Entries - Time Period: Early Twentieth Century (1901 - 1940) - Starting with P

P. D. Burton House

The 1916 Craftsman-style P. D. Burton House, located at 305 Chestnut Street in Lewisville (Lafayette County), was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1998. The home exhibits the bulk of its original detailing on the exterior and interior. A rear bedroom addition is the only alteration to the house. Percy Duffield (P. D.) Burton arrived in Lewisville, a major timber town, with his father, Major John Benjamin Burton, after the Civil War. Percy attended college in Fayetteville (Washington County) and then became a contract tie-purchaser with the St. Louis, Arkansas and Texas Railway, commonly called the Cotton Belt, which had constructed lines in the area beginning in 1882. Percy and his brother John began purchasing land around Lewisville …

Palace Theatre

The Palace Theatre is the oldest building of its kind in Saline County and one of three original movie theaters in Benton (Saline County). It was erected in 1919 at 224 West South Street for a reported cost of $60,000. Originally, the Palace was owned by C. H. (Charley) Womack and was hailed as “The Show Place of the South” by the Benton Courier in 1920. It was listed on the Arkansas Register of Historic Places in 2014. After World War I, three silent movie theaters were built in Benton: Alice Wooten’s Independent Motion Pictures (IMP) Theater, now the Royal Theatre on South Market Street; the Victory Theatre at 104 West South Street, now a barbershop; and finally the Palace. …

Pankey (Pulaski County)

Pankey is a small African-American community located in western Pulaski County, approximately thirteen miles from downtown Little Rock (Pulaski County). Now a part of Little Rock, it is one of three communities—and the last remaining intact—that were owned and subdivided by real estate agent and land developer Josephine Irvin (or Irving) Harris Pankey. Josephine Pankey was born Josephine Irvin (or Irving) in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1869; her father was a former slave. She was sent to Arkansas by the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church in 1892 as a missionary to teach children of sharecroppers and tenant farmers in Prairie County. She moved to Little Rock in the early 1900s; married Samuel Pankey in 1904; taught school in the Little Rock School District for …

Pankey, Josephine Irvin Harris

Josephine Irvin Harris Pankey was a real estate developer, educator, philanthropist, and leader in the African-American community of Little Rock (Pulaski County) for the first half of the twentieth century. Josephine Irvin was born on November 17, 1869, in Cleveland, Ohio. Her parents were William R. Irvin and Katherine Harris Irvin. She was the oldest of their five children. Her father was a self-employed whitewasher, her mother a homemaker. Irvin attended elementary school in Cleveland, including at Oberlin College’s Academy, a preparatory school connected with the college. After graduation, she enrolled in Oberlin College but withdrew because of an illness. She was musically talented and studied at the conservatory that was connected with the academy and the college. By 1892, …

Paragould Meteorite

Two, possibly three, huge rocks from outer space put the Arkansas town of Paragould (Greene County) into the history and science books early in 1930. What is now known as the Paragould Meteorite was, at that time, the largest meteorite to ever have been seen falling and then recovered. A belt of rocks known as the asteroid belt, left over from the formation of the solar system, orbits the sun mainly between the orbits of planets Mars and Jupiter. Due to the gravity of nearby Jupiter, some of these rocks can stray inward and cross Earth’s orbit, even striking it. At 4:08 a.m. on February 17, 1930, the orbit of one of these rocks crossed Earth’s orbit, and two fields …

Paragould War Memorial

The Paragould War Memorial is a Statue of Liberty replica raised at the Greene County Courthouse in 1924 to honor the men of the county who had served and died in World War I. According to American Legion records, 476 Greene County men served in the U.S. military during World War I, and forty men died while in service. In the 1920s, the people of the county decided to honor them with a memorial at the Greene County Courthouse in Paragould. A public effort raised $2,000 to pay for the monument. They chose a Statue of Liberty replica copyrighted by Chicago, Illinois, sculptor John Paulding as the centerpiece of their memorial, perhaps eschewing the sculptor’s doughboy-style Over the Top design …

