Entries - Entry Category: Arts - Starting with P

P. D. Burton House

The 1916 Craftsman-style P. D. Burton House, located at 305 Chestnut Street in Lewisville (Lafayette County), was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1998. The home exhibits the bulk of its original detailing on the exterior and interior. A rear bedroom addition is the only alteration to the house. Percy Duffield (P. D.) Burton arrived in Lewisville, a major timber town, with his father, Major John Benjamin Burton, after the Civil War. Percy attended college in Fayetteville (Washington County) and then became a contract tie-purchaser with the St. Louis, Arkansas and Texas Railway, commonly called the Cotton Belt, which had constructed lines in the area beginning in 1882. Percy and his brother John began purchasing land around Lewisville …

Palace Theatre

The Palace Theatre is the oldest building of its kind in Saline County and one of three original movie theaters in Benton (Saline County). It was erected in 1919 at 224 West South Street for a reported cost of $60,000. Originally, the Palace was owned by C. H. (Charley) Womack and was hailed as “The Show Place of the South” by the Benton Courier in 1920. It was listed on the Arkansas Register of Historic Places in 2014. After World War I, three silent movie theaters were built in Benton: Alice Wooten’s Independent Motion Pictures (IMP) Theater, now the Royal Theatre on South Market Street; the Victory Theatre at 104 West South Street, now a barbershop; and finally the Palace. …

Palmer, Bob

aka: Robert Franklin Palmer Jr.
Robert Franklin (Bob) Palmer Jr. was an author, music critic, musician, ethnomusicologist, lecturer, record producer, and documentary filmmaker, not to be confused with the British rock singer of the same name. Critic Greil Marcus called Palmer “one of the few distinguished pop music critics to come out of the South.” Bob Palmer was born on June 19, 1945, in Little Rock (Pulaski County) to teacher/pianist Robert F. Palmer Sr. and award-winning poet and freelance writer Marguerite Bowers Palmer. He grew up in the lower Pulaski Heights area of Little Rock. He had one sister, a half brother, and a half sister. From an early age, Palmer had his ear to the radio. Unbeknownst to his parents, the teenaged Palmer sometimes …

Palmer’s Folly

aka: John C. Palmer House
Palmer’s Folly was an elaborate Italianate-style residence built near Blackton (Monroe County) in the Arkansas Delta by prominent Helena (Phillips County) lawyer John C. Palmer in the early 1870s. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places on May 4, 1976, the building burned to the ground in May 2013 while it was being restored. John Coleman Palmer was born in Lexington, Kentucky, on May 12, 1823. He studied law and graduated from Transylvania University in Lexington in 1845. In September of that year, he moved to Helena and established a law firm. A year later, he served as a sergeant in the Phillips County company of the First Arkansas Mounted Rifles during the Mexican War, fighting at the Battle …

Paris Post Office

The Paris Post Office in Paris (Logan 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. Built in 1938, the post office 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 Paris, the seat of the eastern district of Logan County. A month later, Postmaster General James A. Farley and …

Paris, Twila

aka: Twila Inez Paris Wright
Twila Inez Paris Wright is a prolific contemporary Christian singer, songwriter, pianist, and author who lives in Fayetteville (Washington County). She is the winner of ten Gospel Music Association (GMA) Dove Awards and three American Songwriter Awards and has hundreds of published and recorded songs to her credit. Hymns and choruses she has composed have appeared in such widely varying hymn collections as the United Methodist Hymnal and the Baptist Hymnal, as well as those of various Pentecostal and non-denominational churches. Twila Paris was born on December 28, 1958, in Fort Worth, Texas, one of four children of Oren Paris II, the founder of Youth With A Mission ministries and Ecclesia College in Springdale (Washington and Benton counties), and Rachel …

Park, Neil Hamill

Neil Hamill Park was one of the first professionally trained and licensed landscape architects to practice in Arkansas and was instrumental in the introduction of the discipline of landscape architecture to the state. In his long career, he shaped many significant landscapes, particularly in Little Rock (Pulaski County). His diverse career vividly reflected many of the significant economic and cultural shifts from the 1920s through the 1970s. Neil Hamill Park was born in Lansing, Michigan, on May 12, 1904, to Agnes Hamill Park and Elijah Crane Park. In 1912, the family moved to Parkin (Cross County), where Agnes Hamill Park had been transferred to manage the Lansing Company; she subsequently became a noted community leader, spearheading efforts to bring electricity, …

