Entries - Entry Category: Arts - Starting with L

LaBeef, Sleepy

aka: Thomas Paulsley LaBeff
Sleepy LaBeef was a rockabilly musician who performed in the United States, Canada, and Europe for more than fifty years. He shared the stage with a long list of greats, including Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, Kenny Rogers, and Glen Campbell. Sometimes called the Human Jukebox, he is said to have been able to play as many as 6,000 songs. Sleepy LaBeef was born Thomas Paulsley LaBeff (the family name was originally LaBoeuf) in the oil-boom town of Smackover (Union County) on July 20, 1935, the youngest of ten children. His family owned a farm, raising livestock and growing cotton and watermelons, before selling the land to be drilled for oil. He got the nickname “Sleepy” in the first grade because …

Lafayette County Courthouse

The Lafayette County Courthouse is an early 1940s-era Art Deco building built with funds from the Works Progress Administration (WPA). It is known as the first Art Deco building in Lafayette County, though its style also heavily incorporates WPA Moderne. The Lafayette County Courthouse is located at 1 Courthouse Square in Lewisville (Lafayette County). The current Lafayette County Courthouse is the fourth courthouse to be built in Lewisville. Several years after the first courthouse was constructed, the railroad was built south of the town. The city of Lewisville began to build southward toward the railroad, and a second courthouse was constructed in the newer part of town in 1890. Fourteen years later, another courthouse was built to replace it. Finally, from …

Lake Village Post Office

The Lake Village Post Office at 206 South Cokley Street in Lake Village (Chicot County) is a one-story, brick-masonry structure designed in the Colonial Revival style of architecture. It features a mural financed through the U.S. Treasury Department’s Section of Painting and Sculpture (later renamed the Section of Fine Arts), a Depression-era stimulus project that promoted public art. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on August 14, 1998. In August 1937, Congress passed an appropriation bill providing a $23 million lump sum for construction of public buildings. Included in the allocation was $75,000 for a new post office for Lake Village, the seat of Chicot County. Though details of construction could not be located, the building …

Lakeport Plantation

The Lakeport Plantation house in Chicot County is Arkansas’s grandest remaining example of antebellum Greek Revival architecture. The plantation was established around 1831 by Joel Johnson, the scion of a large and prestigious Kentucky family. Johnson had sold his house and grist mill in Scott County, Kentucky, and set off for Chicot County. He purchased a tract of land southeast of Old River Lake (present-day Lake Chicot) just above a large oxbow curve in the river called American Bend. The plantation he developed there was named Lakeport after a nearby steamboat landing. For the next fifteen years, Johnson expanded his holdings in land and slaves and brought more land under cultivation. The soil produced abundantly, and slave-based plantation agriculture became …

Large Standing Figure: Knife Edge

aka: Standing Knife [Sculpture]
The sculpture Large Standing Figure: Knife Edge by the world-renowned British sculptor Henry Moore (1898–1986) stands in the courtyard of Union National Plaza on Capitol Avenue in the heart of downtown Little Rock (Pulaski County). This work was cast in bronze in 1976 and was purchased by Little Rock’s Metrocentre Commission, which placed it, in 1978, at Main Street and Capitol Avenue as the centerpiece of the Metrocentre downtown pedestrian mall project. It is considered among the state’s most noteworthy public sculptures based on its composition, which gives the sense of upward movement if not the suggestion of flight. In February 2018, it was announced that the sculpture would be moved into the Arkansas Arts Center upon the completion of …

Latimore Tourist Home

Located in Russellville (Pope County), the Latimore Tourist Home served African Americans from the 1940s until the 1970s as the only overnight accommodations available to them between Little Rock (Pulaski County) and Fort Smith (Sebastian County). Likely constructed around 1900, the house was added to the National Register of Historic Places on January 27, 2012. First appearing on fire insurance maps in 1913, the home began accommodating African-American travelers sometime before 1944. Operated by Eugene Latimore and Cora Wilson Latimore and their daughter Anna, the home offered short-term accommodations for African Americans, many of whom worked on the railroad. Eugene Latimore also worked as a veterinarian. The home appeared in the 1949 Negro Motorist Green Book (usually called simply the …

Lawrence County Courthouse

The Lawrence County Courthouse is located in Walnut Ridge (Lawrence County), within the city’s commercial district on Main Street. The building, completed in 1966, stands as one of the newer county seats of justice in Arkansas, with its cohorts erected largely at the end of the nineteenth century or during the New Deal era of the 1930s. The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program considers this mid-century building in the New Formalism style as architecturally and historically significant to Lawrence County’s legal history. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on September 28, 2015. In 1870, the Arkansas General Assembly split Lawrence County into two judicial districts to accommodate residents traveling long distances for county business. Legislators designated Walnut …

