Entry Category: Historic Preservation - Starting with M

McCollum-Chidester House Museum

The McCollum-Chidester House in Camden (Ouachita County) was built in 1847 by Peter McCollum, a North Carolinian who came to Arkansas and acquired the property on a land-grant basis. It is today a museum maintained by the Ouachita County Historical Society. McCollum purchased the building materials in New Orleans, Louisiana, and had them shipped upriver to Camden by steamboat. It was the first planed lumber house in the area of Ouachita County and possibly in southern Arkansas. It boasted the first plastered walls, carpeting, and wallpaper. John Chidester, an enterprising stagecoach owner and mail contractor, purchased the home for $10,000 in gold and moved his family to Camden in 1858. Chidester wanted to expand his growing stage line farther west, using Camden …

McCraw Cemetery

The McCraw Cemetery, located about 300 yards east of Military Road Baptist Church at 2101 Old Military Road in Jacksonville (Pulaski County), is a historic burial ground, with its earliest interment dating to 1841. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on September 20, 2006. Brothers Jacob and Sharred Gray and their families were the earliest white settlers in the area of northeastern Pulaski County that would later become the city of Jacksonville, moving there in the winter of 1820–21. Their settlement grew after the Memphis to Little Rock Road was constructed through the area in the 1820s and 1830s. Pleasant McCraw and his family acquired property near the new road, paying county property taxes in 1836 …

McCrory Waterworks

The McCrory Waterworks, located southeast of the junction of North Fakes and West Third streets in McCrory (Woodruff County), was constructed in 1935–36 and installed with assistance from the Public Works Administration (PWA), a New Deal public relief agency. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on September 20, 2007. As the United States struggled with the Depression of the 1930s, President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration enacted the National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA) to ease the effects of businesses closing. The act included an organization called the Federal Emergency Administration of Public Works (or Public Works Administration), which was created on June 16, 1933, to help finance federal construction projects and create jobs. With a population of …

McDonald-Wait-Newton House

aka: Packet House
aka: 1836 Club
The McDonald-Wait-Newton House, also commonly referred to as the Packet House, is located in Little Rock (Pulaski County). The nineteenth-century house is a good example of the Second Empire architectural style and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places due primarily to its architectural significance. When the Packet House was constructed, its address was 1406 Lincoln Avenue; the road name was later changed to Cantrell. The people who built in the area had some association to the North; either they supported the North during the Civil War, or they moved south during Reconstruction, leading to the nickname of “Carpetbagger’s Row” for the homes along the road. According to the National Register of Historic Places nomination form, “The Packet …

McGehee National Guard Armory

The McGehee National Guard Armory was built in 1954 and reflects standardized plans that featured open floor plans, steel-framed roofs, and concrete block walls—a functional design typical of National Guard armories built during a period when larger facilities were needed. Citizen-soldier militias have had a constant presence in the United States since the colonial era, but it was not until Congress passed the Militia Act of 1903—also known as the Dick Act for sponsor Senator Charles W. F. Dick, chairman of the Committee on the Militia—that the National Guard became an official partner in the nation’s armed services, receiving federal support for training, equipment, and wages. Arkansas’s state militia was organized into the Arkansas National Guard as a result of …

McNeely Creek Bridge

The McNeely Creek Bridge is a single Warren pony-truss bridge near the community of Beirne (Clark County). Constructed in 1923, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places on May 26, 2004. Beirne is an unincorporated community founded in 1880 along the Cairo and Fulton Railroad. Settlement of southern Clark County progressed slowly before the establishment of the railroad, with few roads connecting the area with Arkadelphia (Clark County) or other communities. With an economy based on timber, the community grew as it became one of the best shipping locations for raw timber in southwestern Arkansas. The community was linked by road to nearby Gurdon (Clark County), about four miles to the northeast, likely shortly after construction of …

McRae Jail

The McRae Jail, located in a field in McRae (White County), is a one-story, reinforced concrete structure built in 1934. The McRae Jail was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on July 20, 1992. The small railroad town of McRae, with its local economy dependent on the timber and strawberry industries, was apparently in need of a jail when President Franklin D. Roosevelt initiated his Depression-era New Deal agencies. While the National Register nomination states that the jail was constructed by the Works Progress Administration (WPA), it also says the McRae Jail was built in August 1934. The WPA would not operate in Arkansas until July 1935, however, and the jail is not included in a comprehensive list …