Paris Post Office

The Paris Post Office in Paris (Logan County) is a one-story, brick-masonry structure designed in the Colonial Revival 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. Built in 1938, the post office was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on August 14, 1998. In August 1937, Congress passed an appropriation bill providing a $23 million lump sum for construction of public buildings. Included in the allocation was $75,000 for a new post office for Paris, the seat of the eastern district of Logan County. A month later, Postmaster General James A. Farley and …

Park Hill Historic District

The Park Hill Historic District in North Little Rock (Pulaski County) recognizes the city’s first planned suburban development and its growth. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2000, following a survey by historian Sandra Taylor Smith, the district includes 568 properties from two distinct periods of development: 1920s Craftsman bungalows and Period Revival styles, and 1940s Minimal Traditional styles. The historic designation is strictly honorary, not being subject to regulations regarding architectural change. In 1921, businessman Justin Matthews Sr. acquired significant acreage in the sparsely populated, wooded “high country” north of the North Little Rock city limits. With the Broadway Bridge under construction and the time being ripe for development, Matthews announced the debut of Park Hill in …

Park Hotel

The Park Hotel is a seven-story hotel located at 211 Fountain Street in downtown Hot Springs (Garland County) near Bathhouse Row. Built by the renowned architectural firm of Thompson, Sanders and Ginocchio, the hotel and restaurant in its lobby are still in operation in the twenty-first century. The Park Hotel was added to the National Register of Historic Places on January 22, 1982. The tan brick building is located at the upper entrance to the Hot Springs National Park Grand Promenade, which is a brick pathway through the wooded hills behind Bathhouse Row. The Park Hotel is about a block northeast of the dining, entertainment, and shopping establishments of the Central Avenue Historic District. The Park Hotel was completed in …

Park, Neil Hamill

Neil Hamill Park was one of the first professionally trained and licensed landscape architects to practice in Arkansas and was instrumental in the introduction of the discipline of landscape architecture to the state. In his long career, he shaped many significant landscapes, particularly in Little Rock (Pulaski County). His diverse career vividly reflected many of the significant economic and cultural shifts from the 1920s through the 1970s. Neil Hamill Park was born in Lansing, Michigan, on May 12, 1904, to Agnes Hamill Park and Elijah Crane Park. In 1912, the family moved to Parkin (Cross County), where Agnes Hamill Park had been transferred to manage the Lansing Company; she subsequently became a noted community leader, spearheading efforts to bring electricity, …

Parks School House

The Parks School House is located north of Highway 28 in Parks, an unincorporated community in Scott County. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on June 6, 2002. L. K. Robertson sold the property on which the school house is situated to the Parks School District No. 39 on February 17, 1931. A temporary wooden school house was constructed on the site until it was removed for the present building to be built in 1940. Unemployment was at an all-time high for the Parks area and most of Arkansas at the time, and the Great Depression and Dust Bowl had forced farmers and their families to leave Arkansas. However, word spread about the Work Progress Administration …

Parks, Tilman Bacon

Tilman Bacon Parks was a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He represented the Seventh District of Arkansas in the Sixty-Seventh through the Seventy-Fourth Congresses, serving from 1921 to 1937. Tilman B. Parks was born near Lewisville (Lafayette County) on May 14, 1872, to William P. Parks and Mattie Douglass Parks. He received his early education in the local common schools before attending the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Virginia at Charlottesville. Parks married Fay Newton on March 4, 1897, and they had a son and two daughters. He studied law and was admitted to the state bar in 1900, after which he opened a private practice in Lewisville. While still developing his practice, …

Parnell, Harvey

Harvey Parnell was the first lieutenant governor of the twentieth century and twenty-ninth governor of Arkansas. During his term as governor, he appointed Hattie Caraway to the U.S. Senate. She later became the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate. Harvey Parnell was born in Orlando (Cleveland County) on February 28, 1880, to William Robert Parnell, a farmer, and Mary Elizabeth Martin. He shared farm chores with four brothers and two sisters. He was educated in the one-room schoolhouses of rural Arkansas. At the age of eighteen, he moved to Warren (Bradley County), where he attended high school and worked in the local hardware store. Parnell’s early career as a small business owner and farmer influenced his later career as …

