Entry Category: Historic Preservation

Arkansas Museum of Natural Resources

The Arkansas Museum of Natural Resources houses exhibits that tell the story of oil and bromine production in southern Arkansas, with particular attention given to the historic oil boom that began in the 1920s. The center also interprets the history of these resources from the beginning of the oil’s creation eons ago through modern times. In the 1920s, nationwide attention focused on this area when the Smackover oil field was ranked first among the nation’s oil fields with a yearly production of sixty-nine million barrels in 1925. In 1925, during south Arkansas’s oil boom, the forty-square-mile Smackover oil field was the focal point of one of the fastest mineral booms in North America, with 1,000 wells drilled in the first six …

Arkansas Museums Association

The Arkansas Museums Association (AMA) is an organization of museums and museum personnel dedicated to the promotion of professional standards in Arkansas museums, the encouragement of interaction among members, and the development of public support for—and interest in—Arkansas museums. The AMA is governed by a board of directors, elected by its members. The board consists of a president, vice president (also the president-elect), immediate past president, secretary, treasurer, two representatives from each of the AMA’s four districts, a membership director, and a communications director. The Arkansas Museums Association was founded in 1966. Arkansans working with historical, artistic, and cultural organizations realized the need for a state association to advance the goals of the museum community. Peg Newton Smith, wife of …

Arkansas National Guard Museum

The Arkansas National Guard Museum’s primary mission is to collect information and artifacts relating to the Arkansas National Guard and its militia predecessor and make that information and those artifacts available to the public and to posterity. In addition, the museum tells the story of Camp Pike/Camp Robinson. It is located in Lloyd England Hall on Camp Robinson in North Little Rock (Pulaski County). Lloyd England Hall, originally constructed in 1931, is on the National Register of Historic Places. There has been a museum in Lloyd England Hall since the mid-1970s. The hall was constructed in 1932 as a multi-purpose center with a reading room, writing room, and large area with a stage and a balcony that held a movie …

Arkansas Pioneers Association

The Arkansas Pioneers Association is an organization devoted to projects and events regarding the history of Arkansas up to 1850. Those who want to join must be citizens of the United States who can trace their ancestry in Arkansas from 1850 and before. Harriet Woodruff Jabine, daughter of Arkansas Gazette founder William E. Woodruff, established the Arkansas Pioneers Association in September 1911. For a brief time in 1912, the association took residence in the west wing of what is now the Old State House. Jabine declared its mission to be “to honor and preserve the tradition of our Arkansas Pioneer ancestors and to quicken and preserve the spirit of Arkansas Patriotism.” It was formally organized on March 7, 1912. On …

Arkansas Post Museum State Park

Arkansas Post Museum State Park in southeast Arkansas displays exhibits and artifacts and presents programs about Arkansas Post—the first permanent European settlement in the state—and life in the state’s Delta region, including the Grand Prairie. It succeeded Arkansas Post State Park, which was transferred to the National Park Service in 1964 for creation of the Arkansas Post National Memorial. The museum complex is located at the junction of Highways 165 and 169. The Arkansas Post State Park Commission, established by Legislative Act 57 of 1929, acquired sixty-two acres that had been occupied by Arkansas Post when it became the capital of Arkansas Territory in 1819, when the territory was established. At the time of the park’s creation, there were no …

Arkansas Post National Memorial

Arkansas Post National Memorial is a unit of the National Park Service located in southern Arkansas County near Gillett. It preserves and interprets the remains of the original European and Native American settlements on the Arkansas River, as well as the Civil War battle fought at the post and the countless people who once resided in the area. Arkansas Post was settled by French traders in 1686 and was the first permanent European colony in the Mississippi River Valley. A Quapaw Indian village called Osotouy was located nearby. The actual post was moved several times over the years due to flooding but remained in the same general area. The only battle of the American Revolution that was fought in Arkansas …

Arkansas Railroad Museum

The Arkansas Railroad Museum in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) grew out of an effort by the Cotton Belt Historical Society to preserve the last steam-powered locomotive built in Arkansas. It has since expanded to include other artifacts of Arkansas’s railroad heritage. The Cotton Belt Rail Historical Society, Inc., was organized on October 18, 1983, primarily for the purpose of saving the Cotton Belt steam locomotive SSW 819, a 4-8-4 Northern-type steam locomotive that was the last steam-powered locomotive constructed in Arkansas. The locomotive had been retired and donated to the City of Pine Bluff in 1955, when machines of its type were being replaced by diesel-burning locomotives. It was placed in a city park, later called the Martin Luther King …

Arkansas Register of Historic Places

The Arkansas Register of Historic Places is a state historic preservation program created by the Arkansas legislature in Act 155 of 1993 to recognize significant Arkansas properties that are ineligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places and to encourage the properties’ rehabilitation through grant programs administered by the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program (AHPP). The staff of the AHPP was motivated to develop the Arkansas Register of Historic Places by the volume of applications for listing on the National Register of Historic Places for structures that were found ineligible for such things as replacement of historic windows with vinyl or aluminum substitutes, application of synthetic siding, enclosures of historic porches, and relocation to inappropriate sites. The AHPP sought …

