Entries - Entry Category: Arts - Starting with S

Saenger Theatre

The Saenger Theatre, which opened in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) on November 17, 1924, was called “The Showplace of the South” and made Pine Bluff an entertainment center for people in southeast Arkansas. It was one of over 300 such theaters the Saenger brothers built in the South during the 1920s, of which fewer than 100 remain. The Saenger Theatre is now owned and operated by a local non-profit agency, Old Towne Centre Theatres, Inc. It is located across the street from the Community Theatre on West 2nd Avenue. O. C. Hauber owned an old store building that he converted into the Hauber Theater in 1912. It changed hands twice and became the Saenger. It later burned due to a …

Saline County Courthouse

The Saline County Courthouse, located at 200 North Main Street, is in the historic commercial district of Benton (Saline County). The courthouse square is surrounded by Conway and Sevier streets, named after two Arkansas families that joined together to create an influential political faction in the nineteenth century called “the Family.” The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program recognizes the structure as architecturally and historically significant due to its Romanesque Revival architecture. The Saline County Courthouse, featured in the 1973 movie White Lightning because filmmakers considered it to be a typical Southern courthouse, is the third seat of justice in the county’s history. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on November 22, 1979. In 1836, William Woodruff, editor …

Salvest, John Joseph

John Joseph Salvest has gained national acclaim through his site-specific installations, object-based and performance art, and teaching. Salvest’s art is noted for exploring issues of time and mortality, the paradoxes of life, and the true and proverbial in literature. His success is evident through awards and solo exhibitions across the nation and a career that has spanned decades. Born on February 13, 1955, John Salvest was the oldest of three children born to John and Jeanne Salvest. He grew up in Kearny, New Jersey, and attended Regis High School in New York City, New York. He received a BA in English from Duke University in North Carolina in 1977, an MA in English from the University of Iowa in 1979, …

Sam Epstein House

The Sam Epstein House in Lake Village (Chicot County), constructed in 1910, was of historical and cultural significance on several counts. The wood-frame house itself was an interesting blend of Colonial Revival design with touches of Craftsman and Vernacular, primarily in the additions and the second story. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on September 21, 1992, but burned down approximately twenty years later, on June 30, 2012. Sam Epstein came to America from czarist Russia at the end of the nineteenth century. As a young adult, he moved to Memphis, Tennessee, with his brother Nathan and peddled a variety of goods between that city and the Louisiana border. Epstein left Memphis to become one of the …

Sanders, Pharoah

Pharoah Sanders is a noted jazz saxophonist who is recognized as a pioneer of the “free jazz” movement. Collaborations with artists such as Sun Ra and John Coltrane remain his most noted work, but his solo efforts stretch over five decades from 1964 to the present. Pharoah Sanders was born Ferrell Sanders on October 13, 1940, in Little Rock (Pulaski County). His mother worked as a cook in a school cafeteria, and his father worked for the City of Little Rock. An only child, Sanders began his musical career accompanying church hymns on clarinet. His initial artistic accomplishments were in art, and it was not until he was at Scipio Jones High School in North Little Rock (Pulaski County) that Sanders …

Sanders, Theodore Marcus

Theodore Marcus Sanders was an accomplished architect who designed a variety of buildings in Little Rock (Pulaski County) and other cities in Arkansas. Many of his buildings have been nominated to the National Register of Historic Places, including the Ada Thompson Memorial Home, the Woman’s City Club building, and the Cornish House—all in Little Rock. He was partner in the Thompson, Sanders and Ginocchio firm, which continues to operate in the twenty-first century as Cromwell Architects Engineers. Theodore Sanders was born in Little Rock on March 13, 1879, to Fred and Fannie Sanders. He was one of ten children. The family had settled in Little Rock in 1879 after a relative saved them from starvation on the family’s fledgling farm …

Sarah Bird Northrup Ridge House

The Sarah Bird Northrup Ridge House is the oldest house still standing in Fayetteville (Washington County), dating back to 1836. Its original pine flooring and field stone fireplaces have endured to the present. It was built with the latest methods of the time, including mortised construction, shake shingles, and square-headed nails. The original cabin style was called “dog-trot” or “dog-run” and consisted of two single rooms separated by an open passage called a breezeway. A common roof covered the two rooms and the breezeway. In later years, the house was made into two stories and converted to “salt box” style, and the breezeway was converted into a central hallway. The Ridge House, at 230 West Center, is now owned and …