Parker-Hickman Farm Historic District

The Parker-Hickman Farm Historic District is located four miles south of Jasper (Newton County) and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on August 11, 1987. It encompasses 195 acres and over a dozen buildings related to farming. Eight structures built from the 1850s to 1955 arranged roughly in a rectangle make up the intact farmstead. This exemplary cluster of barns, sheds, smokehouse, privy, and house represents a cross-section and range of rural vernacular architecture in the original location. The farmstead, which has remained in good condition, has been continuously occupied and maintained since the 1850s. Each of the eight farmstead structures was crafted of timber harvested locally using Appalachian-style design elements. These architectural elements include rough-sawn timber …

Parler, Mary Celestia

Mary Celestia Parler was responsible for developing and implementing the most extensive folklore research project in Arkansas history. She was a professor of English and folklore at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) and the wife of noted Ozark folklore collector Vance Randolph. Through her vast knowledge and appreciation of Arkansas culture, she enabled many future generations to glimpse the state’s cultural history, much of which remains only in the stories, songs, and images she collected with the help of her students and assistants. Mary Parler was born on October 6, 1904, in Wedgefield, South Carolina, the daughter of a country doctor and farmer, Marvin Lamar Parler, and a local historian, writer, and teacher, Josie Platt Parler. Mary had …

Patteson House

Located on approximately five acres to the southeast of Jonesboro (Craighead County) at 2801 Harrisburg Road, the Patteson House was built in 1961–1962 and designed in the Mid-Century Modern style by Arkansas architect F. Eugene Withrow. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on January 23, 2020. Alan Patteson Jr. was born in Jonesboro and attended the University of Missouri in Columbia. His occupations included farming and cotton ginning, as well as owning and operating AM/FM radio stations in Jonesboro for thirty-five years. His wife, Carol, was originally from Long Island, New York, and she and her family moved to Memphis, Tennessee, when she was sixteen. She graduated from Hutchison Girls School in Memphis and Stephens College …

Paul Laurence Dunbar High School

aka: Dunbar Junior and Senior High School and Junior College
Dunbar Junior and Senior High School and Junior College, located at the corner of Wright Avenue and Ringo Street in Little Rock (Pulaski County), is significant in four areas: African-American history, education history, legal history, and architecture/engineering achievement. From 1929 to 1955, Dunbar offered a comprehensive education for black students in Little Rock. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. Known historically as a Rosenwald School and funded in part by Julius Rosenwald—president of Sears, Roebuck and Company—Dunbar Junior and Senior High School and Junior College was completed in 1929 as the Negro School of Industrial Arts. It was part of a comprehensive nationwide program, funded primarily by Rosenwald, to improve the quality of …

Payne, “Sunshine” Sonny

aka: John William Payne
“Sunshine” Sonny Payne was the longtime host of King Biscuit Time, the radio program broadcast on KFFA 1360 AM in Helena (Phillips County) (now Helena-West Helena) that has done much to popularize blues music. As blues journalist Don Wilcock wrote, “Sunshine Sonny Payne exists totally outside the boundaries that define and confine most of society. That he loves blues music and the people…all people…who make it and that he has a vehicle for expressing that love to thousands who then in turn influence millions makes the contribution of his cherub wisdom and good humor of incalculable value.” Sonny Payne was born John William Payne on November 29, 1925, to Gladys Swope Payne and William G. Payne, in Helena (Phillips County). …

Peel Mansion Museum and Heritage Gardens

The Peel Mansion Museum and Heritage Gardens preserve the Colonel Samuel W. Peel House, constructed in 1875 and located at 400 South Walton Boulevard in Bentonville (Benton County). The house remains a remarkably good example of the Italianate style of architecture, in spite of the later covering of the main body of the house with stucco. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on May 4, 1995. A native of Arkansas, Samuel Peel was a Civil War veteran who, by the conflict’s end, had risen to the rank of colonel in the Fourth Regiment, Arkansas Infantry. Peel was penniless at the close of the war and set on a career in law immediately after his discharge. He was …