Arkansas Research and Test Station

The Arkansas Research and Test Station site in Montgomery County was one of two stations constructed in the United States in the early 1960s capable of transmitting communications to satellites orbiting the Earth. Constructed in 1965–66 and in operation until 1969, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places on September 21, 2017. The exact location of the site is restricted. The site was constructed by the Hughes Aircraft Company, founded by Howard Hughes. After initial efforts to place the site near Fayetteville (Washington County) to work with the University of Arkansas (UA) failed, the company struggled to find a suitable location. A location was finally chosen in rural Montgomery County that was located far enough from any …

Arkansas State Archives

aka: Arkansas History Commission
The Arkansas State Archives, located in Little Rock (Pulaski County), is the official state archives of Arkansas and houses the state’s largest collection of documents, publications, photographs, and other material relating to Arkansas history. The Arkansas History Commission, as the institution was originally named, was established by the Arkansas General Assembly in 1905 as part of the burgeoning state archives movement that swept the South shortly after 1900. It was created largely through the efforts of John Hugh Reynolds, a history professor at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County). “The Commission exists,” Dallas T. Herndon, the first executive secretary and director wrote in 1911, the year the legislature finally appropriated funding for the commission, “to gather the …

Arkansas State Library

The Arkansas State Library (ASL) in Little Rock (Pulaski County) is the state agency charged with the task of administering state and federal funds for Arkansas libraries and their development. The library also offers library services to the public and provides administration and leadership to improve public libraries and library services. The director of the agency has the title of state librarian. The Arkansas State Library was founded by the Arkansas Library Commission. This commission was established by the Arkansas General Assembly in 1935 through Act 139. However, state funds for operation were not provided until 1937. The ASL became a division in the Arkansas Department of Education through Act 489 in 1979. This transition allowed for the duties of …

Arkansas State University Museum

The Arkansas State University Museum, located on the Arkansas State University (ASU) campus in Jonesboro (Craighead County), holds significant historic, archaeological, and natural history collections hailing primarily from the state of Arkansas. One of the first museums in the Southeast to be accredited by the American Association of Museums (AAM), it is the largest and most comprehensive museum in northeast Arkansas. The museum originated in 1933, opening under the name Arkansas State College Historical Museum as a creation of the Arkansas State College History Club. The fledgling museum was accorded prime space in the newly built Wilson Hall, where it mounted its first exhibits in four wooden cases. In 1948, the museum was incorporated under the name Arkansas State Museum …

Arkansas Tech University Museum

aka: Tech Museum
The Arkansas Tech University Museum, chartered as the Museum of Prehistory and History at Arkansas Tech University in December 1989 by the Arkansas Tech Board of Trustees, is part of the College of Arts and Humanities. The mission of the museum is to collect and interpret the history of Arkansas Tech in Russellville (Pope County). It formerly served as a regional history and archaeology museum that interpreted human experience in the Arkansas River Valley of western Arkansas. The museum was established as a cooperative effort by Arkansas Tech, the Ozark-St. Francis National Forest Service’s Russellville office, and the Arkansas Archeological Survey Coordinating Office in Fayetteville (Washington County). Forest Service grants, along with monies from Arkansas Tech, funded the renovation of one-fourth of Tucker Hall …

Arlington Hotel

The Arlington Hotel in Hot Springs (Garland County) was built at the dawn of the city’s golden era as a resort destination, a time before Las Vegas or Florida had been developed into tourist destinations. Always among the largest hotels in the state, the Arlington is one of the most recognizable landmarks associated with the city of Hot Springs and its bathhouse district, and has been a destination for the wealthy and famous throughout its history. Following the Civil War, the city of Hot Springs quickly began to regain its popularity as a tourist destination. In response to a shortage of hotels to accommodate the growing number of visitors arriving to enjoy the natural thermal springs in the area, Samuel …

Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas

The Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), accredited by the American Association of Museums (AAM), is the hub for fine arts, performing arts, arts and science classes, and hands-on children’s science exhibits for the ten-county area of southeastern Arkansas. The mission of the Arts & Science Center is to “provide opportunities for the practice, teaching, performance, enjoyment and understanding of the arts and sciences.” The Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas traces its history to March 4, 1968, when two local community arts groups merged by ordinance of the Pine Bluff City Council and assumed the name of Civic Center Arts Museum. Soon afterward, the center grew to include performing arts, science exhibits, …

Atkinson, James Harris (J. H.)

