Entries - Entry Category: Historic Preservation - Starting with R

Rabbit Foot Lodge

Built in 1908, Rabbit Foot Lodge in Springdale (Washington and Benton counties) is one of the best examples of Adirondack-style architecture in Arkansas. It was most notably home to J. William Fulbright and his family from 1936 to 1941. Located at 2711 Silent Grove Road, on a hillside above a spring and creek, the two-story residence was built for Dr. Charles F. Perkins and Edith Clark Perkins on land that had formerly been the old Jonathan “Uncle Bud” Smith homestead. The property had once been owned by Joseph L. Dickson as part of an 1857 land grant, deeded as remedy for claims arising under the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek (1830); this treaty was mentioned on the abstract deed and …

Randolph County Courthouse

The Randolph County Courthouse is an Art Deco–style brick and concrete building erected in 1940–1941 as a Works Progress Administration (WPA) project in Pocahontas (Randolph County). The courthouse was built in a natural depression of one city block across the street to the west from what became known as the Old Randolph County Courthouse, the former seat of county government. The Randolph County Courthouse, which houses the offices and government of Randolph County, was added to the National Register of Historic Places on August 22, 1996. Citizens of Randolph County voted their approval for the building of a new courthouse in 1940. After the election, Judge Joe S. Decker appointed an advisory board and building commissioners for the construction of …

Randolph County Heritage Museum

Located on the historic court square in Pocahontas (Randolph County), the Randolph County Heritage Museum officially opened in 2006 during the Pocahontas Sesquicentennial Celebration and is owned by Five Rivers Historic Preservation, Inc., a non-profit, volunteer organization dedicated to the preservation and celebration of Randolph County history and culture. The museum includes three room-sized exhibits. The River Room is dedicated to the five rivers of Randolph County and their contributions through transportation, industry, recreation, and support to the local economy. The largest of the five rivers, the Black River, supplied the shelling and pearling industry of the late nineteenth century through the mid-twentieth century. Included are a working button machine and a collection of original tools and implements, as well …

Ravenden Springs School

The former Ravenden Springs School is a Craftsman-style school building in Ravenden Springs (Randolph County). Built in 1941, the one-story rectangular building operated as a school until it was closed during consolidation in 1974. The school changed ownership many times but was acquired by the town of Ravenden Springs in 1990. The school was originally built with four classrooms and a library, but the building was later renovated to be used as the local town hall and community center. The school no longer retains its original interior design, but it still possesses significant historical integrity. The first documented school in Ravenden Springs was known as the Cave School. Run by Caleb Lindsey, this school dates back to 1815, where classes …

Redbug Field

Redbug Field in Fordyce (Dallas County) is a high school football field with its significance lying in the fact that future University of Alabama coach Paul “Bear” Bryant learned to play the game there in the late 1920s. The regulation-sized football field was listed on the Arkansas Register of Historic Places on August 6, 2014. Football is important to the history of Fordyce, a town where Arkansas’s first high school football program was started in 1904 when New York native Tom Meddick organized a high school team at the Clary Training School. By 1909, Fordyce High School also fielded a team. The original playing field was behind the high school, but in the mid-1920s, it was relocated to accommodate a …

Reeves-Melson House

The Reeves-Melson House is a dogtrot-style wooden home located in eastern Montgomery County. With two pens constructed in 1882 and 1888, the house was added to the National Register of Historic Places on December 5, 1986. The first pen was built by William Reeves in 1882. After service as a sergeant in the First Arkansas Infantry (Union) during the Civil War, Reeves appears as a sheriff in Montgomery County in the 1870 census. He subsequently was listed as both a farmer and merchant in other censuses. Information in the National Register nomination for the property states that Reeves homesteaded eighty acres at that time. Reeves lived and farmed the land until the winter of 1887–88, when Larkin Melson purchased the …