Saunders, Michael Earl (Mike)

aka: "Metal Mike"
Little Rock (Pulaski County) native Michael Earl Saunders is the lead singer and guitarist of the Angry Samoans, a California-based band that formed in 1978 out of the first wave of American punk music. Saunders, a music journalist in earlier years, was also the first to use the term “heavy metal” to describe the musical genre. Mike Saunders (a.k.a. Metal Mike) was born on May 1, 1952, to Earl L. Saunders Jr., who was an architectural photographer, and Jean Cox Saunders, who was an office manager for Burns Security in Little Rock. He has one younger sibling. Saunders attended Hall High School in Little Rock, where he played trombone in the marching band. His first album review was published in …

Schnable, John Adams

Lieutenant Colonel John Adams Schnable was a noted Arkansas architect and engineer who designed and built Spring Mill and two rock bridges over Salado Creek in Independence County, as well as the Jacksonport (Jackson County) courthouse in Jackson County. He was a Civil War veteran and one of the few German immigrants who fought on the side of the Confederacy. John Schnable (name spelling varies) was born on June 11, 1817, in the German Confederation shortly after its creation in 1815 by the Congress of Vienna. Researchers are unsure about the names of his parents. He was directly involved in the Revolution of 1848 and, as a result, migrated to the United States and arrived in Virginia in 1851, where …

Scipio A. Jones House

The Scipio A. Jones House is a 1928 Craftsman-style residence on Cross Street in Little Rock (Pulaski County) that was the home of Scipio Africanus Jones, a renowned African-American attorney, and his second wife, Lillie. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on May 28, 1999. Jones was born a slave in 1863 near Tulip (Dallas County). Moving to Little Rock around 1881, he attended Walden Seminary (now Philander Smith College) in Little Rock and Bethel Institute (now Shorter College) in North Little Rock (Pulaski County) before passing the bar in 1889. Jones would practice law in Little Rock for the remainder of his life, with his most noteworthy case being the defense of the so-called Elaine …

Scott, Cynthia

Cynthia Scott is a Grammy-nominated jazz vocalist known for her work as one of Ray Charles’s “Raelettes” and for her subsequent solo career. She was named Jazz Ambassador for the U.S. Department of State in 2004 and was Wynton Marsalis’s choice for the first person to give a concert in the Lincoln Center’s Rose Room. She was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 2016. Cynthia Scott was born on July 20, 1951 (some sources say 1952), to the Reverend Sam Scott and Artelia Scott in El Dorado (Union County), the tenth of twelve children—six boys and six girls. She began singing at age four in her father’s church but exposed her ear to secular music by sneaking …

Scott, Dortha Delena Shaw

Dortha Delena Shaw Scott of Mount Ida (Montgomery County) created the design for the Arkansas quarter. Her design was chosen from among more than 9,300 entries in a statewide contest by a panel of ten judges and Governor Mike Huckabee. The final design was unveiled to the public on October 7, 2002, at the Old State House in Little Rock (Pulaski County). The quarter officially entered circulation October 28, 2003, at Murfreesboro (Pike County). Dortha Shaw was born on January 11, 1936, near Mount Ida. Her parents were Henry and Carrie (Manley) Shaw. Henry Shaw, who died on September 7, 1936, was a carpenter most of his life, and Carrie Shaw was a homemaker. Dortha had five siblings: Gene, Helen, …

Scott, James Powell

James Powell Scott was a prominent mid-twentieth-century American artist and art educator. He began studying, producing, and teaching art in Arkansas. Now best remembered for his lithographs, watercolors, and oil paintings on canvas, Scott has works in the collections of major regional and national art museums, including the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC. James Powell Scott, the second of three sons, was born to Wellington Friend Scott and Sarah Powell Scott on April 22, 1909, in Lexington, Kentucky. He attended public schools in Kentucky and in Arkansas after his family moved to Little Rock (Pulaski County). In 1928, Scott graduated from Little Rock High School. Scott studied art fundamentals with Adrian Brewer, a popular Little Rock artist and …

