Museums and Historic Sites

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Entry Category: Museums and Historic Sites

Battle Mound Site

The Battle Mound site is a Caddo site located along the Red River in Lafayette County. The Red River landscape is an ecologically diverse region with numerous channel scars, oxbow lakes, and back swamps. With agriculturally productive soil deposits and a web of linked navigable waterways, the region has numerous prehistoric and historic archaeological sites, many being sites left by the ancestors of the Caddo Indians who lived in this area from at least as early as circa AD 900 and as late as the early nineteenth century. The most prominent feature at Battle Mound is a large north-south-aligned earthen mound with at least three platforms. The mound is the largest in the Caddo area and one of the largest …

Bauxite Historical Association and Museum

The Bauxite Historical Association and Museum (BHAM) works to preserve the history and culture of the company-owned town of Bauxite (Saline County). The organization started its life as the Alcoa Employees Descendants Association (AEDA), which was created on October 15, 1986, as a non-profit organization charged with the maintenance, protection, and everyday business of the Bauxite Community Hall and all other property deeded to it by the Aluminum Company of America (Alcoa). The community hall building houses the Bauxite Historical Museum. The building’s main hall is run by the association and functions as a venue for local events. The community hall was finished in 1926. Built by the Republic Mining & Manufacturing Company, the building itself was dedicated as the …

Baxter County Courthouse

The Baxter County Courthouse was opened the week of August 13, 1943. Designed by Fayetteville (Washington County) architect T. Ewing Shelton, who used a Plain Traditional style with minimal Art Deco influences, the building is minimalistic in nature, reflecting the “functional emphasis common to Depression-era projects.” The Baxter County Courthouse was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on May 26, 1995. Located at 1 East 7th Street in Mountain Home (Baxter County), the Baxter County Courthouse was constructed by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) between 1941 and 1943. The exterior is cut stone with buff brick veneer, with the only decoration being marble panels in a variety of patterns resting between the basement and first floor, between the first …

Bearden Waterworks

The Bearden Waterworks, located on the northwest corner of North Second and North Cedar streets in Bearden (Ouachita 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 October 5, 2006. As the United States struggled with the effects of 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. Though …

Beebe Jail

The Beebe Jail, located in an alley east of the junction of North Main and Illinois streets in Beebe (White County), is a one-story, reinforced-concrete structure built in 1934 with apparent assistance from a pair of a Depression-era federal relief agencies. The Beebe Jail was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on September 13, 1991. Beebe had been without a city jail for several years when local leaders sought funding through President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal. Details on which agencies were involved vary. A July 3, 1934, Arkansas Gazette article states that “after having been without a jail for eight years, town officials announced today that a new jail will be erected soon under PWA [Public Works …

Beely-Johnson Post 139 American Legion Hut

Located in downtown Springdale (Washington and Benton counties), the Beely-Johnson Post 139 American Legion Hut was built in 1934 by American Legion members and local citizens. A kitchen was added to the building’s interior in 1937 by the Legion Auxiliary. The one-story building is constructed of rough-cut native stone quarried from a mountain east of Springdale. There have been no major changes to the building over the years. The Beely-Johnson Post 139 American Legion Hut was organized as the Clarence E. Beely Post in 1921, named in honor of Springdale’s first World War I casualty. An American Legion Auxiliary was established in 1922. In 1962, the post’s name was changed to include the name of Elmer Johnson Jr., the city’s …

Bella Vista Historical Museum

The Bella Vista Historical Museum, located on Highway 71 in Bella Vista (Benton County), preserves more than 100 years of the history of the local community, which originated as a summer resort, became a retirement and recreation village, and eventually became an incorporated municipality. The Bella Vista Historical Society, organized in 1976 as an outgrowth of the American bicentennial celebration that year, opened the original museum in 1985, with one addition completed in 1995 and a second addition completed in 2015. The museum receives some funding from the City of Bella Vista, and also relies on donations and membership dues to help pay for operating expenses. The starting point for the museum collection was the receipt of materials from the Linebarger …

Bella Vista Water Tank

The Bella Vista Water Tank sits on a small, triangular piece of land at the corner of Cunningham Drive and Cedar Crest Drive in Bella Vista (Benton County). It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on August 14, 1992. The three Linebarger brothers, who developed the original summer resort of Bella Vista, had the 55,000-gallon tank built of native fieldstone in 1927 at a cost of $5,500. The tank was built to provide water to part of their Lake Bella Vista Summer Resort, which they had opened in 1917. The stone mason was Willard Glenn Braithwaite of Bentonville (Benton County). Below the Big Spring just east of Bella Vista Lake, the Linebargers installed hydraulic rams to pump …

