Museums and Historic Sites

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Entry Category: Museums and Historic Sites - Starting with M

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 …

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 …

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 …

Mississippi County Courthouse, Chickasawba District

The Mississippi County Courthouse serving as the seat of justice for the northern part of the county is located at 200 Walnut Street in downtown Blytheville (Mississippi County). The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program recognizes the four-story building as architecturally and historically significant for its local standing in Mississippi County. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on December 6, 1996. After the city of Blytheville was incorporated in 1892, city leaders sought new economic stimulus in the form of transportation. Mississippi County was already an agricultural hub, with cotton as its main product. The Mississippi River, just eight miles away from Blytheville, provided farmers with fertile soil and natural flooding. Lumber was also a major industry when …

Mississippi County Courthouse, Osceola District

The Mississippi County Courthouse serving as the seat of justice for the southern part of Mississippi County is the central feature of a courthouse square bordered by Hale, Walnut, Johnson, and Poplar streets in downtown Osceola (Mississippi County). The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program recognizes the three-story building as architecturally and historically significant as a prime example of the Classical style in Mississippi County. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on December 13, 1978. The Mississippi County Courthouse—Chickasawba District, located in the other county seat in Blytheville and opened in 1921, serves the northern part of the county. As Osceola experienced an economic boom due to railroad traffic, lumber, and agriculture production around the beginning of the …

Missouri and North Arkansas Depot (Leslie)

The Missouri and North Arkansas Railroad (M&NA) depot in Leslie (Searcy County) is a passenger and freight train station that was constructed circa 1925 in the Plain Traditional style. The single-story stone masonry structure, located at the southwest end of Walnut Street, was added to the National Register of Historic Places on June 11, 1992. The town of Leslie, situated in the northern Arkansas Ozark Mountains on a tributary of the Middle Fork of the Little Red River, was an isolated and remote community during much of the nineteenth century. In 1902, its population was about fifty people. However, in 1903, the potential of Leslie’s natural resources convinced the M&NA to extend its line from Harrison (Boone County) to the …

Missouri Pacific Depot (Arkadelphia)

The Missouri Pacific Depot located in Arkadelphia (Clark County) is an active train station that was constructed in the Mediterranean style in 1917. Added to the National Register of Historic Places on June 11, 1992, it is located on South Fifth Street. The first settlers arrived in the Arkadelphia area, located along the Ouachita River, around 1808, and it was incorporated in 1857. In 1873, river transportation was replaced by rail when the Cairo and Fulton connected the city with Little Rock (Pulaski County). This line was acquired by the Missouri Pacific in 1917, and the company constructed a number of new depots to serve communities along the tracks, including in Gurdon (Clark County). The Arkadelphia depot was constructed south …

Missouri Pacific Depot (Gurdon)

The Missouri Pacific Depot in Gurdon (Clark County) was constructed in 1917. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on June 11, 1992, and is located on North First Street. While the area around the depot is still used by the Union Pacific Railroad in the twenty-first century, the former train station is used only for storage. Gurdon was founded in 1880 along the Cairo and Fulton Railroad. The town was founded at the junction of several railroad lines that led to Little Rock (Pulaski County), Texarkana (Miller County), Glenwood (Pike County), and Camden (Ouachita County). The timber resources surrounding the community and the town’s importance as a transportation hub led to a growing population in the …

Missouri Pacific Depot (Malvern)

The Missouri Pacific Depot is an operating train depot located at 200 East First Street in Malvern (Hot Spring County). The Mediterranean-style building was constructed around 1917 and was added to the National Register of Historic Places on June 11, 1992. By 2018, it was serving as a depot for Amtrak’s Texas Eagle. Malvern was created as a stop for the Cairo and Fulton Railroad in 1873. The settlement quickly grew and incorporated in 1876 and, two years later, became the county seat, replacing nearby Rockport (Hot Spring County). The railroad played an important role in the growth of the city, as the two major products from the area—brick and timber—were shipped across the country from the station. A second …

Monette Water Tower

The Monette Water Tower, located at the corner of Arkansas Highway 139 and Texie Avenue in Monette (Craighead County), was built in 1936 with the assistance of the Public Works Administration (PWA), a Depression-era federal relief program. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on January 24, 2008. As the United States struggled with the Great 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. Monette was founded in 1898 …

Monroe County Courthouse

The Monroe County Courthouse is located at 123 Madison Street in downtown Clarendon (Monroe County). The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program recognizes the three-story building as architecturally and historically significant as one of Arkansas’s most prominent courthouses and its sole example of the Italian Renaissance Revival style in Monroe County. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on October 14, 1976. The Monroe County Courthouse stands on the same site as the previous four courthouses stood, including one that Union armies dissembled during the Civil War and another that burned down on New Year’s Day in 1895. Charles L. Thompson, a prolific architect from Little Rock (Pulaski County) who is credited for renowned structures across the state, designed …