Seals, Frank “Son”

Frank “Son” Seals was a singer who became a driving force behind a brief but stormy rejuvenation of the blues throughout the mid- to late 1970s. For three decades, he dominated the Chicago blues as no one has since. Son Seals was born on August 13, 1942, in Osceola (Mississippi County). His father was musician Jim “Son” Seals. He acquired the nickname “Son” while a child in Osceola. Seals came to the blues early. He grew up in a juke joint operated by his father, who had been a member of the Rabbit Foot Minstrels. Juke joint the Dipsey Doodle featured some of the greatest of all blues performers, including Albert King, Robert Nighthawk, and Sonny Boy Williamson. The Dipsey Doodle …

Searcy County Courthouse

The Searcy County Courthouse is in the historic commercial district of Marshall (Searcy County). Built in 1889, this two-story building, made of stone native to the area, stands as one of the oldest courthouses in Arkansas. The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program recognizes the courthouse as architecturally and historically significant as an outstanding example of an Arkansas Adamesque building. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 12, 1976. Since Searcy County turned eleven acres into its county seat in 1856, three courthouses have managed local affairs. The first was a log cabin, one of the few structures in town at that time along with a two-story hotel, a mercantile store, and a collection of houses. At …

Sebastian County Courthouse

aka: Fort Smith City Hall
The Sebastian County Courthouse stands at 100 South 6th Street, less than a mile from the Fort Smith National Cemetery, in the heart of the frontier city of Fort Smith (Sebastian County). The white, Art Deco–style courthouse is home to one of the county’s two seats of justice (the other is in Greenwood) as well as Fort Smith’s City Hall. This is the only public building in Arkansas that has this dual purpose. The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program recognizes the building for its historical significance due to its New Deal–era construction, as well as its architectural attributes. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on June 8, 1993. After Sebastian County’s establishment in 1851, citizens of the …

Segraves, Warren Dennis

Warren Dennis Segraves was an architect who practiced in Fayetteville (Washington County). He was among the first designers in northwestern Arkansas to promote and utilize the International-style mode of modernism in his work. Warren Segraves was born on November 7, 1924, in Oskaloosa, Kansas, to Samuel Patrick Segraves and Velma Dennis Segraves. The family moved to Fayetteville when he was a small child. At age eighteen, Segraves enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps. Serving as a bombardier in the European Theater during World War II, he earned the rank of captain. In 1946, Segraves married Rhea Ash, his childhood friend and Fayetteville High School classmate. After his marriage, and while working for his father-in-law’s trucking company, he enrolled at the University …

Sellers, Barney

Professional photographer Barney Sellers, a native of Walnut Ridge (Lawrence County), accumulated many honors in his lifetime, including a nomination for the Pulitzer Prize in 1973. His photographs of Arkansas barns, old houses, and rural scenes attracted many fans of his work and aspiring followers to northeastern Arkansas and the Ozarks. Born on March 28, 1926, to John and Edith Sellers, Barney Bryan Sellers was the younger of two sons. He grew up in Walnut Ridge, where he graduated from high school in 1944. Following high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy, where he served two years aboard the USS De Haven. In the navy, he served in an administrative capacity and advanced to the rank of yeoman third …

Sentinel of Freedom

The most famous painting by Arkansas artist Adrian Louis Brewer (1891–1956), the 1941 “Sentinel of Freedom” has been reproduced millions of times and has received wide distribution in America and abroad. Several million reproductions of the painting were distributed to schools, churches, and individuals during World War II, and the painting has become a staple of modern culture. The painting was commissioned by Little Rock (Pulaski County) insurance executive Clyde E. Lowry. Lowry was acquainted with Brewer’s work as a combat artist who painted wartime posters and more during World War I. Lowry wanted a painting depicting “the beauty of the flag when the wind had died down and the gentle folds took their natural place.” At the time, Brewer was …