Perry County Courthouse

The Perry County Courthouse was built in 1888 as a two-story brick building with very little decoration. This architectural look gives it a Plain Traditional style with extremely restrained Colonial Revival influences. The land for the courthouse was donated by John Huston and John Greathouse in 1841, with the stipulation that Perryville must be made the permanent seat of Perry County. A log courthouse was built on the site immediately. This first courthouse lasted approximately seven years, until 1848, when it was burned to the ground during a feud between the McCool and Lively families. (Some sources say it burned in 1850.) Another log courthouse was built on the site; it was known to be standing in 1889. Sometime in the …

Perryman, Lloyd Wilson

Lloyd Wilson Perryman was a member of the country and western group Sons of the Pioneers for more than four decades, appearing in dozens of movies and selling millions of records. An accomplished guitarist and singer, Perryman was a fixture in Hollywood from the mid-1930s until his death. Lloyd Perryman was born in Ruth (Fulton County) on January 29, 1917, to Samuel and Sally Perryman. He had eight older brothers and sisters. His family also lived in Zion (Izard County), where they farmed and owned a general store, prior to moving to California in 1928 when Perryman was eleven years old. There, Perryman learned to play the guitar and became involved with music while in high school. His first radio …

Peter Dierks Joers House

The Peter Dierks Joers House was built in 1955 by an heir to the Dierks Lumber Company family. Peter Dierks Joers and his wife, Elizabeth Howe Joers, were living near Oaklawn Park (now Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort) in Hot Springs (Garland County) in the early 1950s when they purchased ten acres from Hot Springs resident Mose Klyman for $10,000 to build a home for their growing family. Peter Dierks Joers was born on February 19, 1919, inKansas City,Missouri. After graduating from the U.S.Naval Academy and serving in the U.S. Navy, Joers went to work for Dierks Lumber and Coal Company in 1946. Joers served as vice president for the company. Bids for work at the Joers house date back to …

Phillips County Courthouse

The Phillips County Courthouse, located at 622 Cherry Street and completed in 1915, is in the heart of downtown Helena-West Helena (Phillips County). The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program recognizes the three-story building as architecturally and historically significant for its local standing and as the best example of the Classical Revival architecture in Phillips County. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on July 5, 1977. It stands in the Cherry Street Historic District. Located in what was once the city of Helena (which merged with the later city of West Helena in 2006), the old Phillips County Courthouse was built in 1869. The two-story building with a bell tower cost over $44,000. In 1911, Phillips County decided …

Phillips, Helen Ann Evans

Ceramist, sculptor, and teacher Helen Ann Evans Phillips played a major role in the development of contemporary crafts in Arkansas. Helen Evans was born on April 18, 1938, in Cincinnati, Ohio, to Harold S. Evans, a livestock dealer, and Lorna B. Evans, a homemaker. She grew up in Union City, Tennessee, and as a child spent much of her time around farm animals, drawing and making objects, as well as taking private art lessons. These early experiences influenced her sculpture later in life. She began teaching art in the Memphis City school system in 1959 before receiving her BS in painting and art education at Memphis State University in 1961. She married Joe Phillips, a medical student, science teacher, and …

Photography

Photography reached the Arkansas frontier in 1842, three years after the invention was announced to the world in Paris, France. For the first fifty years or so, photography as a science and an art was in flux; photographic processes changed, photographers moved to and from Arkansas, and many early practitioners remain unknown. Photographs were made on metal, glass, leather, and wood. Eventually, the collodion wet-plate process, in combination with albumen-coated photographic papers, became the process of choice, and photographers began to expand their interest beyond the portrait to other subject matter. Early photographers were versatile and adaptable, and their photographs played a strong role in preserving the cultural and historical heritage of Arkansas. Photography is defined as the act of …

Piggott Post Office

The Piggott Post Office at 119 North Third Street in Piggott (Clay County) is a one-story, brick-masonry building constructed in 1937–38 and featuring a mural created 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. The post office was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on August 14, 1998. Little documentation exists regarding the building of the Piggott Post Office, but by the time construction on the new Piggott Post Office was three-quarters complete on November 1, 1937, the Section decided to seek permission to commission a mural for the building. According to a December 17, 1937, memo from the Section to …

