Institutions and Buildings

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Entry Category: Institutions and Buildings

Henderson-Brown College

Henderson-Brown College (HBC) was a private, co-educational college located in Arkadelphia (Clark County). HBC served as a Methodist institution of higher learning in the southern part of the state. It exists today as Henderson State University. HBC was founded in 1890 as Arkadelphia Methodist College. Local members of the Methodist state convention had decided to start a college to serve students in southern Arkansas and to compete with Ouachita Baptist College (now Ouachita Baptist University), also located in Arkadelphia. The school was the third Methodist college in the state, joining male-only Hendrix College in Conway (Faulkner County) and Galloway Female College in Searcy (White County). Arkadelphia Methodist College was the first co-educational school in the Methodist state convention. Methodist citizens …

Henry’s Chapel

Henry’s Chapel was a log church built at Mound Prairie (Hempstead County) around 1817 by Methodist pioneers from Bellevue Valley, Missouri. Many accounts refer to Henry’s Chapel as the area’s first Protestant church. In 1817, a Methodist conference appointed itinerant Methodist preacher William Stevenson to the Hot Springs Circuit, a wilderness area on the western frontier in what would later become southwest Arkansas. Stevenson had scouted the area in 1813 and realized the need to establish a church. He chose the tiny settlement of Mound Prairie as the place for it. At Stevenson’s urging, thirty families from the Bellevue Methodist Church moved to the area. The leader of the group was the Reverend John Henry, a thirty-eight-year-old preacher and farmer. Several others …

Hillcrest Hall

aka: Bible Church of Little Rock
The Bible Church of Little Rock was constructed in 1961 on one of the last undeveloped lots in the Hillcrest neighborhood of Little Rock (Pulaski County). It now serves the Central Arkansas Library System (CALS) as Hillcrest Hall and is used for meetings, special events, and programs. The Midland Hills area of the Hillcrest neighborhood opened to development in three phases, beginning in October 1908 and ending in May 1911. However, the triangular section of land bordered by Kavanaugh Boulevard and Martin and Lee streets was never developed, possibly because of its steep terrain. In 1961, the Bible Church of Little Rock acquired the property as a site for a permanent sanctuary for a congregation that had met in a …

Holy Angels Convent

The Holy Angels Convent located near Jonesboro (Craighead County) is home to the Community of Olivetan Benedictine Sisters in Arkansas. These sisters have provided education and health care to northeast Arkansas for over a century. The Community of Olivetan Benedictine Sisters at Holy Angels had it origins in Convent Maria Rickenbach high in the Swiss Alps near Engelberg in Canton Unterwalden. In response to requests from early missionaries for sisters to teach in the mission fields of America, five sisters were sent to establish a base in Conception, Missouri, in 1874. Additional sisters followed in succeeding years. Because many German-speaking immigrants were coming to northeast Arkansas, Father E. J. Weibel, an early missionary in northeast Arkansas, requested sisters from Missouri …

Immaculate Heart of Mary Church and School

The Immaculate Heart of Mary campus in the Marche (Pulaski County) community of North Little Rock (Pulaski County) has undergone several stages of growth since it was established to serve the area’s Catholics in 1878. The first Polish settlers arrived to the area via train from Chicago, Illinois, in 1877 and began forming a distinctly Polish community. Their first project after establishing rudimentary houses was building a small parish, which was overseen by the Reverend Anthony Jaworski. He and Father Joseph Strub selected eighty acres around Marche and purchased the tract for one dollar on behalf of the Holy Ghost Fathers in Morrilton (Conway County). The land they chose was centered on a hill in an otherwise low-lying area. The …

John Brown University (JBU)

Founded in 1919 in Siloam Springs (Benton County), John Brown University (JBU) is a private comprehensive university known for its Christian identity, academic emphasis, and professionally oriented programs. The university began as a high school and junior college that emphasized vocational training for poor young people. It evolved into a four-year liberal arts university and later developed graduate programs in business and counseling. Throughout its history, the university has forged close ties with the churches and industries of northwest Arkansas and business leaders such as Sam Walton and John Tyson. JBU was founded by John Elward Brown, a self-educated evangelist, publisher, and radio entrepreneur who grew up in rural poverty in late-nineteenth-century Iowa. In July 1919, Brown, at that time …

Levi Hospital

aka: Leo N. Levi Hospital
Levi Hospital in Hot Springs (Garland County) is a nonprofit hospital that offers mental and physical therapy. Its mission is to provide specialty care for the residents of Hot Springs and surrounding communities, serving patients without regard to race, religion, creed, national origin, gender, age, disability, or economic means. It has a history of providing services to people regardless of their ability to pay. Levi Hospital is the only healthcare provider in Garland County that provides inpatient adult psychiatric services as well as rehabilitation therapy in the thermal waters of Hot Springs National Park. It also offers a certified athletic trainers program for area schools in which trained healthcare professionals are present at athletic practices and games to help prevent …

Little Rock College

Little Rock College was the second attempt by the Diocese of Little Rock to establish an institution of higher education. Andrew Byrne, Arkansas’s first Roman Catholic prelate, began St. Andrew’s College near Fort Smith (Sebastian County) in 1849, but it closed in 1861 due to the Civil War. John B. Morris, Arkansas’s third Catholic bishop, established Little Rock College using the wealth accumulated by his predecessor, Edward M. Fitzgerald, who died in 1907. Fitzgerald left so much to his successor that, in addition to the college, Morris eventually founded St. Joseph’s Orphanage in North Little Rock (Pulaski County), a diocesan newspaper, and a seminary. Little Rock College opened in September 1908, situated between 25th and 26th streets, and Gaines and State …