Shape-Note Singing

Shape-note singing is a choral tradition in which geometrical shapes and a corresponding syllable are assigned to each note in a musical scale. The tradition began in late eighteenth-century New England, and it is one of the earliest forms of distinctly American music. In Arkansas, shape notes are found in multiple singing traditions, including both the four- and seven-note methods. This type of singing also had a social role in rural communities in Arkansas, which often held all-day events featuring shape-note singing. Shape-note singing is largely used for religious music, although it does occasionally appear in secular music. Conventional shape-note singing preserves elements of earlier European music, such as basic harmony, melodies, and performance practices. Shape notes were developed in …

Shead, Henry Wallace, Sr.

aka: Henry Shed
Henry Wallace Shead Sr. (a.k.a. Henry Shed) was a pianist, vocalist, composer, recording artist, actor, choral director, and teacher. He grew up playing and singing in his father’s church, and by the time he had finished college, he had developed the singing and piano-playing styles for which he became famous. He was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 2006 and the Arkansas Jazz Hall of Fame in 2018. Henry Wallace Shead was born in Fordyce (Dallas County) on March 31, 1941, the third of five children born to the Reverend Henry Arthur Shead and Willie Labehel Reed Shead. He was raised in Little Rock (Pulaski County) and was introduced to the piano at the age of six …

Shelton-Lockeby House

The Shelton-Lockeby House is located on Springhill Church Road, west of Murfreesboro (Pike County) in the Spring Hill community. Constructed in 1905, the single-story, dogtrot-style home was added to the National Register of Historic Places on September 28, 2005. The land upon which the house was constructed was owned by a number of individuals before being purchased by James Shelton in 1896. The taxable value of the land increased in 1905, indicating that a house was constructed on the property at that time. Shelton sold the land to W. M. Riley in 1907, who in turn sold it to James Lockeby in 1915. James and his wife, Lula Ann, raised animals and grew a number of crops on the property, …

Shelton, Louie

Millions of people have heard Louie Shelton’s smooth guitar-playing on hit records and albums without knowing who he was. Since the 1960s, he has worked as a session guitarist or a producer for Barbra Streisand, Whitney Houston, John Lennon, Lionel Richie, Boz Scaggs, Stevie Wonder, the Jackson Five, Seals and Crofts, Marvin Gaye, and many other famous pop, rock, and jazz musicians. William Louis Shelton was born on April 6, 1941, in Little Rock (Pulaski County) but grew up in the Levy neighborhood of North Little Rock (Pulaski County). He was the youngest child and only son of five children born to William Lewis Shelton and Carrie Lois Middleton Shelton. His mother was a housewife, and his father was in …

Shibley, Jesse Lee “Arkie”

Jesse Lee “Arkie” Shibley was a country singer best known for recording the original version of “Hot Rod Race” in 1950. The song is included in the book What Was the First Rock ‘n’ Roll Record? as one of fifty recordings that were influential in the origination of rock and roll. According to authors Jim Dawson and Steve Propes, its importance lies in the fact that “it introduced automobile racing into popular music and underscored the car’s relevance to American culture, particularly youth culture.” Jesse Lee Shibley was born on September 21, 1914, in Van Buren (Crawford County) to David M. and Prudie Shibley, both farmers. He was a cattle farmer himself and, on November 25, 1935, married Evelyn Marie …

Shoppach House

aka: John F. Shoppach House
aka: Sadie Praytor Home
The Shoppach House, located at 508 North Main Street in Benton (Saline County), is the oldest surviving brick structure in Saline County. During the Civil War, the small brick house was home to Confederate private James H. Shoppach of Company E, First Arkansas Infantry. However, it was used to house occupying Union forces under Lieutenant Henry C. Caldwell in the fall of 1863. The Shoppach House was built by German immigrant John William Shoppach in 1852. The bricks used to build the house, and its well, were made on site. Shoppach was born in Hessen, Germany, and immigrated to the United States in 1834, eventually making his way to present-day Saline County, where he built his family homestead in the …