Pike County Courthouse

The Pike County Courthouse is located on Courthouse Square in the heart of downtown Murfreesboro (Pike County). It is situated along Highway 27 and is at the crossroads of the city. The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program recognizes the three-story building as architecturally and historically significant as the finest example of an Art Deco structure in Pike County. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on October 16, 1986. The current Pike County Courthouse is the fourth to stand on the site. According to a historical marker on the courthouse lawn, the first was a log structure. It was built in 1836, the year of Arkansas’s admittance into statehood, and served county affairs until a fire destroyed it …

Pike-Fletcher-Terry House

aka: Arkansas Arts Center Terry House Community Gallery
The Pike-Fletcher-Terry House, located at 411 East 7th Street in the MacArthur Park Historic District of Little Rock (Pulaski County), has been widely recognized as an architectural landmark since its construction in 1840. It has housed several prominent Arkansas families and served as a school and museum. It also was the meeting place for the Women’s Emergency Committee to Open Our Schools (WEC) during the aftermath of the desegregation of Little Rock Central High School in 1957. Although the house was remodeled several times, it retains much of its original Greek Revival character. The Pike-Fletcher-Terry house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on August 21, 1972. The builder of the house, Albert Pike, came to Arkansas from New …

Pilgrim, Cicero Osco

Cicero Osco Pilgrim was a self-taught African-American sculptor whose works express a highly personal and often humorous vision, showing little influence from African or European traditions. They have been collected by the Faulkner County Museum, numerous Conway families, and Hendrix College, where eleven items are on permanent display in the library. Cicero Pilgrim was born on December 4, 1927, into a black community near Wooster (Faulkner County). His mother was Beulah Wilson Walker Pilgrim; his father’s surname was Pilgrim, but his Christian name is unknown. Pilgrim’s education ceased after the third grade. On June 21, 1953, he married Lee Ethel McCray; they had eight children. On a small farm near his birthplace, he and his family raised farm animals, gardened, …

Pillow-Thompson House

aka: Jerome Bonaparte Pillow House
The Pillow-Thompson House is a Queen Anne–style house in Helena-West Helena (Phillips County). Constructed in 1896 by Jerome Bonaparte Pillow, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places on May 7, 1973. It is also known as the Jerome Bonaparte Pillow House. Designed by George Barber, the house is the only Victorian home in the state with full-wood construction with the exception of the fireplaces and foundation. The house faces south and has two stories with several towers, turrets, and dormer windows. The house is very ornate with an irregular shape. The front of the house has a veranda that extends around the east side of the home with another small porch located on the west side of …

Pine Bluff Street Historic District

The Pine Bluff Street Historic District is a residential area located in Malvern (Hot Spring County). The western edge of the district is the intersection of Pine Bluff Street and Gloster Court and concludes at 728 Pine Bluff Street, located between South Banks and McNeal streets. The district contains buildings on both the north and south sides of the street with the exception of a two-block section between Overman and Banks streets. The district was added to the National Register of Historic Places on February 16, 1999. At the time of the nomination, thirty-five buildings were included in the district, with twenty contributing structures. Two buildings that are individually listed on the National Register are included in the district: the …

Pocahontas Commercial Historic District

The Pocahontas Commercial Historic District is the historic downtown area of Pocahontas (Randolph County). This area has been the seat of local and county government, as well its commercial center, since the formation of the county in 1836. The commercial district is roughly bounded by Thomasville, Jordan, Broadway, and Vance streets. The downtown area comprises numerous historic buildings, including two courthouses, a service garage, a theater, a Works Progress Administration (WPA) post office, and the former city hall and city-function buildings, as well as other buildings currently utilized for modern business purposes. Both of the courthouses and the WPA post office are individually listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The center of the commercial district is dominated by …

Poinsett County Courthouse

The Poinsett County Courthouse—built in 1918—is located on Courthouse Square, a section of Harrisburg (Poinsett County) that features the city’s historic commercial district and a green space with a wooden gazebo. The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program recognizes the two-story building as architecturally and historically significant for its Classical Revival style and for its standing as the most impressive building in Poinsett County. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on November 3, 1989. The county’s first courthouse was located at Bolivar in 1839, the first county seat. A historical marker on the grounds tells how Benjamin Harris Sr., for whom Harrisburg was named, donated the land to the county to build a new courthouse when the seat …