Patrick, William (Lynching of)

On December 3, 1915, an African-American man named William Patrick was lynched in St. Francis County for allegedly killing a young white man named Bard Nichols in October of that year. There is very little information available about William Patrick. In 1900, there was an eighteen-year-old African American by that name boarding in Franks Township in St. Francis County and working on a farm. He could both read and write. In 1910, there was an African American named W. D. Patrick living in Franks Township; his age is listed as thirty-six at the time, making him a slightly more likely candidate. He was a farmer living with his wife and four small children. If Patrick was fifty-five years old as …

Paul Laurence Dunbar High School

aka: Dunbar Junior and Senior High School and Junior College
Dunbar Junior and Senior High School and Junior College, located at the corner of Wright Avenue and Ringo Street in Little Rock (Pulaski County), is significant in four areas: African-American history, education history, legal history, and architecture/engineering achievement. From 1929 to 1955, Dunbar offered a comprehensive education for black students in Little Rock. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. Known historically as a Rosenwald School and funded in part by Julius Rosenwald—president of Sears, Roebuck and Company—Dunbar Junior and Senior High School and Junior College was completed in 1929 as the Negro School of Industrial Arts. It was part of a comprehensive nationwide program, funded primarily by Rosenwald, to improve the quality of …

Paul Laurence Dunbar School Neighborhood Historic District

Dotted with homes dating to the 1890s, the Paul Laurence Dunbar School Neighborhood Historic District in downtown Little Rock (Pulaski County) has been described by the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program as “reflecting the varied architectural styles prevalent during the late-nineteenth and early-to-mid-twentieth centuries, exhibiting a broad mix of influences and architectural variants popular during the period.” The district is nestled between the Governor’s Mansion Historic District to the east and the Central High School Neighborhood Historic District to the west. Paul Laurence Dunbar Junior and Senior High School and Junior College, from which the historic district takes its name, was erected in 1929. “The elaborate Art Deco school is undoubtedly the architectural showcase of the neighborhood,” noted the Paul Laurence …

Paulette, Gene

Gene Paulette was a professional baseball player whose career totaled six seasons in the major leagues. He played with four clubs: the American League’s St. Louis Browns and the National League’s St. Louis Cardinals, New York Giants, and Philadelphia Phillies. An athlete of average speed and hitting ability, Paulette excelled as a defensive infielder. His time in the major leagues was cut short when, amid game-fixing accusations, he became the first player ever to be banned from baseball. After his career ended, Paulette returned to Arkansas, where he lived the rest of his life. Gene Paulette was born on May 26, 1891, in Centralia, Illinois, to Joseph Paulette and Marguerite DeServe Paulette. Paulette was the eleventh of twelve children born …

Peake High School

Peake High School served the African-American community in Arkadelphia (Clark County) for decades. Partially funded by the Rosenwald Fund, the building was constructed in 1928 and eventually became part of the Peake Elementary School campus. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on January 19, 2005. The first school built for African Americans in Arkadelphia opened in 1891. While educational opportunities for black children had existed in the community since 1869, the Sloan School on West Main was the first purpose-built public educational building. Arkadelphia Baptist Academy and the Bethel Institute (later Shorter College) also operated in the city during this period. The need for a newer building increased as the population of Arkadelphia grew, and the …

Pellagra

Pellagra is a form of malnutrition caused by a severe deficiency of niacin (also known as nicotinic acid or vitamin B3) in the diet. The disease affected thousands of Arkansans and other Southerners in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Symptoms of pellagra can include lack of energy, outbreaks of red splotches on the skin, diarrhea, and—in extreme cases—depression, dementia, and even death. Pellagra is not contagious, and the condition can be reversed. The lethargic appearance of pellagra victims was also a symptom of two other diseases widely found in the South at the time, hookworm and malaria. These three contributed to the false stereotype of Southerners at this time as lazy. Pellagra was first recognized as a disease in 1762 …

