Entry Category: Arts - Starting with C

Cates, Opal Taft (Opie)

Opie Cates was a popular bandleader, musician, and radio personality, known as one of the great clarinetists of the swing era (mid-1930s–mid-1940s). He was a familiar presence on radio in the 1940s, at one time appearing weekly on four different shows. By Cates’s own reckoning, his audience numbered over thirty-five million listeners. Some believe that the character of Opie Taylor on The Andy Griffith Show was named after Opie Cates. Opal Taft Cates was born on October 10, 1909, in Clinton (Van Buren County). His parents, Abb Cates and Sarah Jacobs Cates, were farmers. Abb Cates died in 1914, Sarah Cates married Lee Andrew Reaves (or Reeves) in 1916. The blended family, which included several Reaves step-siblings and a younger …

Charles “Bullet” Dean Hyten House

The house at 211 South Main Street in Benton (Saline County) was the home of Niloak Pottery creator Charles Dean “Bullet” Hyten. Now owned by former Arkansas state senator Doyle L. Webb II, the house is home to a small business. Because of its connection with Hyten and construction at the height of his popularity, the house was added to the National Register of Historic Places on September 24, 2012. Charles Dean Hyten was born in Benton to John Franklin Hyten and Hattie Brown Hyten on March 14, 1877. He was one of four children. After the death of her husband in 1881, Hattie married a man named Frank Woosley. Hyten and his brothers, Paul and Lee, took control of the family …

Charlotte Street Historic District

Located in Fordyce (Dallas County), the Charlotte Street Historic District includes the core of a historic subdivision located on the north side of the city. Constructed from 1906 to 1930 on part of the estate of A. B. Banks, the district includes a number of Craftsman-style homes and associated structures. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on September 14, 1987. Aloysius Burton (A. B.) Banks was born in Little Rock (Pulaski County) on April 2, 1868. He moved to Fordyce in 1885, shortly after the town incorporated. He worked in the insurance business and opened his own fire insurance company in 1891. He expanded the company to cover accidents and grew the business, becoming wealthy in …

Chicot County Courthouse

The Chicot County Courthouse is a 1950s–era Art Deco building incorporating many Corporate or Government Moderne features. It sits at 108 Main Street in Lake Village (Chicot County). Lake Village was chosen as the seat of local government in 1857, the third city to formally hold the title of county seat since the county was formed from a part Arkansas County in 1823. Both Villemont and Columbia, the former seats, were overtaken by the Mississippi River, and a third location, Masona, was temporary, with no buildings or permanent fixtures ever put in place during its two-year stint as county seat. Lake Village was the fourth and final move for local officials. The land on which the courthouse and county jail …

Christ of the Ozarks

Christ of the Ozarks is a statue located in Eureka Springs (Carroll County) on top of Magnetic Mountain. The white mortar figure of Jesus Christ is seven stories tall and weighs almost two million pounds (about 540 tons). The statue is one of five giant statues of Christ in the world and one of only two in North America. It was sculpted by Emmet A. Sullivan and funded by the Elna M. Smith Foundation. The Elna M. Smith Foundation was founded in 1965 as a non-profit organization named for, and headed by, the wife of Gerald L. K. Smith, who gained prominence as an anti-Semitic minister and political agitator in the 1930s. At a reported cost of $5,000, the foundation …

Christensen, Les

aka: Leslie Ann Christensen
Leslie Ann (Les) Christensen is director of the Bradbury Art Museum at Arkansas State University (ASU) in Jonesboro (Craighead County), but she is best known as a sculptor who works in mixed media using everyday objects to offer a vision of universal experience and common responsibility. Her artwork has been exhibited in solo and group shows throughout the United States and in Europe. Les Christensen was born on July 3, 1960, in Omaha, Nebraska, as the second of four children (and the only daughter) of Dean and Carol Christensen. She attended the University of Iowa, where she received a BFA in sculpture in 1982. She spent a year of graduate school at the Rijksuniversiteit te Utrecht in the Netherlands and …

Citizens Bank Building (Jonesboro)