Shrader, Gustave Joseph

Gustave Joseph Shrader was a photographer who was best known as the official photographer for the state Senate and House of Representatives and for several Little Rock (Pulaski County) schools. Joseph Shrader was born on May 25, 1870, in Orel, Russia, to a merchant. In 1885, Shrader began serving as a photographer’s apprentice. He immigrated to the United States in 1892. Shrader met Bertha Frank, a resident of Louisville, Kentucky, and married her in December 1900 in Memphis, Tennessee. The couple had one child, Gustave Joseph Shrader Jr., called “Buddy.” Shrader worked for photographers in Louisville, Kentucky; Memphis, Tennessee; Indianapolis, Indiana; Providence, Rhode Island; and New York City. In May 1901, he opened a studio with his wife in St. …

Shryock, Gideon

Gideon Shryock is responsible for one of the finest examples of Greek Revival architecture west of the Mississippi River—the Old State House in Little Rock (Pulaski County). Shryock’s other recognizable architectural achievements include Kentucky’s Old State House and Old Morrison Hall at Transylvania College in Lexington, Kentucky. These structures still stand and still represent freedom, power, wealth, and limitless possibilities. Gideon Shryock was born on November 15, 1802, to Mathias Shryock and Elizabeth Gaugh Shryock in Lexington, Kentucky. Mathias Shryock was once described in a newspaper article as a “practical builder” but not a professionally trained architect. The family found prosperity and popularity in Lexington. Shryock’s father held slaves as early as 1810 and served as captain of the Lexington …

Simon, Howard Jacob

During the 1920s and 1930s, Howard Jacob Simon was a nationally celebrated painter in oils and watercolors and an illustrator in sketches and woodcut prints. In Arkansas, he was best known for his drawings and woodcuts that illustrated Charlie May Simon’s books and the book Back Yonder, An Ozark Chronicle by Wayman Hogue, Charlie May Simon’s father. Howard Simon was born on July 22, 1902, in New York City to Samuel Simon, a salesman of general merchandise, and Bertha Simon. He had one brother. Before he was fifteen, Simon knew that he wanted to be an artist. He went daily to the National Academy of Design. He then spent two years at the New York Academy of Arts and drawing …

Sink-Crumb Post 72 American Legion Hut

The Sink-Crumb Post 72 American Legion Hut, located on the northeastern corner of 2nd and Cherry streets in the small Clay County community of Knobel, is a tin-roofed cypress log building designed in the Rustic aesthetic common among American Legion buildings erected during the early 1930s. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on September 25, 2008. As with other towns around Arkansas, Knobel was home to many World War I veterans, and when the state’s American Legion leadership began encouraging the creation of additional posts in the late 1920s, members decided to band together and create Sink-Crumb Post 72. The post—likely named for local men who died while in military service—was founded in the spring of …

Smith, Effie Anderson

Effie Anderson Smith was an Arkansas-born landscape painter and pioneer settler of Arizona. She began painting in southwestern Arkansas, in the style of the Hudson River School. Her mature style, exemplified by her Grand Canyon paintings, emerged after studies with California Impressionists. Born near Nashville (Howard County), on September 29, 1869, Effie Anderson grew up in Hope (Hempstead County). Her mother, Martha Adelia Coulter Anderson, came from a family of planters near Lockesburg (Sevier County). Her father, Major Adolphus Anderson, whose family members were planters in South Carolina, came to southwestern Arkansas in the 1850s as a surveyor and civil engineer. Her parents married in March 1861, before her father joined ten of his brothers in the South Carolina forces …

Smith, Norman Eugene

Norman Eugene Smith was a classically trained pianist and musicologist from Benton (Saline County). He spent most of his career as a professor of music at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, specializing in the study of early polyphonic (multiple melody) music and classical piano. His scholarly works focused on musical theory, particularly in music from the twelfth century. Norman Eugene Smith was born on November 4, 1931, the second son of Fred C. Smith and Ocie Clara Bryant Smith in Benton. As a young man, he began playing the piano. His teacher, Lorene Carson Houston, composed the Benton High School alma mater. Smith quickly became her protégé. As a member of Houston’s Junior Music Club at Benton Junior High, …

Smith, Ocie Lee (O. C.), Jr.

