Entry Category: Arts - Starting with S

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 …

Silver Moon Club

The Silver Moon was a popular nightclub and music venue in Newport (Jackson County). The club’s heyday was in the mid-1950s and early 1960s, when it hosted acts such as Glenn Miller, Bob Wills, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Wanda Jackson, Conway Twitty, and Sonny Burgess, as well as African-American performers such as Louis Armstrong. At the time, the Silver Moon was the largest night club in Arkansas, holding 800–1,000 people on a busy night. The Silver Moon was established in 1944 in the wake of Newport’s wartime economic boom. During the war, Newport constructed a large military base, the Newport Air Field, which doubled the town’s population. With so many servicemen in the area, local business owners sought to fulfill …

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) …

Snowball Gymnasium

The Snowball Gymnasium is a one-story concrete-block building located to the west of downtown Snowball (Searcy County). As the site of sporting events and other community gatherings, the Snowball Gymnasium has been an important community center and gathering place for the Snowball community since the mid-twentieth century. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on September 16, 2020. The Works Progress Administration (WPA) constructed a new school at Snowball in 1938. The school campus was expanded in 1956 with the construction of the gymnasium. The gymnasium was built by contractors Vance Crow and Bea Stuart of Harrison (Boone County), and they boarded in Snowball with the Joe Cash family while the building was being constructed. The first …

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

aka: CHI St. Vincent Morrilton
With a view of the Arkansas River to the south and mountains to the southwest, the original building of St. Anthony’s Hospital in Morrilton (Conway County) (which later became CHI St. Vincent Morrilton) 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 …

St. John’s Episcopal Church (Camden)

St. John’s Episcopal Church, located in Camden (Ouachita County), was constructed in 1926. The building includes Gothic Revival details and is in the shape of a cross. Added to the National Register of Historic Places on January 24, 2017, the church continues to have an active congregation. The parish was organized on March 6, 1850. Early efforts to purchase a building in which to hold services proved difficult due to a lack of funds, but in 1871, the parish obtained a former school on Adams Street. By 1887, that building was in such poor condition that it was demolished, and a new building began to be constructed on the same site in 1888. Around the late 1910s, the parish purchased …

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 …