Lawrence, Marjorie Florence 

Marjorie Florence Lawrence, an Australian native and star soprano with the Metropolitan Opera Company of New York City, became an exemplar for endurance when she rebuilt her career after being stricken by poliomyelitis (commonly known as polio). Despite the professional opinion that she would never sing again, she started over, first by singing from a wheelchair or platform, and then by managing to stand and sing. The subject of an Oscar-winning motion picture, Interrupted Melody, she later taught at Sophie Newcomb College at Tulane University and for an extended time at Southern Illinois University (SIU) at Carbondale. Beginning in 1941, Lawrence lived outside of Hot Springs (Garland County) and held summer opera coaching sessions at her ranch, Harmony Hills, which advanced …

Lawrence, Tracy Lee

With rural Arkansas beginnings, Tracy Lee Lawrence took Nashville, Tennessee, by storm in the early 1990s to become one of the most popular country recording artists of that decade. Lawrence quickly gained a fan base with his physical appeal, vocal ability, good-guy image, and succession of hit songs. Tracy Lawrence was born on January 27, 1968, in Atlanta, Texas. Reared by his stay-at-home mother, JoAnn Dickens, and his stepfather, Dwayne Dickens, a banker, Lawrence had two brothers and three sisters. In 1972, the Dickens family moved to Foreman (Little River County), where Lawrence sang in the choir of the local Methodist church and learned to play guitar. While his mother wanted him to become a Methodist minister, Lawrence aspired to …

Lawyers’ Row Historic District

Lawyers’ Row Historic District is a group of four buildings located on West Second Street in Malvern (Hot Spring County). Sitting to the northeast of the Hot Spring County Courthouse, the buildings are similar to one another in design and construction. Lawyers’ Row Historic District was added to the National Register of Historic Places on September 28, 2015, with three of the buildings listed as contributing structures. The district is located on the northeast side of West Second Street and runs between Locust Street and an unnamed alley parallel to Main Street. Cooper Funeral Home is located at 118 West Second Street at the corner with the alley. Constructed around 1910, the building was first occupied by an undertaker business. …

Leavy, Calvin James “Slim”

Calvin James “Slim” Leavy, vocalist and guitarist, recorded “Cummins Prison Farm,” a blues song that debuted on Billboard’s rhythm and blues chart on May 2, 1970, and stayed for five weeks, reaching No. 40. It was also the No. 1 song on the Memphis, Tennessee, station WDIA. Leavy was the first person charged under a 1989 Arkansas “drug kingpin law” targeting crime rings. Calvin Leavy was born on April 20, 1940, in Scott (Pulaski and Lonoke counties), the youngest son of fifteen children born to the musical family of Johnny Leavy and Cora James Leavy. Both parents sang in the church choir at Mount Lake Baptist Church in Scott, and several family members played musical instruments. Leavy started out singing …

Lee County Courthouse

The Lee County Courthouse is located on 15 East Chestnut Street, overlooking downtown Marianna (Lee County). The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program recognizes the two-story building as architecturally and historically significant, as it stands as a visible result of the New Deal policies of the 1930s and the best example of the Classical Revival style in the county. The National Park Service added it to the National Register of Historic Places on September 7, 1995. Marianna grew in both size and wealth after the establishment of Lee County in 1873, largely due to the rich agricultural land in the Arkansas Delta and commercial access to the Mississippi River. By the mid-1930s, Lee County needed a larger courthouse than the two-story brick …

Lester, Ketty

Ketty Lester is a singer and actress best known for her chart-topping single “Love Letters,” as well as her appearance in the cult classic film Blacula (1972). Lester was a regular on the daytime drama Days of Our Lives and was especially known for her long-running role on the TV series Little House on the Prairie. Ketty Lester was born Revoyda Frierson in Hope (Hempstead County) on August 16, 1934. She was one of fifteen children born to a farm family. Her interest and talent for music led to her singing at church and in school choirs. She won a scholarship to San Francisco City College in California, where she studied music. In San Francisco, she began singing professionally at …

Levon Helm Boyhood Home

The Levon Helm Boyhood Home in Marvell (Phillips County) is the preserved home in which musician Mark Lavon “Levon” Helm spent several years of his childhood. It was listed on the Arkansas Register of Historic Places on August 1, 2018. Levon Helm was born on May 26, 1940, in Elaine (Phillips County). He grew up in and around the town of Marvell, living and working on his family’s cotton farm in the small community of Turkey Scratch (Phillips County). Helm developed a lasting love for music during his childhood and achieved fame with the Band, serving as drummer, songwriter, and vocalist. He could also play the guitar and mandolin. He won two Grammy Awards and was inducted into the Rock …