Point of Grace

Point of Grace, which originated in Arkadelphia (Clark County) in 1990, is a female vocal trio—formerly a quartet—that sings contemporary Christian music. Three of the singers in Point of Grace—Denise Jones, Heather Floyd, and Terry Lang—were life-long friends from Norman, Oklahoma. They had sung together in their church choir and school musicals. The trio enrolled at Ouachita Baptist University (OBU) in Arkadelphia in 1988. While singing in the “Ouachitones,” an OBU-sponsored group, they met fellow student Shelley Phillips from North Little Rock (Pulaski County), and in 1991, they formed a quartet. Originally, the four named themselves Sayso from a biblical verse in Psalms: “Let the Redeemed of the Lord say so.” The quartet began singing at local churches, retreats, and other …

Pointer, Anita

Anita Marie Pointer is an original member of the singing group the Pointer Sisters. She started singing gospel in her father’s church in West Oakland, California, and went on to attain pop/R&B stardom. The group’s top-ten hits include the songs “Fire,” “Slow Hand,” “He’s So Shy,” “Jump (For My Love),” “Automatic,” “Neutron Dance,” and “I’m So Excited.” Anita Pointer was born on January 23, 1948, in Oakland, California, the fourth of six children (four of them daughters) of Elton Pointer and Sarah Elizabeth Silas Pointer. Her parents were Arkansas natives, and Pointer’s two older brothers, Fritz and Aaron, were born in Little Rock (Pulaski County). Shortly thereafter, their parents moved the family to Oakland. The family traveled by car almost …

Polk County Courthouse

The Polk County Courthouse is located at the foot of Rich Mountain, on the corner of Church and De Queen avenues in downtown Mena (Polk County). The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program recognizes the four-story building, built in 1939, as architecturally and historically significant for its Art Deco style and its stature as one of the most impressive structures in Polk County. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on November 20, 1992. The Polk County Courthouse is a standing result of New Deal policies as a product of the Works Progress Administration (WPA), which appropriated $110,000 for its construction. Architectural firm Haralson & Mott of Fort Smith (Sebastian County) designed it in the Art Deco style, which …

Porter, Art, Jr.

aka: Arthur Lee Porter Jr.
Arthur Lee (Art) Porter Jr. was an extremely talented musician proficient on saxophone, drums, and piano. He was an energetic, engaging entertainer and a creative composer whose work ranged across jazz, rhythm and blues, funk, and ballads. The son of legendary jazz musician Art Porter Sr., he released four albums through Polygram/Verve Records before his accidental death in 1996. Art Porter Jr. was born on August 3, 1961, in Little Rock (Pulaski County) to Thelma Pauline Porter and Arthur Porter Sr.; he had four siblings. Porter played alto saxophone in the Benkenarteg, Inc., sound group, which was composed of the five siblings. Porter was awarded the title of most talented young jazz artist in America by the Music Educators of …

Porter, Art, Sr.

aka: Arthur Lee Porter Sr.
Arthur Lee (Art) Porter Sr., referred to as an “Arkansas treasure,”was a pianist, composer, conductor, and music teacher. Though best known as a jazz musician, he also performed classical compositions and spirituals. Some of his more memorable performances include two gubernatorial inaugurations for Governor Bill Clinton. Joined by Art Porter Jr. on saxophone, he performed at President Clinton’s Inaugural Interfaith Prayer Service in January 1993 at one of the inaugural receptions in Washington DC. Porter was also responsible for entertaining many heads of state who visited Arkansas during the tenure of governors Dale Bumpers, David Pryor, and Jim Guy Tucker. He was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 1994. Art Porter was born on February 8, 1934, in Little …

Porter, Jim Skillern, Jr.

In the early 1960s, Jim Skillern Porter Jr. was a leader in integrating the music venues in Little Rock (Pulaski County), and he produced Arkansas’s first integrated-seating concert. Later that decade, he operated Arkansas’s first integrated country club, the Riverdale Club, offering golf, tennis, swimming, dining, and dancing. (The name is not to be confused with Riverdale Country Club, whose members had previously moved west and formed Pleasant Valley Country Club.) During the two years the club was open (1968–1970), integrated groups played jazz nightly to full houses. Porter continued his work as a booking agent, trying to interest other venues in hiring integrated groups. Jim Porter Jr. was born on September 1, 1932, in Little Rock to James Skillern Porter …