Montgomery County Courthouse

The Montgomery County Courthouse is located on Highway 270 in Mount Ida (Montgomery County). The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program recognizes the two-story building as architecturally and historically significant for its local standing in Montgomery County. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on August 27, 1976. The courthouse’s style is often described as Arkansas Adamesque. Designed by Clyde Ferrel and built in 1923, the Montgomery County Courthouse is constructed of random-patterned native stone. The structure’s restrained Classical elements are reminiscent of courthouses across Arkansas, including pilasters and a stone arch over the principal entrance. The ceiling of the courtroom is made of pressed tin that has been painted white. As county demands grew, Montgomery County built an …

Monticello Post Office (Historic)

The 1937 Monticello Post Office in Monticello (Drew County) is a one-story, brick-masonry structure designed in a restrained interpretation of the Art Deco style of architecture and featuring a sculpture created through the U.S. Treasury Department’s Section of Painting and Sculpture (later renamed the Section of Fine Arts), a Depression-era stimulus project that promoted public art. The post office was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on August 14, 1998. Construction began on the Monticello Post Office in early 1937, with the Advance Monticellonian reporting on January 28 that “work on the new post office began in earnest last Monday morning.” The blond-brick structure “will be of the same material and color as the [adjacent] Municipal Building, and …

Moore-Jacobs House

The Moore-Jacobs House, constructed around 1870, is located in Clarendon (Monroe County). Author Margaret Moore Jacobs lived in the home for much of her life, referring to it as her “Dear Little House.” The entire complex including the house and grounds consists of four adjoining lots. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on September 29, 1983. The house was constructed by John Wesley Moore (grandfather of Margaret Moore Jacobs), who gave the house to Margaret and her new husband John B. (Jake) Jacobs after their marriage in the late 1920s. In 1931, the house was moved across the street to its present location, and an addition was built on the rear of the building at the …

Moorefield School

The Moorefield School in Moorefield (Independence County) was constructed around 1939 by the National Youth Administration (NYA), a Depression-era federal relief agency. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on September 4, 1992. Located four miles east of Batesville (Independence County), Moorefield had a school system separate from that of its larger neighbor, and in early 1939, the district received funding from the NYA for construction of a new school building. The project started in the spring of 1939 and apparently continued into 1940, as the 1938–39 NYA annual report for Arkansas listed it as an active project. The completed building is a rectangular, single-story structure that includes features of the Craftsman style of architecture. The building …

Moose Addition Neighborhood Historic District

The Moose Addition Neighborhood Historic District was the first residential area of Morrilton (Conway County) to be developed. Its center (now known as Division Street) marked the dividing line between the Moose and Morrill farms, whose owners donated land so that the railroad could be built. The district encompasses portions of Division Street, Moose Avenue, Green Street, West and East Valley Streets, Green Street, and Brown Street. The district was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on September 3, 2013, and is considered locally significant under Criterion C for significant and distinct architecture. The neighborhood’s boundaries encompass thirty-one structures and twenty ancillary buildings. The building composition includes mainly brick and originally wood-sided residential structures, with the exception of …

Morrilton Post Office

The 1936 Morrilton Post Office at 117 North Division Street in Morrilton (Conway County) is a one-story, brick-masonry structure on a continuous brick foundation. The building is designed in a simplified treatment of the Art Deco style of architecture. It features a mural financed through the U.S. Treasury Department’s Section of Painting and Sculpture (later renamed the Section of Fine Arts), a Depression-era stimulus project that promoted public art. The post office was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on August 14, 1998. On January 16, 1936, the Morrilton Democrat reported that Morrilton was included in a group of seven new post offices to be built in Arkansas. The article said that it would be one story with …

Morris House (White County)

aka: Conley-Siler Residence
The pre–Civil War Morris House is one of the oldest surviving rural houses in White County. Constructed along the Military Road in 1860, the house served as a stopover station for many visitors traveling through the state during the early nineteenth century. In the late 1840s, Henry Patrick Morris, one of four brothers who left Virginia for Arkansas, settled on a farm just north of Searcy (White County) with his wife, Sarah Howerton Morris. In 1860, Henry and Sarah Morris made a contract with the builder John Ransom for a house to be built on the farm at the cost of $200. They built the house about halfway between the developing towns of Searcy and Batesville (Independence County) on a …