Bellaire Court Historic District

The Bellaire Court Historic District is a tourist court in Hot Springs (Garland County). Constructed in 1936, the court consists of eight Craftsman bungalow-style cottages and a manager’s office. The district is also known as the Bellaire Apartments, as it was converted to apartments in the 1970s. Located at 637 Park Avenue, the court is laid out in an L shape. The manager’s office faces Park Avenue, and five units are attached to the rear of the office, perpendicular to the street. The remaining three units are part of a separate building, facing Magnolia Avenue at the rear of the property. An asphalt driveway connects the property to Park Avenue. Little is known about the construction of the court. Located …

Belle Grove Historic District

The Belle Grove Historic District in Fort Smith (Sebastian County) is located northwest of the city’s downtown commercial district and contains twenty-two square blocks. It is bounded by North H Street on the north, halfway between North B and C streets on the south, the alley between North 8th Street and North 9th Street on the east, and the alley between North 4th Street and North 5th Street on the west. The Belle Grove Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on July 16, 1973, for its significance in architecture, education, politics, and social/humanitarian influences. On September 3, 1974, the neighborhood was established as a historic district by local ordinance. It is the oldest residential neighborhood …

Bellingrath House

The Bellingrath House, located in White Hall (Jefferson County), was listed on the National Register of Historic Properties in 1994 as an excellent and singular example of the English-Revival architectural style within White Hall. The house was commissioned by Ferdinand McMillan Bellingrath and his wife, Catherine Oudin Bellingrath, and it remains in the hands of the Bellingrath/Oudin family in the twenty-first century. Ferdinand Bellingrath was the son of Leonard Ferdinand Bellingrath and Mary Jane Castleberry Bellingrath, who originally resided in Georgia before relocating to the Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) area in 1916 to expand their Coca-Cola bottling operation. Ferdinand Bellingrath eventually began helping his father operate the Pine Bluff bottling plant, started by his uncles in 1911, before finally taking over …

Belmont Missionary Baptist Church and Cemetery

The Belmont Missionary Baptist Church and Cemetery are located in a rural area in the southeastern corner of Jefferson County, roughly half a mile to the west of the intersection of Highway 199 and Belmont Road. Established in 1901, the site is the oldest extant resource in the Moscow (Jefferson County) vicinity representing the African-American post-bellum settlement of southeastern Jefferson County. The property is representative of small, rural African-American churches and cemeteries in the South, and covers roughly two acres. It was listed on the Arkansas Register of Historic Properties on December 4, 2019. The original 1901 church building was lost to a fire around 1945; all of the church records and history were also lost to the blaze, which …

Ben Laney Bridge

The Ben Laney Bridge is located in Camden (Ouachita County). Spanning the Ouachita River, the bridge carries traffic from U.S. Highway 79 Business and Arkansas Highway 7. The bridge, which was constructed in 1947, was added to the National Register of Historic Places on June 9, 2000. Camden’s early economy was directly tied to its location as the head of practical navigation on the Ouachita River. As the major commercial center in southern Arkansas, it needed reliable infrastructure in order to continue to grow. However, the city did not have a bridge over the river for decades and, instead, utilized a ferry. During the Camden Expedition of 1864, a pontoon bridge was used by the Union army, while Confederate forces …

Benjamin Clayton Black House

The Benjamin Clayton Black House, located at 300 East Race Street in Searcy (White County), is one of the few remaining landmarks of early Victorian architecture in Arkansas. The original structure, built just prior to the Civil War, was a one-story, two-room house with a common fireplace. Its later form, a two-story frame house with an elaborately detailed two-story veranda, is the result of extensive modifications and remodeling begun by Benjamin Clayton Black in 1872. The yellow house stands a few blocks from the town square, serving as a colorful reminder of Searcy’s past. The Benjamin Clayton Black House was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on November 20, 1974. In early 1866, Benjamin Clayton Black purchased four …

Bennett House

The Bennett House was constructed in 1904 along First Street in Benton (Saline County). The single-family residence was constructed in the Folk Victorian style and features many of the characteristics of this style, including elaborate siding, a front-facing gable with a wing, and an elaborate porch. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on January 21, 2020. The house is named for William Hosea Bennett, a native of Georgia who traveled west and eventually bought several hundred acres of land in Arkansas along the Saline River. Living in Benton, he was married twice and had nine children. Bennett found considerable success in the pottery and brick business and later became involved in floral ventures as well. He …

