Park Addition in 1935 and began construction on the house …