The Citizens Bank Building in Jonesboro (Craighead County) is a seven-story structure located on the northwestern corner of the intersection of Washington Street and Main Street, due north of the Craighead County Courthouse. The composite steel-frame building with a flat roof was originally home to commercial banking on the ground level and offices on the upper floors. The building is an excellent and unique example of the International Style of architecture because of its flat roof without a ledge, metal windows set flush with the outer walls, smooth wall surfaces with minimal decorative detailing, and asymmetrical elevations. The building, which was vacated in 2000, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on September 15, 2020. What is now …

Clark County Courthouse

The Clark County Courthouse at 4th and Clay streets in Arkadelphia (Clark County) was constructed in 1899 to replace an aging structure built in the 1840s. Except for a time when the building was closed for repair and restoration following damage from a tornado in 1997, the courthouse has operated continuously as the center of Clark County’s government. As one of the state’s oldest courthouses that is still serving the purpose for which it was constructed, the Clark County Courthouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places on December 1, 1978. Clark County was established in 1818, becoming one of the five counties in existence at the time the area became known as Arkansas Territory in 1819. Court …

Clark County Library

The Clark County Library is a purpose-built red brick building located in Arkadelphia (Clark County) at 609 Caddo Street. Constructed in 1903, it serves as the main branch of the Clark County Library System and was added to the National Register of Historic Places on November 5, 1974. The Women’s Library Association was formed in Arkadelphia on November 11, 1897, with the goal of establishing a public library. The group collected a number of books that were stored in a succession of locations in the town, but in 1899 the group was unable to find a rent-free location. At this time, the association began working to build a permanent facility to house the library. A number of fundraising events were …

Clark House (Malvern)

The Clark House in Malvern (Hot Spring County) was designed by noted Arkansas architect Charles Thompson. Incorporating design elements from both Victorian and Craftsman styles, the house was constructed in 1916 and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. The home was constructed for Dayton D. Clark, a local lumber mill manager. His wife was Louise Clark, and the couple had two daughters. Clark commissioned the plans for the house from Charles Thompson’s architectural firm. The east-facing, one-and-a-half-story home is located on a corner lot at 1324 South Main Street. A porch fronts the house, wrapping around the eastern edge of the structure, which is accessed by a set of concrete steps from the circular drive. …

Clarke, Albert Oscar (A. O.)

Albert Oscar (A. O.) Clarke was a self-educated teacher-turned-architect who worked as a draftsman under the leading architect of St. Louis, Missouri, of the 1880s, Jerome Bibb (J. B.) Legg. He later partnered with William Matthews to draw dozens of commissions in St. Louis in the 1890s. Clarke was then recruited for the employ of William “Coin” Harvey for his resort in Monte Ne (Benton County), where Clarke designed the two largest log buildings in the world at the time. He went on to design Classical Revival–style structures throughout northwest Arkansas, as well as in Clarksville (Johnson County). A. O. Clarke was born on May 23, 1859, to Edgar W. Clarke, who was a Presbyterian minister, and Martha A. (Northrop) …

Classical Music and Opera

Although Arkansas is generally better known for its blues, gospel, folk, country, and rock and roll performers, classical and opera music have deep roots in Arkansas history and culture, often appearing in interesting ways in unusual places. Internationally famous Arkansan composers of classical music include Scott Joplin, Florence Beatrice Smith Price, William Grant Still, and Conlon Nancarrow. Sarah Caldwell, who grew up in Fayetteville (Washington County), was a longtime opera director in Boston, Massachusetts, and the first woman to conduct an opera at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City. Arkansas has been home to opera singers Mary Lewis, Barbara Hendricks, Susan Dunn, Marjorie Lawrence, Mary McCormic, Robert McFerrin Sr., and William Warfield. Classical music figures prominently in academic music degree …

Clayton House

aka: W. H. H. Clayton Home
The authentically restored Clayton House, circa 1882, stands in the center of the Belle Grove Historic District in Fort Smith (Sebastian County). This twenty-two-block area features more than twenty different Victorian-era architectural styles. The massive Italianate-style home had its beginnings as the Sutton Mansion, built in 1852. Thirty years later, after serving as a Union army hospital during the Civil War and falling out of the hands of its Confederate-sympathizing owner, the home was purchased by William Henry Harrison Clayton. Clayton, who was the federal prosecutor of the famed court of Judge Isaac C. Parker, had it doubled in size, with extensive remodeling into the Victorian style. Appointed in 1874 by President Ulysses S. Grant as U.S. attorney of the …