Benton Commercial Historic District

The Benton Commercial Historic District consists of fifty-three buildings located in the heart of downtown Benton (Saline County). Its buildings cover a long span of the county’s history from the early 1900s to the 1990s. It contains several properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Among its most historic buildings are the Royal Theatre, the Saline County Courthouse, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows Building, the Benton Masonic Lodge, the Ashby Building, and the H. J. Gingles Building. The district encompasses 10.79 acres of land and contains Benton’s most used commercial buildings. Only three buildings in the Benton Commercial Historic District were built after 1958. The district was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on July …

Benton County Courthouse

The Benton County Courthouse at 106 Southeast A Street in Bentonville (Benton County) is a three-story public building constructed in 1928 and designed in the Neoclassical style by prominent architect Albert Oscar (A. O.) Clarke. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on January 28, 1988. The first term of the Benton County court was held in the home of County Judge George P. Wallace in April 1837, and a small log courthouse was built on the north side of the Bentonville square in time to house the spring court session in 1838. This served until 1841, when John and William Walker were hired to build a brick building that survived until Union troops burned it in …

Berryville Agricultural Building

The Berryville Agriculture Building, located in the Berryville High School complex at 902 West Trimble Street in Berryville (Carroll County), was built in 1940 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 September 10, 1992. The Berryville School District learned in July 1936 that it had been selected to participate in the federal Smith-Hughes program, which supplied funding so that local districts could provide vocational training for students. There was a question of where the instruction would be given, however, with the Berryville Star-Progress reporting on July 9 that “it is not known whether a Smith-Hughes building will be erected,” or whether classes would …

Berryville Gymnasium

The Berryville Gymnasium, located in the Berryville High School complex at 902 West Trimble Street in Berryville (Carroll County), was built in 1936–37 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 September 10, 1992. The Berryville School District decided to take advantage of the programs of the WPA to improve its campus and, in 1936, requested assistance in building a new structure that could serve as a gymnasium and an auditorium. The district learned in late April that the WPA approved $15,434 for the building, and by early July the Berryville Star-Progress reported that “funds have already been set aside for this project and …

Berryville Post Office

The Berryville Post Office at 101 East Madison Avenue in Berryville (Carroll County) is a one-story, brick-masonry structure designed in the Colonial Revival style of architecture and featuring a sculpture by Daniel Olney financed by 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. In late 1937, Congress authorized $70 million for public works projects over a three-year period. The majority of those were post offices, and among four in Arkansas was a new post office for Berryville. The building was designed in 1938 and erected by 1939 by …

Bethel Cemetery

aka: Old Bethel Cemetery
Bethel Cemetery, named after the nearby extinct Bethel Church, is located in the west-central area of Lawrence County, in the vicinity of the former rural town of Denton (Lawrence County). The cemetery is listed in the National Register of Historic Places under Criterion A with local significance for its association with the early exploration and settlement of that community. Denton, a now-defunct town located six miles west of Powhatan (Lawrence County) on State Highway 117, is one of several communities that experienced a slow decline after railroad companies built tracks through eastern Lawrence County. Situated in the Flat Creek valley, Denton sprang up at the crossroads of the Military Road and the Powhatan-Smithville Road. Settlers began arriving about 1850. Some would …

Big Buffalo Valley Historic District

aka: Boxley Valley Historic District
Located in Newton County near Ponca (Newton County), the Big Buffalo Valley Historic District (also known as the Boxley Valley Historic District) includes a number of historic structures dating between 1879 and 1930. Also included in the district are a number of archeological sites representing prehistoric peoples. The sites in the district are scattered across the entire valley, which measures more than 8,000 acres. The district was added to the National Register of Historic Places on July 29, 1987, with the original application amended on November 7, 1990. When created in 1987, the district included about 250 structures. Of the fifty residential structures in the district, only about twenty were occupied at that time. Structures included in the district fall …

Big Flat School Gymnasium

The Big Flat School Gymnasium, located on State Highway 14 in Big Flat (Baxter and Searcy counties), was built between 1938 and 1941 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 November 19, 1993. Though the town of Big Flat was not incorporated until 1939, the Big Flat School District existed before that, being the thirty-second district organized in Baxter County and hosting three teachers and 137 students by 1931. By 1938, local residents decided a gymnasium was needed to serve the students and community, and they sought support from the NYA, which hired people aged fourteen to thirty, both male and female, to …