Lewis, Kristin Allison

Opera singer Kristin Lewis of Little Rock (Pulaski County) is recognized for her richly hued voice capable of subtle emotional inflection. Based in Vienna, Austria, since 2005, Lewis has established herself in the opera houses of Europe as a lirico-spinto soprano specializing in Verdi’s heroines. She was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 2019. Kristin Lewis was born in Little Rock in 1975 to the Reverend Bettye Lewis and Dr. Raphael Lewis. Lewis credits her mother as one of her earliest musical influences, as Rev. Lewis played organ for church and encouraged Kristin in her musical pursuits. After graduating from high school, Lewis followed her older sister, Tamara Lewis, to the University of Central Arkansas (UCA) in Conway (Faulkner …

Lewis, Mary Sybil Kidd

Mary Sybil Kidd Lewis was possibly the most publicized singer of the 1920s. Using her childhood training, she climbed her way to grand opera, gaining stage experience through vaudeville and operetta. Her career included radio performances and recordings with His Master’s Voice (HMV), Victor, and RCA. Mary Kidd was born on January 29, 1897, in Hot Springs (Garland County) to Charles and Hattie Kidd. Her father died about the time her brother was born two years later. Her impoverished mother moved with the children to Dallas, Texas. After the children lived in a series of foster homes, her brother was sent to Chicago, Illinois, to live with relatives. Her mother remarried but was unable to care for her children, and …

Lewis, Paul Tyrone

Paul Tyrone Lewis was an American artist who is remembered for the realism of his landscape paintings. In a career that spanned six decades beginning in the 1950s, Lewis created compositions that were skillfully executed and sought after throughout the United States and internationally. Tyrone Lewis, as he was known, was born on November 29, 1938, in Mena (Polk County) to Paul Goodwin Lewis and Wynogene Hubbard Lewis. He had one sister. Lewis’s parents met during the Great Depression while Paul was employed on a Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) project near Mena. Wynogene’s family had migrated to that area from Fort Worth, Texas, where her father, Hans Heron Hubbard, was a well-known and respected artist in the 1920s. Painting was …

Liberty School Cafeteria

The Liberty School Cafeteria, located on Highway 36 in Hamlet (Faulkner County), is a single-story, novelty-sided building erected in 1928 to serve as a school building for the Liberty Special School District. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on September 10, 1992. School consolidation in Faulkner County in 1927 combined the Sunny Gap, Jeffries, Hamlet, Friendship, and Saltillo districts to form the Liberty School District in what is today the community of Hamlet. A new school was built in 1928 to provide classrooms for grades 1–9. While the National Register nomination says the building was erected in 1935 by the Works Progress Administration (WPA), a Depression-era federal relief program, the wood-frame building listed on the National …

Lile, James Buel

James Buel “The Arkansas Knifesmith” Lile is one of the most accomplished and famous custom knife makers in American history. He carved his first fixed-blade knife from wood at the age of eight, and by age eleven, he was grinding old files into fixed-blade knives. James Lile was born on August 22, 1933, in Russellville (Pope County) to Leona and Buel Lile. His father was a coal miner who later worked for Arkla after the mines closed, and his mother was a housewife who also worked twenty years at the Local International Shoe factory. In 1952, at the age of nineteen, Lile met and worked for Winthrop Rockefeller welding bull pens being built at the Mountain Top Ranch on Petit …

Lincoln Building

The Lincoln Building, located at the corner of South Main Street and 15th in Little Rock (Pulaski County), was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on August 5, 1994. Constructed in 1905 by C. J. Lincoln, a Little Rock drug wholesaler, the two-story red brick commercial building was designed for retail businesses on the first floor and living quarters in three apartments on the second floor. The Lincoln Building was the first commercial structure in the South Main Street Commercial Historic District (SMSCHD). It was designed in the Neoclassical style, a style which was continued in the Cohn Building at the southwest corner of 12thand South Main Street, the present-day home of Community Bakery. Originally, the corner entrance of …

Lincoln County Courthouse

The Lincoln County Courthouse is located on 300 Drew Street, south of downtown Star City (Lincoln County). The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program recognizes the two-story building as architecturally and historically significant as the sole example of the Art Deco style in Star City and perhaps all of Lincoln County. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on March 7, 1994. Before the construction of the standing courthouse, Lincoln County used a two-story brick building built in 1911. It was large, with its clock tower being its most distinctive feature. It was centered in downtown Star City, just a couple of city blocks away from its replacement, and it remained standing until 1962. Today, that site is a …