McVicar House

The McVicar House is a one-story wooden structure in the heart of downtown Little Rock (Pulaski County). Originally on Lot 8 of Block 32 between the Brownlee House and the Hinderliter Grog Shop, the house was moved for aesthetic purposes to its current location on the grounds of what is now Historic Arkansas Museum during the 1939–1941 restoration by Louise Loughborough and Max Mayer. On February 16, 1842, Thomas Thorn sold Lots 7, 8, and 9 on Block 32 to James McVicar for the sum of $4,000, even though Thorn had acquired the same lots at a public auction from Chester Ashley four years earlier for $128. Thorn was able to turn a substantial profit, thirty-one times his original investment, …

Memorial to Company A, Capital Guards

aka: Lest We Forget
The Memorial to Company A, Capital Guards is a Civil War commemorative monument created by sculptor Rudolf Schwarz. It was dedicated in City Park in Little Rock (Pulaski County) during the 1911 United Confederate Veterans Reunion. The monument was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on April 26, 1996. The base of the monument was vandalized in June 2020, and the sculpture of the soldier was moved to storage. Little Rock was selected to host the twenty-first annual United Confederate Veterans Reunion (May 16–18, 1911), and the Robert C. Newton Camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) chose to use that occasion to dedicate a monument to the Little Rock men who had served in the Capital …

Memphis to Little Rock Road

aka: Military Road (Memphis to Little Rock)
The Memphis to Little Rock Road was one of the first major public works projects in the Arkansas Territory. Spanning the swamplands of eastern Arkansas, the heights of Crowley’s Ridge, and the expanse of the Grand Prairie, it opened the state to emigrants from the east. The road was also a major route for Native Americans during the forced relocations of the 1830s. The Memphis to Little Rock Road, also known as the Military Road (as were most of the early Arkansas roads constructed under the auspices of the U.S. Army), was authorized on January 31, 1824, when the U.S. Congress passed an act for construction of a road opposite Memphis, Tennessee, through the swamps of eastern Arkansas to the …

Mena National Guard Armory

The Mena National Guard Armory at 619 DeQueen Street in Mena (Polk County) is a single-story, Art Deco–style, fieldstone-clad structure built in 1930. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on June 5, 1991. Citizen-soldier militias have had a constant presence in the United States since the colonial era, but it was not until Congress passed the Dick Act—sponsored by Senator Charles W. F. Dick, chairman of the Committee on the Militia—in 1903 that the National Guard became an official partner in the nation’s armed services, receiving federal support for training, equipment, and pay. Arkansas’s state militia was organized into the Arkansas National Guard as a result of the Dick Act. Seventeen armories—including the Marianna National Guard …

Menard-Hodges Site

Archaeological investigations at the Menard-Hodges site near Nady in Arkansas County since the late 1800s have yielded information about both Native American and European colonial settlement of the region of the lower Arkansas River. Two large mounds, thirty-nine-foot-tall Mound A and flanking thirteen-foot-tall Mound B, overlook a square plaza some two acres in area, with smaller mounds around the other sides of the plaza. Also adjacent to the plaza are the locations of two nineteenth-century farmsteads of French descendants. The Menard-Hodges Site was widely considered to be the location of the first Arkansas Post and also the location of the Quapaw village of Osotouy. However, recent research indicates that while the Menard-Hodges Site is an important part of an early historic …

Menifee High School Gymnasium

The Menifee High School Gymnasium, located on the northwestern corner of North Park and East Mustang streets in Menifee (Conway County), was built in 1938 with assistance from the Works Progress Administration (WPA), a Depression-era federal relief agency. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on June 6, 2002. Schools for African Americans in the Menifee area were available since at least 1919, and when the Great Depression struck these students were centered in East Side School District No. 5’s Conway County Training School, located on five acres about a mile south of Menifee. In 1938, the district succeeded in getting WPA funding to construct a gymnasium for the complex. Construction started in the spring of 1938, …