Little Rock Scripture Study (LRSS)

Little Rock Scripture Study (LRSS), a former ministry of the Diocese of Little Rock that develops Roman Catholic Bible study materials, began as a plan to provide Bible study for interested Catholics in central Arkansas. By 2009, Little Rock Scripture Study materials were used in 7,500 Catholic parishes across the United States and fifty-four countries around the world. Tammy and Fred Woell of Little Rock (Pulaski County), along with Jerome Kodell, a Benedictine priest who later became the abbot of Subiaco Abbey, organized a group to begin planning the Bible study. The group sponsored its first Bible study in the fall of 1974, using a twelve-week study guide and commentary on the Acts of the Apostles, written by Kodell. Fifty …

Marylake Monastery

Founded in 1952 and located thirteen miles south of Little Rock (Pulaski County), Marylake Monastery is a residence for Discalced Carmelite friars of the Province of St. Thérèse, which includes Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. The monastery is a novitiate for the province, which is a type of religious “boot camp” for young men entering the Carmelite Order of the Roman Catholic Church. As solitude is sought as an aid to contemplative prayer, the rural site was chosen because it offered a more secluded setting than the former novitiate within the urban setting of San Antonio. In 1895, brothers of the Tull family bought a 400-acre tract in East End (Saline County) and dammed Clear Creek to form a fifty-acre …

Methodist Children’s Home

The Methodist Children’s Home, located in Little Rock (Pulaski County), began as a movement to create an orphanage in the denomination’s Little Rock Conference in 1897. The institution was incorporated on May 3, 1899, in Pulaski County and called the Arkansas Methodist Orphanage of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. The trustees were Colonel George Thornburgh, Dr. James Thomas, Reverend J. A. Cason, and George Culberhouse. Soon afterward, the stockholders of the Women’s Industrial Home at Fifteenth and Commerce Streets offered their property, consisting of three lots and a two-story building, to the orphanage incorporators. Mrs. L. R. Tabor and Mrs. Logan H. Roots were the property’s largest stockholders. Orphanage officials accepted the property, and the home began receiving children. The …

Missionary Baptist College

In the decade before the Great Depression, Missionary Baptist College opened its doors in Sheridan (Grant County). This small denominational educational institution brought the advantages of higher education to what was then a rural area, and though it operated only briefly, it exerted profound influence upon Missionary Baptist education in the state. The churches of the State Association of Missionary Baptist Churches of Arkansas, organized in 1902, have long maintained a commitment to Christian education, especially the training of student ministers. Three years after its founding, the association took over the operation of Buckner College at Witcherville (Sebastian County) in western Arkansas. However, its location far from the center of the Landmark Baptist movement in the state hindered its support, …

Missionary Baptist Seminary

The Missionary Baptist Seminary and Institute serves as the oldest educational institution among Missionary Baptists in the state of Arkansas. The school fulfills the role of training pastors in the Bible and the foundational principles of pastoral work. The Missionary Baptist Seminary and Institute was started on April 1, 1934, when Antioch Baptist Church, located at 22nd and Brown streets in Little Rock (Pulaski County), passed a motion during a regular business meeting to start the school. The Great Depression led to the closing of the Missionary Baptist College of Sheridan (Grant County), and the new seminary was started in response. Conceived by pastor Benjamin Marcus Bogard and two other men, J. Louis Guthrie of Oklahoma and Conrad Nathan Glover, …

Monastery of Our Lady of Charity and Refuge

aka: Good Shepherd Home
The Monastery of Our Lady of Charity and Refuge, also known as the Good Shepherd Home, has provided education and childcare in Hot Springs (Garland County) since its inception in the early twentieth century. The Sisters of Our Lady of Charity and Refuge, a Catholic order of nuns who operate the monastery daycare, attracted national and state attention in 2007 when most of their members were excommunicated by the Roman Catholic Church for heresy; these constitute the only excommunications issued in the history of the Diocese of Little Rock. The monastery began with the arrival of five French-speaking Canadian nuns to Hot Springs from Ottawa on September 18, 1908. They came at the request of Bishop John Baptist Morris, who …

Mount Pleasant Methodist Church

Mount Pleasant Methodist Church is located on Highway 248 east of Waldron (Scott County). The church’s architectural style is not common in the area, making it a unique nineteenth-century church for Scott County. The church was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on June 5, 1986. Methodist congregations were well established in Scott County as early as the 1820s. After the Civil War, Joseph L. Self brought his family to the Ouachitas from rural Georgia. They farmed and soon opened several small businesses on their property. By the 1890s, these consisted of a cotton gin, a saw and grist mill, three general stores, and a blacksmith shop. As the small-scale enterprises attracted other families to the area, it became …

Mount St. Mary Academy

Mount St. Mary Academy in Little Rock (Pulaski County), a Catholic school established in 1851, is Arkansas’s oldest educational institution still teaching today. The academy is the state’s only all-girl secondary school. Today, Mount St. Mary educates about 550 high school students. In late 1850, Bishop Andrew Byrne went to Ireland in search of an order of sisters to promote Catholic education in Arkansas. Upon contacting the Sisters of Mercy, Byrne was granted twelve members of the order. The women arrived in Little Rock on February 5, 1851, a date now known as “Founders Day.” The sisters lived in Byrne’s house on 2nd Street and then in a meeting house on Markham Street. Their “official” convent at 6th and Louisiana streets …