Ocie Lee (O. C.) Smith Jr. started out singing jazz before moving into the genres of country and rhythm & blues/soul. After touring with Count Basie’s band in the early 1960s, he had his biggest hit with the song “Little Green Apples,” which reached number two on the pop and R&B charts in 1968. In the 1980s, he put aside his career as a recording artist to become a minister. Smith was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 1996. O. C. Smith was born in Mansfield, Louisiana, on June 21, 1936 (although some sources say 1932). His parents, Ocie Lee Smith Sr. and Ruth Edwards Shorter Smith, who were both teachers, moved to Little Rock (Pulaski County) …

Spruce, Everett Franklin

Everett Franklin Spruce was an artist and teacher who grew up in Arkansas and worked in the state periodically in the 1920s and 1930s. Spruce is considered the most prominent painter to emerge from a group of Texas regionalists in the 1930s. He was highly influenced by his boyhood in the Ozarks, and his paintings always reflected his love of the land and of nature. Everett Spruce was born in Holland (Faulkner County), near Conway (Faulkner County), on December 25, 1907 (some references list 1908). He was the first of six children born to William Everett Spruce and Fanny May (McCarty) Spruce. His father, who was of Irish descent, was a farmer. In 1911, the Spruce family moved to Adams …

St. Agnes Catholic Church

St. Agnes Catholic Church in Mena (Polk County) is the center of worship for St. Agnes Parish, which was established by Bishop Edward Fitzgerald in 1896. A temporary wooden structure first served the congregation, with a two-story frame building following. A new church building was completed in 1922, and St. Agnes Catholic Church was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1991, having retained all of its significant architectural and decorative features. Mena was incorporated as a township on September 18, 1896, as settlers began to flood into the area around the Kansas City Southern rail line. Within a month of Mena’s incorporation, Bishop Fitzgerald established the parish, and with the help of Father Patrick Enright of Fayetteville …

St. Anthony’s Hospital

With a view of the Arkansas River to the south and mountains to the southwest, St. Anthony’s Hospital in Morrilton (Conway County) is an imposing three-story Art Deco–inspired structure made of brick and stone. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on March 28, 1986. The Benedictine sisters at St. Scholastica Monastery established St. Anthony’s Hospital as a fourteen-bed facility on December 4, 1925, initially using a private home belonging to the Burrows family of Morrilton. During the following twelve years, they moved twice, first to a Harding College dormitory (when that school, now Harding University, was located in Morrilton), then to the Jones Hospital building on N. West Street. (Jones Hospital had opened in 1920.) The …

St. Mary’s Catholic Church (Paragould)

St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Paragould (Greene County) is a brick-and-steel structure designed by renowned architect Charles Eames and his architectural partner Robert Walsh in 1935. Charles Eames was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, where he attended Washington University before opening an architecture firm with Charles Grey and Walter E. Pauley. After a solo trip to Mexico in 1933, Eames started a new firm with Robert Walsh in 1934. During the next few years, Eames and Walsh worked on several projects in and around St. Louis, as well as two Catholic churches in eastern Arkansas: one in what is now Helena-West Helena (Phillips County) and one in Paragould. Eames eventually gained an international reputation as an architect and …

St. Mary’s Church (Altus)

aka: Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church (Altus)
Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church, more commonly known as St. Mary’s Church, was founded in Altus (Franklin County) in 1879. It has been located atop Pond Creek Mountain, better known as St. Mary’s Mountain, since its inception. The congregation was founded by and for immigrants from Germany and Switzerland. The Franco-Prussian War of 1870–71 and the Kulturkampf (religious persecution) of the 1870s in Germany drove many Catholics out of Europe and to the Altus region of Arkansas. As these new immigrants did not speak English, there was a conscious effort on the part of the Church to get a German-speaking priest in order to maintain these immigrants in the Catholic faith. After St. Mary’s became established, the fact …

Stackhouse, Houston

aka: Houston Goff
Houston Stackhouse never achieved much in the way of success, yet he was a pivotal figure on the southern blues scene from the 1930s through the 1960s, having worked with numerous significant blues musicians during that period, mentoring more than a few. He was a familiar figure in the small country juke joints, mainly in Arkansas and Memphis, Tennessee, and was highly respected among his fellow musicians. He also achieved a measure of regional fame as a member of the King Biscuit Boys who played on station KFFA out of Helena, present-day Helena-West Helena (Phillips County). When he finally made his first recordings in 1967, he was still a working musician, taking jobs within a 150-mile radius of his home …