Post Office Art

Arkansas has nineteen Depression-era works of art created for U.S. post office buildings. Two are sculpture bas-reliefs, and seventeen are paintings. In addition, another painting was destroyed in a post office fire, and one was never installed and was lost during World War II. The art was part of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal and was created to reflect life in the United States at the time and to honor hard work. During a time of national economic crisis and with the specter of World War II on the horizon, images of strong workers, productive farmers, and determined pioneers were intended by Roosevelt to reassure and motivate Americans. The goal was to remind Americans of their history at a time …

Poteau Work Center

The Poteau Work Center is located east of Waldron (Scott County) along Highway 80. The work center building was constructed circa 1939 by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 20, 1993. The building was constructed by members of the 1707th Company of the Arkansas CCC District, which was stationed at the Waldron Camp located fourteen miles to the east. It was built as the repair and maintenance shop for the Poteau Ranger District of the Ouachita National Forest. The building, along with the residence in the same location, was built as the headquarters for the district, which extends westward into Oklahoma. It is significant for its association with …

Pottery

Pottery has been produced in Arkansas from prehistoric times up to the present day. Of note are prehistoric Native American wares from the Woodland Period beginning 2,500 years ago and the prehistoric and historic Caddo pottery tradition that flourished from AD 800 to 1660. Commercial manufacturing and regional ware made by the Ouachita Pottery in Hot Springs (Garland County), the Hyten Pottery (later the Eagle Pottery) in Benton (Saline County), Camden Art and Tile Company in Camden (Ouachita County), and the Dryden Potteries, Inc., in Hot Springs have their roots in the American art pottery movement of the late nineteenth century and the American Craft movement of the early twentieth century. Smaller production studios evolved after the Korean War, and …

Powell, Nathan Lee (Nate)

Nathan Lee (Nate) Powell, winner of a National Book Award and an Eisner Award, is a New York Times bestselling graphic novelist. He is best known for his graphic novels Swallow Me Whole and Any Empire, which he wrote and illustrated, as well as the March series of graphic novels, co-written by Congressman John Lewis, for which he provided the art. Nate Powell was born in Little Rock (Pulaski County) on July 31, 1978. He grew up as an ardent comics fan in North Little Rock (Pulaski County), reading such titles as The ’Nam, Transformers, X-Men, Daredevil, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Appleseed, and G.I. Joe. In the 1990s, Powell became involved in the DIY (do-it-yourself) punk subculture, self-publishing a zine …

Powhatan Courthouse

The Powhatan Historic Courthouse is located in the Powhatan Historic State Park, a stretch of a nineteenth-century river port town, and represents the rich judicial history and healthy commerce of northeastern Arkansas. It stands on a hill overlooking the Black River, not far from a collection of buildings that Arkansas State Parks also controls: the Powhatan Jail, the Ficklin-Imboden House, a commercial building, and the Powhatan Male and Female Academy. The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program recognizes the courthouse as significant for Lawrence County’s history, while also serving as a good example of historic preservation. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on February 16, 1970. In 1869, Lawrence County voters approved moving their county seat from the …

Powhatan Jail

The Powhatan Jail was built in 1873 in Powhatan (Lawrence County) and is one of the few nineteenth-century jails still standing in Arkansas. The jailhouse was constructed as a companion building to the nearby courthouse. Originally, it was built with six cells, each quite large. The cells, built from strap iron and assembled by a riveted structure in a lattice pattern, were shipped in from Ohio by steamboat. John D. Edwards designed both the Powhatan Jail and first courthouse. This jail is thought to be the first jailhouse in Lawrence County built from locally extracted stone. The jailhouse’s design is common for nineteenth-century architecture, with the front third of the building intended to have a jail keeper’s residence. However, the residence …

Prairie County Courthouse, Northern District

The Prairie County Courthouse, located in downtown Des Arc (Prairie County), governs county affairs in the northern half of Prairie County. DeValls Bluff (Prairie County), which has its own courthouse, is the county’s other seat of government. The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program recognizes the two-story courthouse in Des Arc for its Georgian architecture and stature as one of the most impressive buildings in Prairie County. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on April 18, 1977. Des Arc was destroyed during the Civil War when Union soldiers dismantled the town for materials to use for its base in DeValls Bluff. By 1875, citizens had rebuilt Des Arc after Prairie County designated it as the county seat, replacing …