Bill Clinton Boyhood Home

aka: Birnbaum-Shubetz House
The boyhood home of President Bill Clinton is today a private residence located at 1011 Park Avenue in the northern part of Hot Springs (Garland County). On May 18, 1995, it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Also known as the Birnbaum-Shubetz House, it was constructed between 1896 and 1900, originally built in the Queen Anne style and redesigned in the Tudor Revival style in 1938. Although a two-story wood frame structure, it appears to be one and a half stories due to a steeply pitched gabled roof. Its exterior is stucco, stone, and wood half-timbers. The front porch has been described as Swiss Chalet style. The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program has termed it the area’s finest …

Billings-Cole House

The Billings-Cole House is located on East Page Avenue/U.S. Highway 67 in a mixed-use commercial and residential area in Malvern (Hot Spring County). The house was constructed in 1948 and added to the National Register of Historic Places on May 27, 2015. With details of both the Art Moderne and International styles, the Billings-Cole House is an example of an uncommon architectural style for small-town Arkansas. The home was designed by Irven McDaniel of Hot Springs (Garland County). The house was constructed for Dr. Ammon Alexander Billings, a local optometrist and jeweler. Billings resided in the home until 1950, when he sold it to Dr. John Walton Cole, a general practitioner. Cole lived in the home and used the basement …

Bishop Brookes House

The Bishop Brookes House is a Colonial Revival–style home located in De Queen (Sevier County). Constructed between 1922 and 1928, the home was added to the National Register of Historic Places on November 18, 1999. The town of De Queen was laid out on April 26, 1897. Established along the route of the Kansas City Southern Railroad, the settlement grew quickly. Despite an early setback due to fire in 1899, the town quickly became an economic hub in southwestern Arkansas. By 1936, the town had more than 3,400 residents. Attracted by the economic opportunities in the area, Bishop Brookes moved to De Queen in 1909. A native of Wheatley (St. Francis County), Brookes attended pharmacy school at the University of …

Black River Bridge (Historic)

The Black River Bridge is the name given to a historic bridge spanning the Black River in Randolph County. Built as part of U.S. Highway 67, the Black River Bridge was added to the National Register of Historic Places on April 9, 1990, and maintained by the Arkansas Department of Transportation. The Pocahontas (Randolph County) section of Highway 67 opened in February 1931. The confluence of Highways 90 and 115 with U.S. Highway 67 in Pocahontas required a bridge to provide for safe travel across the Black River. To begin the construction of a bridge, the State Highway Commission needed federal approval through the U.S. Congress and through the War Department. This approval was set in place to ensure that …

Blackfish Lake Ferry Site

The Blackfish Lake Ferry Site marks the location where a ferry was established in 1826 to allow travelers on the Memphis to Little Rock Road to cross Blackfish Lake in eastern St. Francis County. Surveyors hired to lay out a route for the proposed Memphis to Little Rock Road noted that Blackfish Lake was among the obstacles to be overcome in rugged eastern Arkansas. When they reported to Secretary of War John C. Calhoun on February 12, 1825, that they had selected the best possible route through eastern Arkansas, they included a description of Blackfish Lake east of Crowley’s Ridge and a recommendation that a ferry be established to cross it: “Blackfish—this stream has been considered the great obstacle in the …

Blakely House

The Blakely House was constructed as a dogtrot-style house in 1874 by the son of one of the early settlers in the Social Hill (Hot Spring County) area. Located on Arkansas Highway 84, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places on May 3, 1976. Adam Blakely arrived in the area in the 1820s and, by 1837, owned almost 200 acres of land in the area. Over the next several decades, Blakely built a successful plantation near the Ouachita River and the waterway named for him, Blakely Creek. The house was constructed by Adam Blakely’s youngest son, Greenberry (or Green Berry) Blakely. Born on December 25, 1855, he married Martha Ingersoll (sometimes spelled Englesaw) on December 12, 1875. …

Boone County Courthouse

The Boone County Courthouse in Harrison is a 1909 Georgian Revival–styled red brick building designed by architect Charles L. Thompson of Little Rock (Pulaski County) and built by A. M. Byrnes and C. H. McCauley. The two-story structure is one of the most architecturally significant courthouses in Arkansas. A basic frame structure was used as the courthouse from 1873 until 1909, when the Boone County government hired Thompson to design a new courthouse for the community. Thompson was very well known throughout Arkansas as one of the most prominent and inventive architects in the region. The building itself is a two-story structure built of red brick with red tiling on the roof. Two chimneys rise from the gabled roof, which is …