State of Arkansaw, The

The ballad, or narrative folksong, usually titled “The State of Arkansaw” has been a principal exhibit in Arkansas’s recurrent laments about its disreputable image. It is a clear example of the expressive culture of the late nineteenth century that depicted Arkansas pejoratively. The story, which the ballad relates in first person, has its protagonist—known by several names, including “Sanford Barnes” and “John Johanna”—leave his home, most frequently “Buffalo town” or “Nobleville town,” to seek employment. He hears of job opportunities in Arkansas, sets out by railway, and arrives in an Arkansas community, variously identified as Fort Smith (Sebastian County), Van Buren (Crawford County), Little Rock (Pulaski County), or Hot Springs (Garland County). There he meets a “walking skeleton” who conducts …

Stern, Howard Seymour

Howard Seymour Stern was a physician, a noted photographer, and an award-winning painter. Although he had no professional training in art, his paintings and photographs continue to be displayed in various collections in Arkansas and around the world. Howard Stern was born on June 14, 1910, in Charlotte, North Carolina, the eldest of four children born to Eugene John Stern and Frances Burger Stern. His father was an architect, half the partnership of Mann and Stern, which designed Little Rock Central High School, the Albert Pike Hotel, the Arkansas Consistory, the Arlington Hotel, and the Fordyce Bath House. The family moved to Little Rock (Pulaski County) in 1913 so Stern’s father could work with George R. Mann on designing the …

Still, William Grant

William Grant Still grew up in Little Rock (Pulaski County) and achieved national and international acclaim as a composer of symphonic and popular music. As an African American, he broke race barriers and opened opportunities for other minorities. He was strong advocate for the performance of works by American composers. William Grant Still was born on May 11, 1895, in Woodville, Mississippi, the only son of William Grant Still Sr. and Carrie Lena Fambro Still. Still’s mother moved to Little Rock with her infant son shortly after the death of her husband in 1895. Still and his mother lived with his grandmother, and his mother worked as a teacher. In 1904, Still’s mother married a railway postal clerk, Charles Benjamin …

Stilley, Edward Lawrence (Ed)

Edward Lawrence (Ed) Stilley was a farmer and instrument maker from Hogscald Hollow (Carroll County). In 1979, according to Stilley, he received a directive from God to make and give away musical instruments to children. Without any prior knowledge of instrument making, he created and gave away over 200 instruments, only stopping in 2004 when his hands could no longer do the work required to build them. Ed Stilley was born on July 27, 1930, in Carroll County, the third child of six. His parents were William Stilley, who worked at a sawmill, and Sarah Parker Stilley. Stilley was partially raised by a longtime resident of Hogscald, Anna Frances “Fannie” Prickett. Prickett was an elderly woman who lived alone and …

Stone County Courthouse

The Stone County Courthouse in the Ozark Mountain city of Mountain View (Stone County) is located in a picturesque commercial district marked with storefronts and local institutions. Native sandstone from the mountains makes up the courthouse’s walls and echoes the look of the congregation of buildings on the courthouse square, forming a cohesive identity. The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program recognizes the 1922 building as historically and architecturally significant, and it was added to the National Register of Historic Places on September 17, 1985. The Adamesque courthouse was constructed in 1922 to replace its 1888 predecessor, presumably because county operations outgrew the old wood-frame building. Clyde A. Ferrell designed the new courthouse, and Bill Laroe, the head mason, constructed it; Laroe …

Stone, Edward Durell

Edward Durell Stone, one of the foremost American architects of the mid-twentieth century, established an international reputation and designed buildings throughout the world. Though he lived in New York City for much of his adult life, Stone made a lasting contribution to the architecture of his native Arkansas. Edward Stone was born on March 9, 1902, in Fayetteville (Washington County) to Benjamin Hicks Stone, a merchant and businessman, and Ruth Johnson Stone, a former English teacher at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville. The youngest of three children, Stone attended Fayetteville’s public schools but was not a serious student. His mother encouraged his talents for drawing and building things and allowed him to have a home carpentry shop. At …