Morrison Plantation Smokehouse

The Morrison Plantation Smokehouse, the last remnant of the Morrison Plantation, is a stone structure that was constructed around 1854 near the communities of Saginaw and Midway in Hot Spring County. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on December 28, 1977. Daniel Morrison moved to Hot Spring County around 1838 and began purchasing land along the Ouachita River near the future settlement of Midway. Born around 1810 in Georgia, he owned thousands of acres by 1850, including an island in the Ouachita River called Watermelon (or Water Mellon) Island. In addition to several hundred acres located on both sides of the Ouachita in Hot Spring County, Morrison also owned more than a thousand acres in nearby …

Mosaic Templars Cultural Center

The Mosaic Templars Cultural Center (MTCC) opened on September 20, 2008, as the first publicly funded museum of African-American history and culture in Arkansas. The MTCC derives its name from the Mosaic Templars of America (MTA), which was at its height one of the largest black fraternal societies in the United States. The museum stands at the corner of 9th Street and Broadway in Little Rock (Pulaski County) on the site of the National Headquarters of the Mosaic Templars of America. The Mosaic Templars Cultural Center began with the efforts of a group of Little Rock citizens who worked to save the Mosaic Templars of America headquarters, opened in 1913, from destruction. The group, the Mosaic Templars Preservation Society, wished to …

Mount Ida Cities Service Filling Station

The Mount Ida Cities Service Filling Station at 204 Whittington Street in downtown Mount Ida (Montgomery County) was added to the National Register of Historic Places on November 19, 2001. It was used as a location to sell gasoline for more than forty years, closing in 1966. By the mid-1920s, enough automobiles were present in Montgomery County to support a filling station. The station was likely constructed in 1925, as the value of the lot significantly increased that year. The station operated as an independent institution until 1929, when it was leased by Louisiana Oil Refining Company. This company was part of a family of Cities Service companies, which gave the station its name. Cities Service later became known as …

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 Sequoyah Cottages

Located in Fayetteville (Washington County), the Mount Sequoyah Cottages are two wood-frame cottages constructed in the early 1940s, according to property tax records. Located next to one another on Mount Sequoyah at 808 and 810 East Skyline Drive, the cottages were added to the National Register of Historic Places on August 16, 2012. The land on which the cottages stand was donated to the Western Methodist Assembly by the city of Fayetteville in 1922. The Methodists wished to create a retreat for members located in the south-central United States, as the nearest existing facility was in North Carolina. The land, accompanied by a $35,000 donation from the city, allowed the Methodists to create a retreat atop the mountain. Before the …

Mountain View Waterworks

The Mountain View Waterworks is located on the corner of Gaylor and King streets in Mountain View, the seat of Stone County in north-central Arkansas. The metal water tower and associated fieldstone well house were built by the Public Works Administration (PWA) in 1936–37. The Mountain View Waterworks was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 5, 2006. Mountain View and Stone County suffered along with the rest of Arkansas during the Great Depression, and one of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal agencies provided much-needed assistance. The Federal Emergency Administration of Public Works, which became known as the Public Works Administration, was created on June 16, 1933, as part of the National Industrial Recovery Act. While …

Mountainaire Hotel Historic District

The Mountainaire Hotel Historic District consists of two Art Moderne buildings constructed in 1947 as a hotel along Park Avenue in Hot Springs (Garland County). The district was added to the National Register of Historic Places on February 11, 2004, but is abandoned and dilapidated. The thermal waters in Hot Springs attracted travelers to the city for decades before a quality road system was installed linking the area to other settlements. With the paving of what is now Arkansas Highway 5 between Little Rock (Pulaski County) and Hot Springs in 1925, tourists could more easily visit the springs to seek relief for medical problems. When the highway entered Hot Springs, it became Park Avenue, and a number of businesses catering …

Mulberry Home Economics Building

The Mulberry Home Economics Building, located on Church Avenue in Mulberry (Crawford County), was built between 1937 and 1939 with assistance from the National Youth Administration (NYA), a Depression-era federal relief agency. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on September 10, 1992. Mulberry Campground housed one of the first schools in Crawford County in the late 1820s, and a formal school was established in the town of Mulberry in 1878, two years before the community incorporated. In 1931, Mulberry Public Schools consolidated with the Vine Prairie and Pleasant Hill school districts as part of a wave of 591 consolidations around the state, and a $45,000 brick school building was built shortly afterward. In 1937, the school …

Museum of American History

The Museum of American History, formerly known as The Museum/Cabot High, is the only student-founded and -operated museum of history in Arkansas. The award-winning museum, which is owned by the Cabot School District, was founded in 1985 on the campus of Cabot High School and was later moved to a building in downtown Cabot (Lonoke County). The idea for a museum operated by teachers and students originated in 1981 after high school teacher Mike Polston observed how historical artifacts sparked his students’ interest. He and fellow teacher David Howard formed a school history club with the stated goal of collecting, preserving, and displaying objects associated with the history of the United States. Exhibits were initially constructed in the school library; …