Prairie County Courthouse, Southern District

The Prairie County Courthouse governing the southern half of the county is located on the corner of Magnolia and Prairie streets in DeValls Bluff (Prairie County). The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program recognizes the two-story building as historically significant as a visible result of the New Deal and the only known building the Works Progress Administration (WPA) constructed in Prairie County. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on April 20, 1992. In 1885, county administrators declared DeValls Bluff a second county seat to service the southern half of Prairie County, leaving the courthouse in Des Arc to govern the northern half. Several counties in Arkansas have a similar arrangement by which a county is split into districts, …

Preller, Hugo and Gayne

Hugo Arthur Preller (1865–1950) and Gayne Avey Preller (1874–1958) owned a floating portrait studio and traveled along the Mississippi River and White River from 1898 to 1950. They took photographs of Arkansans while living in different towns along the rivers. Hugo Preller was also a gunsmith, watchmaker, writer, and painter. Gayne Preller took most of the photos inside the studio, while her husband took the outdoor photos.  Hugo Arthur Preller was born in 1865 in Weimer, Germany. Gayne Laura Avey was born in 1874 in Kentucky. Hugo was sent to the United States in the late 1800s by his parents to escape the potential war environment. He arrived in America when he was seventeen years old and spoke only German. …

Prescott City Jail

The Prescott City Jail is located in an alley behind city hall in Prescott (Nevada County). Constructed from concrete in 1912, the structure was added to the National Register of Historic Places on September 28, 2005. Nevada County was formed in 1871, and Prescott was platted in 1873 when the Cairo and Fulton Railroad passed through the area. Incorporated in 1874, it became the county seat three years later. Little crime was reported in the early decades of the county. A jail was constructed on the courthouse lawn in 1896. By 1911, the building was no longer usable. That year, the home of a city council member was burgled, and while the thief was captured, he escaped from the jail …

Presley, Elvis (Arkansas Performances of)

Elvis Presley started his meteoric musical career in 1954 in Memphis, Tennessee, recording for Sam Phillips’s Sun Records. His style of music—combining country (called hillbilly in those days), gospel, blues, pop crooning, and rhythm and blues with his unique singing and dancing talents—can truly be said to have originated a particular brand of rock ‘n’ roll later dubbed rockabilly by music critics and DJs. His music career blossomed a second time in 1968 when he made a comeback after several years in the Hollywood doldrums. His second rise to fame and fortune continued until his death at his Graceland estate in Memphis on August 16, 1977, at the age of forty-two. Elvis’s presence in Arkansas has three general phases. First …

Presley, Luther G.

Luther G. Presley was a music teacher, song director, and prolific writer of gospel songs who has been credited with writing more than 1,100 hymns. His best-known song is most likely “When the Saints Go Marching In,” for which he wrote the lyrics in 1937 (the melody was written by Virgil O. Stamps). Luther Presley was born in Faulkner County on March 6, 1887, to James Thomas Presley and Nancy Ann Brooks Presley. He was educated in Faulkner County’s public schools. Presley attended his first singing school at the age of fourteen, under the direction of M. W. Beckett, and taught at his first singing school at the age of eighteen. Presley continued his musical education, and according to a 2005 …

Price, Florence Beatrice Smith

Florence Beatrice Smith Price was the first African-American female composer to have a symphonic composition performed by a major American symphony orchestra. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra performed her Symphony in E Minor on June 15, 1933, under the direction of Frederick Stock. The work was later performed at the Chicago World’s Fair as part of the Century of Progress Exhibition. Florence Smith was born in Little Rock (Pulaski County) on April 9, 1887, to James H. Smith and Florence Gulliver Smith. Her father was a dentist in Little Rock, while her mother taught piano and worked as a schoolteacher and a businesswoman. As a child, Smith received musical instruction from her mother, and she published musical pieces while in high …

Pulaski County Courthouse

The Pulaski County Courthouse, located at 405 Markham Street, is in the heart of downtown Little Rock (Pulaski County). Two distinct buildings make up the Pulaski County Courthouse: a Romanesque Revival completed in 1889 and a Beaux Arts structure completed 1914. The styles are divergent from each other and symbolize different eras in Little Rock’s history. The Pulaski County Courthouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places on October 18, 1979. The 1889 building was the first permanent courthouse in the county and was meant to demonstrate Arkansas’s growing prominence. Along with a new seat of justice, the city installed a water system in 1885, and the first paved streets were introduced in 1887. Little Rock and Pulaski …