Reynolds, John Hugh

John Hugh Reynolds—Arkansas author, longtime president of Hendrix College, and founder of the Arkansas History Commission (now called the Arkansas State Archives)—was born near Enola (Faulkner County) on January 3, 1869. He was one of the seven children born to Jesse M. and Elizabeth Grimes Reynolds. His father was a carpenter, a mechanic, a blacksmith, and a county doctor. After a stint as a rural schoolteacher, Reynolds graduated from Hendrix College, a Methodist institution, in Conway (Faulkner County) in 1893. Four years later, he received an MA degree in political science from the University of Chicago. Returning to Arkansas, he became a professor of history and political science at Hendrix College. During his tenure, he also served for four years …

Rialto Theater (El Dorado)

The Rialto Theater stands as a testament to the cosmopolitan atmosphere found in El Dorado (Union County) during the prosperous 1920s oil-boom era. Completed in September 1929, the Rialto is one of the largest and most elaborate theaters in southern Arkansas. Restoration efforts on the theater were begun as part of phase two of the Murphy Arts District (MAD) plan to revitalize downtown El Dorado. Located at 117 East Cedar Street in downtown El Dorado, the Rialto Theater was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on August 21, 1986. Designed by the local architectural firm of Kolben, Hunter, and Boyd, and built at a cost of $250,000, the Rialto is an example of the Classical Revival style. The …

Rice-Upshaw House

The Rice-Upshaw House stands on its original site in the Eleven Point River valley near the rural community of Dalton in northwestern Randolph County. Known locally as “Reuben Rice’s,” it was constructed in 1828 by merchant and artisan Reuben Rice to serve as a store and loom house for his 1820s rural trading center. Standing near the Rice-Upshaw House is a 1820s granary. These three structures are among the oldest structures of these kind in the state and represent the state’s only surviving example of a rural trading center. Reuben Rice arrived in the valley in 1812 by wagon train as part of an inter-connected group of Anglo-American farmers with their few slaves. Settling approximately one mile from Rice and …

Richmond, Ted

aka: James Theodore Richmond
James Theodore (Ted) Richmond was the founder of the Wilderness Library on Mount Sherman in Newton County. For twenty-five years, the library provided free reading material to citizens in northwest Arkansas. Ted Richmond was born in Ogallala, Nebraska, on May 26, 1890, the second of five sons of Albert, a pioneer physician, and Etta Richmond. Drafted in 1917, he served during World War I as a private in the infantry and helped establish an American library at the University of Toulouse, France, after the war. He attended several educational institutions: Iowa Business College, University of Chicago, and Missouri Teachers College (now Missouri State University). His journalistic career included editorial and reporting positions at many newspapers: the Quincy Whig, Gem City …

Riggs-Hamilton American Legion Post 20

Riggs-Hamilton American Legion Post 20, located at 215 North Denver Avenue in Russellville (Pope County), is a Rustic-style structure erected in 1936 with assistance from the Civil Works Administration (CWA) and the Works Progress Administration (WPA), a pair of Depression-era federal relief programs. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on August 15, 1994. In January 1919, veterans in Russellville organized an Army-Navy Club to serve as a civic organization for the veterans and their families, with members having to have received honorable discharges from the Army, Navy, or Marine Corps after serving overseas or on home guard duty and with honorary membership open to relatives of men who died in service. Robert A. Ragsdale, who came …

Rison Cities Service Station

The Rison Cities Service Station is located at the corner of Main and Magnolia streets in Rison (Cleveland County). Constructed in 1938 in an English Revival style, the building was used as a location for the sale of gasoline and other related automobile products for more than thirty years. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places on May 10, 2001. The growing popularity of automobiles in the early twentieth century led to the establishment of various businesses to supply gasoline and other products to drivers. With many located in residential areas, these buildings were often constructed to resemble nearby homes. The design of this station resembles that of several other stations in the state, including the …