Lindquist, Evan Leroy

Evan Leroy Lindquist of Jonesboro (Craighead County) is an American artist who is renowned as an artist-printmaker and art educator. His works are in permanent collections of many major galleries across the United States and around the world. Evan Lindquist was born on May 23, 1936, in Salina, Kansas, to Elmer L. Lindquist and Linnette Shogren Lindquist. His father was a corporate officer for a chain of retail lumber firms, and his mother was a homemaker. In 1945, Lindquist’s family moved to Emporia, Kansas, where Lindquist built a calligraphy business while in junior high school, encouraged by his father, an expert in ornamental penmanship. The business included creating certificates and charters for national organizations. His calligraphy experience led to a …

Linton, Henri

Henri Linton has been recognized as one of the most talented artists working in the state of Arkansas. He has also served as chair of the art department at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB). Henri Linton was born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, in 1944. After discovering his artistic talents early, he soon began painting and visiting museums. To buy art supplies, he took on odd jobs such as painting signs and shining shoes. After entering a national art contest as a teenager, he won a four-year scholarship to the Columbus College of Art and Design in Ohio. Linton earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Boston University and a master’s degree in art from the University of Cincinnati …

Little River County Courthouse

The Little River County Courthouse is located on Main Street in the heart of Ashdown (Little River County). The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program recognizes the two-story building as architecturally and historically significant as one of the most impressive county courthouses in Arkansas and as the most prominent structure in Little River County. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on September 26, 1976. After voters moved Little River’s county seat from Rocky Comfort (Little River County) to Ashdown in 1906, the administration of Judge J. B. Arnett oversaw the construction of a new courthouse that began the following year. The county hired architect Sidney Stewart to design the building with the mission to solidify Ashdown’s claim as …

Little Rock Censor Board

aka: Little Rock Board of Censors
The Little Rock Censor Board operated in Arkansas’s capital city for nearly seventy years trying to regulate forms of entertainment—from literature to movies—to protect citizens from influences perceived to be immoral. As social mores changed and the legality of the board was challenged, it saw its influence diminish, until it quietly disbanded. In the early twentieth century, officials around the country attempted to censor salacious or obscene materials. For example, Memphis’s Board of Censors, created in 1911, was notorious for its harsh rulings, and Maryland established its censor board in 1916, which remained influential until its demise in 198l. The Little Rock Censor Board was created in 1911 by Mayor John S. Odom and the city council in response to …

Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site

Situated at the intersection of Daisy L. Gatson Bates Drive (formerly 14th Street) and Park Street in Little Rock (Pulaski County), the Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site, a unit of the National Park Service (NPS) since 1998, stands as one of the most significant landmarks of the civil rights movement. In 1957, during the desegregation of Central High School, nine African-American students—the Little Rock Nine—attended classes under federal protection amid internationally publicized protests, violence, and staunch opposition from Governor Orval Faubus and other segregationists. Originally known as Little Rock High School, the building was completed in 1927, replacing the outgrown all-white high school located at 14th and Cumberland streets. Classes for African-Americans were held at Dunbar High …

Living Sacrifice

  Living Sacrifice is a Christian death metal band from Little Rock (Pulaski County) that has paved the way for Christian metal as a genre. The group gets its name from the Bible, Romans 12:1, which reads: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.” Living Sacrifice was formed in 1989 by bassist and vocalist Darren (D. J.) Johnson, drummer Lance Garvin, and guitarist Bruce Fitzhugh. Guitarist Jason Truby joined the band shortly after its founding. Fitzhugh and Garvin are the only members to have stayed in the band throughout its many changes in membership and sound, …

Lockhart, James Leland

James Leland Lockhart was one of America’s foremost nature and wildlife artists and a notable illustrator during the second half of the twentieth century. His paintings are in many museums, including the Smithsonian Institution, and his commercial works were printed in leading national publications for clients such as Wrigley, Coca-Cola, and General Electric. James Lockhart was born on September 26, 1912, in Sedalia, Missouri, to Leland Lockhart and Nell Cockrill Lockhart. The family returned to its home in McGehee (Desha County), where Leland Lockhart worked as a Missouri Pacific Railroad engineer. James Lockhart’s parents divorced in 1920, and his mother moved to Little Rock (Pulaski County), while James remained in McGehee with his father. An only child in the backcountry …

Lockwood, Robert, Jr.