Mid-America Science Museum

Mid-America Science Museum’s mission is to stimulate interest in science, to promote public understanding of the sciences, and to encourage lifelong science education through interactive exhibits and programs. Located near National Park College (NPC) in Hot Springs (Garland County), the museum is a major tourist attraction in Arkansas, with an estimated 100,000 visitors annually. In the mid-1960s, Governor Winthrop Rockefeller conceptualized the Mid-America Science Museum as Arkansas’s first interactive, informal learning environment. Rockefeller held an exploratory symposium with various state leaders and engaged one of the nation’s foremost museum consultants to determine the feasibility of such a project. Eventually, Hot Springs was deemed the ideal location for such a museum. Governor Dale Bumpers continued the support of the idea, and …

Mike Meyer Disfarmer Gravesite

Mike Disfarmer was a Heber Springs (Cleburne County) mid-twentieth-century portrait photographer whose work gained fame and popularity some years after his death. His Cleburne County gravesite was added to the National Register of Historic Places on January 21, 2009. Disfarmer is believed to have been born in Indiana in the early 1880s and to have moved to Stuttgart (Arkansas County) at an early age. After his father’s death, he and his mother then moved to Heber Springs. By 1926, he had built his own photography studio, where he lived and worked, earning a simple living for over forty years by photographing rural people for a few cents a sitting. Many believe that he changed his fame from Mike Meyer to …

Mildred B. Cooper Memorial Chapel

aka: Cooper Chapel
The Mildred B. Cooper Memorial Chapel, commonly called the Cooper Chapel, is a non-denominational chapel in Bella Vista (Benton County) designed by architects E. Fay Jones, who also designed Thorncrown Chapel in Eureka Springs (Carroll County), and Maurice Jennings, Jones’s business partner for twenty-five years. John Cooper Sr. built three retirement/recreation villages in Arkansas from the 1950s to the 1970s, including Bella Vista Village in northwestern Arkansas, which he opened in 1965. His wife, Mildred Borum Cooper, was his partner throughout these and other ventures. She, too, was successful in business, serving as postmistress in West Memphis (Crittenden County) and Cherokee Village (Sharp and Fulton counties) and owning gift shops in Cherokee Village and Bella Vista. She was also active …

Miller County Courthouse

The Miller County Courthouse, dedicated in 1939, is located at 400 Laurel Street in downtown Texarkana (Miller County) in an area with a number of residences. The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program recognizes the four-story building as architecturally and historically significant for its standing as a visible result of the New Deal and as an impressive example of Art Deco architecture in Miller County. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on May 29, 1998. On September 19, 1938, Miller County determined that the courthouse built in 1888 was no longer capable of housing county business. The county needed a new, modern courthouse, as Texarkana had grown substantially since the late nineteenth century. In addition, the U.S. District …

Mineral Springs Waterworks

The Mineral Springs Waterworks, located south of the junction of West Runnels and South Hall streets in Mineral Springs (Howard County), was constructed in 1936 and installed with assistance from the Public Works Administration (PWA), a New Deal public relief agency. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on May 29, 2007. As the United States struggled with the Depression of the 1930s, President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration enacted the National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA) to ease the effects of businesses closing. The act included an organization called the Federal Emergency Administration of Public Works (or Public Works Administration), which was created on June 16, 1933, to help finance federal construction projects and create jobs. Mineral Springs …

Minnesota Monument

The Minnesota Monument, located in Little Rock (Pulaski County) and dedicated to the Civil War soldiers of Minnesota who died in Arkansas, was the first monument erected in Arkansas whose commissioning came from a government outside the state of Arkansas. The monument, also known as “Taps,” is located in the Little Rock National Cemetery at 2523 Springer Boulevard. During the Civil War, several Minnesota regiments saw service in Arkansas, the Third Minnesota Infantry being one of the first regiments to enter the fallen capital city of Little Rock in 1863. Approximately 162 of those Minnesota soldiers died while serving in Arkansas. Of those, thirty-six are buried in the Little Rock National Cemetery. In 1913, the Minnesota state legislature established the …

Miss Laura’s Social Club

The former Miss Laura’s Social Club, a house of prostitution, serves as a unique visitor center for Fort Smith (Sebastian County) and is a reminder of the town’s rich history. Located at 123 First Street, it is the only former bordello in Arkansas listed on the National Register of Historic Places. On the border between what was the known United States and Indian Territory, Fort Smith was one of the historic Old West towns. Being a border town invited the business of prostitution into the town, and several bordellos were established around the turn of the century. Built in 1896 as the Riverfront Commercial Hotel, the house at 123 First Street was bought by Laura Ziegler in 1898. Zeigler borrowed …