Rivervale Inverted Siphons

Completed in 1926, the Rivervale Inverted Siphons were a prerequisite to permanent settlement in eastern Poinsett County and adjacent areas in the St. Francis River and Little River basins. The siphons provided relief from overflow and outlet for runoff from Craighead and Mississippi counties and portions of southeastern Missouri. One of the first components in the comprehensive drainage plan devised for Drainage District Number Seven of Poinsett County, the Rivervale Inverted Siphons also permitted the immediate agricultural development and economic exploitation of parts of Poinsett County and those counties in Missouri and Arkansas tributary to District Seven. They were also a necessary response to the proliferation of organized drainage and levee districts in the early twentieth century. The siphons were …

Robertson, Irene

Irene Robertson was an interviewer and writer for the 1930s Federal Writers’ Project in Arkansas. She preserved the life stories and experiences of former slaves—or, in some cases, their children—then living in the counties of Crittenden, Lee, Monroe, Phillips, Prairie, and St. Francis. Using her straightforward style of reporting, she prepared 290 out of a total of 300 slave narratives produced in the above counties. She also prepared approximately 116 narratives from interviews with older white residents. Irene Robertson was born in May 1893, possibly in Troy in Greenwood County, South Carolina, near the “Hard Labor” section of Edgefield County, where her parents had lived. Robertson’s father, Samuel Elisha Robertson, a farmer, was born in Edgefield County; he was a …

Rockport Cemetery

Established in 1851 and expanded for the first time around 1900, the Rockport Cemetery is the oldest burial ground in the Hot Spring County town of Rockport. The oldest sections of the cemetery were added to the National Register of Historic Places on January 28, 2002. The first settlers in the Rockport area arrived by the 1820s. A post office serving the community opened in 1837, and the settlement became the county seat in 1846. Never a large town, the community did have several churches, stores, and law offices by 1850. Some sources report that land for the establishment of a cemetery was given by John A. Miller in 1851. This is unlikely, as Miller was only fifteen years old …

Rogers Historical Museum

The Rogers Historical Museum is the largest and most comprehensive history museum in Benton County. The museum is a department of the City of Rogers, governed by a city commission. Founded in 1974, the museum’s mission is to serve the community through educating the public, preserving the local heritage, and providing enriching and enjoyable experiences for all. In 1974, the Rogers City Council, at the urging of Councilwoman Opal Beck and in response to citizen concerns about the loss of local heritage, formed a museum commission to oversee the creation and operation of a city history museum. The commission leased space in a 1905 bank building in downtown Rogers and began collecting historic artifacts. The first chairperson of the commission …

Ronoake Baptist Church

The Ronoake Baptist Church is a Craftsman-style, historically African-American house of worship located near Gurdon (Clark County). Constructed in 1945, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places on September 23, 2011. The church, also known as Ronoke and New Ronok Baptist Church, is still active in the twenty-first century. The church is located at the north end of Ronoake Baptist Church Road, north of the Gurdon city limits. The church was founded near Smithton (Clark County) in 1893. After meeting for several years on privately owned land, the church members began raising money by 1918 to purchase land on which they could build a permanent church. By the next year, land had been purchased near a cemetery …

Rose Hill Cemetery

Rose Hill Cemetery is a historic cemetery located in Arkadelphia (Clark County). It was officially opened in 1876, although some graves in the cemetery date to the 1850s. The cemetery was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on February 1, 1999. The first public cemetery in Arkadelphia was established shortly after the town was settled. It was named the Blakely Graveyard for an early name of the settlement. The graveyard was closed by the city board to future interments in 1869. In 1876, the Maddox family donated land for a new cemetery. In 1880, the Maddox Cemetery was renamed Rose Hill, although it is unclear why this change occurred. Several graves from the Blakely Graveyard were moved to …

Rosedale Plantation Barn

The Rosedale Plantation Barn is a hand-hewn log barn located near Arkadelphia (Clark County). Constructed around 1860, it is the largest known log barn in Clark County and possibly the state. It was moved from its original location southeast of Arkadelphia in 2002 and reassembled in its current location north of the city. The barn was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on January 21, 2004. Rosedale Plantation was built by Joseph Allen Whitaker, who arrived in Clark County around 1855. Purchasing land in Manchester Township, which belonged to both Dallas and Clark counties during its history, Whitaker hired a number of carpenters to follow the plans by architect Madison Griffin. Along with a plantation house, a brick …