James Harris (J. H.) Atkinson was an educator, author, and historian who, through his leadership in state and local historical organizations, significantly advanced the preservation and awareness of Arkansas’s history, earning him the nickname “Mr. Arkansas History.” He helped organize and subsequently served as president of both the Arkansas Historical Association (AHA) and the Pulaski County Historical Society (PCHS), wrote numerous articles for each of their publications, served as chairman of the Arkansas History Commission (now called the Arkansas State Archives), and co-authored Historic Arkansas, a text for teaching Arkansas history. J. H. Atkinson was born on June 7, 1888, in a farmhouse near the community of College Hill in northern Columbia County, the son of Gracie Ella Finley and …

Babcock, Bernie

aka: Julia Burnelle Smade Babcock
In 1903, Julia Burnelle (Bernie) Smade Babcock became the first Arkansas woman to be included in Authors and Writers Who’s Who. She published more than forty novels, as well as numerous tracts and newspaper and magazine articles. She founded the Museum of Natural History in Little Rock (Pulaski County), was a founding member of the Arkansas Historical Society, and was the first president of the Arkansas branch of the National League of American Pen Women. Bernie Smade was born in Union, Ohio, on April 28, 1868, the first of six children, to Hiram Norton Smade and Charlotte Elizabeth (Burnelle) Smade. The Smades raised their children with a freedom uncharacteristic for that time. When Smade’s lively imagination was mistaken for lying …

Baker House

Located at 109 5th Street in North Little Rock (Pulaski County), the Queen Anne–style Baker House was constructed in 1897 by A. E. Colburn. The structure is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as one of the last surviving Victorian houses in North Little Rock. This Victorian home was constructed in 1897 (completed by 1898), according to Arkansas Gazette articles in late 1896 and early 1897, by A. E. Colburn and Henry Glenn. The home is approximately 4,156 square feet in the twenty-first century, having undergone renovations and had a cottage added. Henry Glenn was a native of Little Rock (Pulaski County) and a contractor. Colburn was a native of Little Rock as well. Some sources incorrectly claim …

Band Museum

The Band Museum in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) housed an extensive collection of wind instruments and offered a history of the American band movement. Beginning as the personal collection of its founder, the museum grew to approximately 1,500 antique instruments and was, before its closure, the only museum in the United States devoted entirely to the history of band music and instruments. Jerry Horne, founder of the Band Museum and a member of the American Musical Instrument Society, began collecting unusual instruments when he purchased the Wallick Music Company in 1970. His first was an old helicon (similar to a sousaphone), made by the C. G. CONN Company in 1925, which he found in the Wallick family’s garage. Soon, he began scouring …

Bank of Carthage

The Bank of Carthage is a historic building located in Carthage (Dallas County). Designed by Charles Thompson and constructed in 1907, the same year Carthage was incorporated, the building was added to the National Register of Historic Places on December 22, 1982. Carthage was founded as a stop on the Chicago, Rock Island and Southern Railroad. Early residents included members of nearby Lea Ridge (Dallas County), an African-American community founded by former slaves. Many nearby residents moved to Carthage after it was first platted in 1906, attracted by the community’s proximity to the railroad. Railroad-related businesses, timber production, and other agricultural endeavors drove the economy of Carthage in the early twentieth century. With the growing economy, the Bank of Carthage …

Bank of Malvern Building

The Bank of Malvern building is a historic structure located at 212 South Main Street in Malvern (Hot Spring County). Constructed in 1889, the building was renovated in 1896 after a fire. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on March 13, 1987. The Bank of Malvern was founded on June 4, 1889, and received a charter from the state on June 24. The bank prospered in the growing town and survived multiple so-called panics and economic downturns, leaving it the oldest chartered bank in the state by the mid-twentieth century. Founded by O. M. Nilsen and F. M. Smith, the bank was housed in a two-story building on the site of the present structure. The second …

Bank of Osceola

The Bank of Osceola is a two-story brick structure located in Osceola (Mississippi County) at 207–209 East Hale Avenue at its intersection with Pecan Street. Built in 1909 at the height of Osceola’s building boom, the property remains a unique focal point along the Hale Avenue Historic District. Originally constructed to house the bank and a grocery store on the first floor, the building has hosted numerous businesses throughout its history, including law offices, a cotton brokerage, and a doctor’s office. The structure, measuring 56′ by 100′, is on a continuous brick foundation. The façade (south elevation) has a centered entrance featuring double doors topped by double transoms and flanked by altered storefront openings. The second-story façade is distinguished by …

Barron-Craig House

The Barron-Craig House, the oldest structure still standing in northern Saline County, is located at Paron near the intersection of Arkansas Highway 9 and Kanis Road (12th Street). It is one of only a few antebellum homes still found in Saline County. A single-pen log structure, it survived the destruction of the Civil War and the ravages of time. James Barron moved to Saline County from South Carolina circa 1835 and settled in Union Township, later designated Holland Township, near what became Paron. His son, John T. Barron, born in 1828, married Sarah Pelton in 1856 and began a farmstead nearby. In 1857, John Barron built a single-pen log structure with a gabled roof on a foundation of stone piers …