Strauss House

The Strauss House, located in Malvern (Hot Spring County), was designed in the Dutch Colonial style by the architectural firm of Charles Thompson and Thomas Harding. Constructed in 1919, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places on December 22, 1982. The design and construction of the house were commissioned by Albert Lincoln Strauss, the president of Malvern Lumber Company. His father, Adelbert Strauss, founded the company and the town of Perla (Hot Spring County) in the late nineteenth century. Albert Strauss was born on July 11, 1886. He married Martha Vogeler, and the couple had one daughter. Strauss was deeply involved in the timber industry in the state. He was serving as the chairman of the Arkansas …

Struggle in the South, The [Mural]

The Struggle in the South is a 44′ x 9′ mural by Joe Jones that includes dramatic scenes of striking miners and a lynching attempt. Completed in 1935, this painting is an example of Jones’s protest art during the years of the Great Depression. Joseph John (Joe) Jones was eulogized upon his death in 1963 as a corporate artist, with commissions from Fortune magazine and Standard Oil; this characterization overshadowed any mention of his beginnings as a Communist house painter. At the beginning of his career and during the height of the Great Depression, however, Jones was known as one of America’s notable social protest artists. Jones came from a working-class family. His immigrant Welsh father, Frank J. Jones, and …

Stubblefield, John

John Stubblefield was one of the most highly respected jazz saxophonists of his generation. He played with legendary musicians across the jazz spectrum and left a legacy of quality studio work over more than three decades as a bandleader, studio musician, and go-to saxophonist for live performances and tours. He was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame posthumously in 2007. John Stubblefield was born on February 4, 1945, in Little Rock (Pulaski County), one of two children of John and Mabel Stubblefield. His father served in the U.S. Navy during World War II but was injured and discharged; back in Little Rock, he worked as a laborer, machinist, and painter while passing his love of music along to …

Sugimoto, Henry Yuzuru

Henry Yuzuru Sugimoto was a noted artist whose paintings chronicled the immigrant experience, including the time he and his family spent in internment camps in southern Arkansas during World War II. Henry Sugimoto was born as Yuzuru Sugimoto on March 12, 1900, in Wakayama Prefecture, Japan. When he was a baby, his father moved to California to seek employment. Nine years later, his mother joined his father in California, leaving Sugimoto and a younger brother in the care of her parents. Sugimoto’s maternal grandfather had been a samurai and still owned many artworks, which Sugimoto copied with his grandfather’s encouragement. In 1919, Sugimoto’s parents finally could afford to bring him to America. He joined his parents in Hanford, California, and …

Sullivan, Orean Lencola

Orean Lencola Sullivan of Morrilton (Conway County) broke many color barriers in Arkansas and became a nationally known public figure. She won four scholarship pageants from 1977 to 1980 and was the first African American to win those pageants. She was Miss Morrilton in 1977, Miss University of Central Arkansas in 1978, Miss White River in 1979, and Miss Arkansas in 1980. In September 1980, Sullivan competed in the Miss America Pageant and won the preliminary swimsuit competition. Overall, she was the fourth runner-up in the national pageant, the highest placement achieved by an African-American contestant up to that time. Lencola Sullivan was born on October 29, 1957, to Richard and Macie Sullivan of Morrilton. She was the oldest of …

Sundown to Sunup Gospel Sing

aka: Albert E. Brumley Memorial Gospel Sing
The Sundown to Sunup Gospel Sing, an outdoor gospel music event, was held on the first weekend in August in Springdale (Washington and Benton counties) starting in 1969. During that time, the event was billed as the “largest outdoor gospel sing.” It was later named for its founder, gospel songwriter Albert Edward Brumley of Powell, Missouri, who penned such well-known songs as “I’ll Fly Away” and “Turn Your Radio On.” The idea for the Sundown to Sunup Gospel Sing was conceived after a gospel singing event in Bentonville (Benton County) in 1968. Brumley and his sons, Bill and Bob, worked with Springdale Chamber of Commerce president Lee Zachary to bring the event to Springdale’s Parsons Stadium in 1969. That first year, …