Rosenwald School (Delight)

The Rosenwald School, located on Arkansas Highway 26, is a one-story, wood-frame building erected between Delight (Pike County) and Antoine (Pike County) in 1938 by the Works Progress Administration (WPA), a Depression-era public relief program. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on September 17, 1990. Three schools were built in Pike County between 1923 and 1927 with assistance from the Julius Rosenwald Fund to serve the county’s African-American children. The Rosenwald Fund had been created by a Sears, Roebuck and Company executive to help construct educational facilities for minority children in the South; a total of 389 school buildings would be constructed in thirty-five Arkansas counties with assistance from the Rosenwald Fund. One of those buildings, …

Roundtop Filling Station

The Roundtop Filling Station in Sherwood (Pulaski County), which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was built in 1936 by the Pierce Oil Company. Pierce Oil was one of the “baby Standards” formed after the U.S. government ordered the breakup of John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Company in 1911. Pierce operated gasoline stations in Arkansas, southern Missouri, western Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas, and Mexico. In 1936, Pierce Oil contracted with the Justin Matthews Company to construct a uniquely shaped gasoline station along U.S. Highway 67. With its mushroom-shaped roof and arched windows and doors, the Roundtop is anexample of the Mimetic/Programmatic architecture style common in smaller oil company station designs from the 1920s through the 1960s.It is believed …

Rowland-Lenz House

The Rowland-Lenz House, located northeast of Benton (Saline County) on Highway 5, was listed on the National Register of Historic Properties on February 11, 2004. Originally built as a two-story dog-trot log house, its late nineteenth-century modifications make it an interesting example of Swiss/German-influenced construction applied over an existing log home. The house, built in 1838 by Thomas Rowland with slave labor, was occupied by the Rowland family until 1848. At that time, the house was rented by John Nelson and purchased by him in 1850. The Nelson family occupied the home from 1848 to 1873, when it was purchased by former Confederate colonel and circuit judge Jabez M. Smith upon Nelson’s death. Smith rented the home to his brother, …

Royal Theatre

The Royal Theatre on South Market Street in downtown Benton (Saline County) dates back to the early 1920s, making it one of the oldest theaters of its kind in the state. Although it no longer shows Hollywood films, the Royal remains a beloved landmark for the people of Saline County. It has been owned by a local family, a corporation, a celebrity, and, finally, a group of locals who took their name, the Royal Players, from the theater’s marquee. What is now the Royal Theatre began its life when Wallace Kauffman, a native of Princeton (Dallas County), moved to Benton in 1917. Kauffman, who had worked at a similar establishment in Fordyce (Dallas County), started working for Alice Wooten, owner …

Rucker House

The Rucker House in Bauxite (Saline County) is one of only two standing structures that date back to Bauxite’s early history as a company town, the other being the 1926 Bauxite Community Hall, which now houses the Bauxite Historical Museum. The Rucker House was built in 1903 by employees of what was then called the Pittsburgh Reduction Company and later became Alcoa for plant superintendent William Armour Rucker. Rucker and his family occupied the home until 1938. Since 1986, the Rucker House has been owned by the Bauxite Historical Association and Museum. The Rucker House, which was listed on the National Register on June 16, 1988, serves as a residence for the museum’s caretaker. William Armour Rucker was born on …

Russell, Jerry Lewis

Jerry Lewis Russell Jr. was an author, editor of several newsletters, political and public relations advisor and consultant, political activist, and founder of the Civil War Roundtable of Arkansas. He was also nationally recognized as a leader in the preservation of state and national Civil War battlefields. Jerry Russell Jr. was born in Little Rock (Pulaski County) on July 21, 1933, to Jerry Lewis Russell Sr. and Frances Marion Lieb Russell. In 1958, Russell graduated with a journalism degree from the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) and then co-edited the two-volume Who’s Who in Arkansas (1959). From 1958 to 1961, he edited The Heights Land Weekly Visitor (Little Rock). However, Russell was soon deeply involved in local …