Cleburne County Courthouse

The Cleburne County Courthouse was constructed in 1914 on the courthouse square in Heber Springs (Cleburne County). It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on July 12, 1976. Upon the establishment of Cleburne County in 1883, the Sugar Loaf Springs Land Company—holder of the land that would become Heber Springs (originally called Sugar Loaf Springs and then Sugar Loaf)—donated to the county a block in the center of the town. The land was set aside for the building of a courthouse, which the company bonded itself to construct. In 1884, a wooden structure was built upon this block. The building served as courthouse until 1914. In 1911, the county court appropriated $50,000 to construct a new “fireproof” …

Cleveland County Courthouse

The Cleveland County Courthouse in Rison was designed by Theodore M. Sanders and constructed in 1911. It incorporates the Classical Revival and Modern Renaissance styles of architecture with quoins, Tuscan pilasters, and denticulated cornices. The original Cleveland County seat was Toledo, but the Toledo courthouse burned down in 1889 and all of the records inside were lost. Although Rison had been accepted as the new county seat on August 17, 1889, it was not until April 11, 1891, that Rison was formally chosen by the Arkansas Supreme Court as the new county seat after two contested elections. In 1892, a frame courthouse was constructed in Rison for $8,000. It was in use until the completion of the current courthouse in 1911, located …

Cloar, Carroll James

Carroll James Cloar was a painter who earned national acclaim as a realist and surrealist. The majority of his works had conceptual ideas based on his memories from his childhood in east Arkansas. His paintings are characterized by flattened figures in landscapes formed of decorative patterning. One of his paintings was chosen to be among six paintings by American artists commemorating President Bill Clinton’s inauguration in 1993. Carroll Cloar was born on January 18, 1913, on a farm approximately ten miles north of Earle (Crittenden County). The son of Charles Wesley Cloar and Julia Eva Cloar, he had three brothers and one sister. He spent his childhood on his parents’ cotton farm. At the age of seventeen, Cloar moved to …

Cole, Kevin Earlee

Kevin Earlee Cole, a Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) native, is one of the most renowned mid-career artists in Atlanta, Georgia; his works are widely collected, with Bill Cosby and Michael Jordan being notable collectors. Cole’s combinations of pastels mixed with primary, vibrant acrylics applied to twisting and curling canvases are a divergence in contemporary visual arts. His well-known “necktie” pieces are thematically linked to the history of African Americans in Pine Bluff, Tarry (Lincoln County), and Star City (Lincoln County)—areas that saw much racial violence during the early and middle 1900s. In 2018, he was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame. Kevin Cole was born on January 19, 1960, to Jessie Mae (McGlounce), a cafeteria manager for Pine …

Community Theatre

The Community Theatre in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) is one of the oldest one-screen, nickelodeon-type theaters in Arkansas, complete with a soundproof room where mothers could take their crying children and continue to watch the movie. The renovated structure is now owned and operated by a local non-profit agency and was used for part of the Pine Bluff Film Festival. Pine Bluff’s Community Theatre first opened its doors in 1922 in what was once known as the Breckinridge Building. The building was completed in 1889 and owned by local congressman and minister to Russia Clifton Rodes Breckinridge. Contractor William I. Hilliard built the Breckinridge Building, as well as the Jefferson County Courthouse (1890). S & H Kress & Co., a …

Confederate State Capitol Building (Hempstead County)

aka: Hempstead County Courthouse of 1836
The 1836 Hempstead County Courthouse located in Washington (Hempstead County) was used as the Confederate State Capitol after Little Rock (Pulaski County) fell to Union forces in 1863. Today, it is one of the attractions of Historic Washington State Park. In 1824, Washington was designated the county seat of Hempstead County; the seat had previously been located in the northeastern part of the county. By 1835, local officials recognized the need for a new county courthouse. The circuit court had previously met in a one-room building built by Tilman L. Patterson, who also supervised the construction of the new two-story courthouse. It was built in 1836 for $1,850. Between the time of its construction and the advent of the Civil …