Robert Lockwood Jr. was a blues guitarist celebrated for his progressive, jazz-like style, his longevity, and his role in many major events in the development of the blues. He was the only person who learned guitar directly from the legendary Robert Johnson, who often lived with Lockwood’s mother during Lockwood’s formative years. These factors have made a paradox of Lockwood’s career. Although one of the most distinguished musicians of his time, Lockwood never prospered commensurately with his reputation. He was best known as an accompanist to more flamboyant stars, especially Sonny Boy Williamson and Little Walter Jacobs. Robert Lockwood Jr. was born on March 27, 1915, in Turkey Scratch, on the line between Phillips and Lee counties, twenty-five miles west of Helena (Phillips …

Logan County Courthouse, Eastern District

The Logan County Courthouse for the Eastern District is located in downtown Paris (Logan County). The courthouse square is bordered by Main, Express, Walnut, and Elm streets. The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program recognizes the two-story building as architecturally and historically significant as one of the most impressive structures in the county and as a landmark in Paris. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on July 30, 1976. After the county seat was moved to Paris from Reveille in 1875, many citizens of Logan County found the journey to Paris too troublesome due to mountainous terrain. In 1901, the Arkansas General Assembly split the county into two judicial districts for the citizens’ convenience. Paris was assigned the …

Logan County Courthouse, Southern District

The Logan County Courthouse for the Southern District, built in 1929, is located on the corner of 4th and Broadway in downtown Booneville (Logan County). The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program recognizes the three-story building as architecturally and historically significant as the sole local example of the Italian Renaissance Revival style. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on March 8, 1997. Since the establishment of Logan County, citizens in the county’s southern portion faced long routes to reach the county seat in Paris (Logan County). Those needed in court at the Logan County Courthouse in Paris or who had business with county administrations faced traveling over a mountain range that cuts the county in half. In 1901, …

Lono Gymnasium

The Lono Gymnasium, built in 1938 by the Works Progress Administration (WPA), is located at 11702 Highway 222 in the community of Lono (Hot Spring County), approximately twelve miles south of Malvern (Hot Spring County). The building was the gymnasium for the Lono School, and basketball was played for the first time in the new gym in 1939. It is comparable in style to other gymnasiums built by the WPA during the same time period in Arkansas. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on January 21, 2020. A school opened in Lono in the late nineteenth century. When the gymnasium was built in 1938 by the WPA, a Mr. Crow was the foreman for the job; …

Lonoke County Courthouse

The Lonoke County Courthouse is located at 301 Center Street in downtown Lonoke (Lonoke County). The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program recognizes the four-story building as architecturally and historically significant as an example of Classical architecture in Lonoke County. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on June 8, 1982. The present courthouse, constructed in 1928, is the third built in Lonoke County. The first, a frame structure, was built in 1873 and stood until 1881, when a fire destroyed it. The second was built in 1885 and stood until county administrators razed it after completion of the current courthouse on an adjacent site. Architect H. Ray Burks of Little Rock (Pulaski County) designed the new courthouse with …

Loy Kirksey House

The Loy Kirksey House is a dogtrot house near the community of Fendley (Clark County). It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on February 3, 1992. Fendley was popular with residents of nearby communities who visited the chalybeate spring in the area. The Kirksey family resided near Fendley by 1880. William Kirksey was born in 1874 and moved to the property around 1895. A building was standing on the property, likely dating to before the Civil War. It is likely that Kirksey lived in this building before he added on to it to create the complete home. The same year that he moved to the property, Kirksey married Lee Arena Deaton. The couple had at least four …

Lum and Abner Museum and Jot ‘Em Down Store

The two buildings that make up the Lum and Abner Museum and Jot ‘Em Down Store are the A. A. McKinzie General Store built in 1904 and the J. R. (Dick) Huddleston General Merchandise Store built in 1912 after fire damaged the 1909 structure. They stand on what was in the early twentieth century a crooked dirt road in the unincorporated community of Pine Ridge (Montgomery County). From 1931 to 1955, the Lum and Abner radio show was on the air, set in the Jot ‘Em Down Store in fictional Pine Ridge. In 1936, at the instigation of Dick Huddleston, the citizens of Waters changed the community’s name to Pine Ridge in honor of Lum and Abner. In the twenty-first …

Lustron Houses

After World War II, an influx of returning veterans created housing shortages throughout the country. These shortages led to several housing experiments, including the Lustron Corporation’s efforts to use steel and enameled steel for residential construction of prefabricated homes. Several of the homes were shipped to Arkansas to be built, and one that remains in Little Rock (Pulaski County) is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Lustron was the brainchild of Swedish-born inventor and engineer Carl Strandlund, who met in Washington DC with Wilson Wyatt of the Veterans Emergency Housing Program in 1946. Once the plans for the Lustron house were developed, Strandlund commissioned architects Morris H. Beckman and Roy Burton Blass to design the prototype house, which …