Peonage

The term “peonage” refers to a debt labor system whereby workers are tied to a landowner due to debts owed the landowner by the worker. Peonage is considered a form of slavery since the worker is essentially prohibited from leaving the control of the landowner. Peonage was declared illegal by Congress in 1867, and two of the most famous peonage investigations occurred in Arkansas during the first decades of the twentieth century. Potential for peonage came about following the Civil War when the South’s agricultural economy shifted from use of a slavery-based workforce to a farming environment that relied on a mixture of hired labor and tenant farming or sharecropping. The sharecropping system encouraged indebtedness to the landowner since supplies …

Perryville American Legion Building

aka: Doyle-Leach Post American Legion Hut
The Perryville American Legion Building at 408 West Main Street in Perryville (Perry County) is a single-story, Rustic-style structure built in 1933–1934. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on September 5, 1990. Perryville’s American Legion post was named for two Perry County World War I soldiers: Luther Doyle of Aplin (Perry County), who died of pneumonia at age twenty-five on September 14, 1918, and Daniel L. Leach of Houston (Perry County), who served in 164 Company of the Transport Corps and survived the war. In the early 1930s, members of the Doyle-Leach Post sought funding from the federal government for assistance in constructing a building to house their activities. The United States provided $2,500 for the …

Person, Charline Woodford Beasley

Charline Woodford Beasley Person ran a 5,000-acre cotton plantation in Miller County, Arkansas, after the death of her husband. Person was an active community and church leader, helping build the community church in Garland (Miller County) and steering her hometown through the Great Depression. She was also the only woman chosen to represent Arkansas at the St. Louis Exposition of 1926. Charline Woodford Beasley was born on December 2, 1876, in Lewisville (Lafayette County), the daughter of Charles Hunter Beasley and Lucy Lungren Beasley. Beasley attended Lewisville School, and she was not quite seventeen when she married Levin King Person Jr. (1862–1911) in “Old Lewisville” in 1893. They had three children. In January 1911, Levin Person died suddenly from a …

Petit Jean Meats

Petit Jean Meats is a pork processor and retailer located in Morrilton (Conway County). Family owned since its origins in the late 1920s, the company is the only privately owned red-meat processor still operating in Arkansas. It is also an official sponsor of the Dallas Cowboys football team. In 1922, Felix Schlosser left his native Germany to practice the butchering trade in Arkansas, where some of his relatives had already established themselves. After working at the Little Rock Packing Company and Becker Packing Company, he settled in Morrilton near his cousin, Mary Ruff. He opened a retail meat market with his partner, Ellis Bentley, who sold his share to Schlosser after two years. The small market burned but was reopened …

Pfeiffer, Pauline

Pauline Pfeiffer was a successful journalist who wrote for such magazines as Vanity Fair and Vogue. From 1927 to 1940, she was married to author Ernest Hemingway, being the second of his four wives. At her family’s home in Piggott (Clay County), Hemingway wrote some of the works that would contribute to a 1954 Nobel Laureate in Literature for his contribution to writing. Hemingway credited her as being the best editor with whom he ever worked. Pauline Marie Pfeiffer was born in Parkersburg, Iowa, on July 22, 1895, to Mary Downey Pfeiffer and wealthy businessman Paul Pfeiffer. Pauline was the oldest of the Pfeiffers’ four children; Karl was born in 1900, Virginia (called Jinny) in 1902, and Max in 1907 …

Phillips County Courthouse

The Phillips County Courthouse, located at 622 Cherry Street and completed in 1915, is in the heart of downtown Helena-West Helena (Phillips County). The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program recognizes the three-story building as architecturally and historically significant for its local standing and as the best example of the Classical Revival architecture in Phillips County. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on July 5, 1977. It stands in the Cherry Street Historic District. Located in what was once the city of Helena (which merged with the later city of West Helena in 2006), the old Phillips County Courthouse was built in 1869. The two-story building with a bell tower cost over $44,000. In 1911, Phillips County decided …

Phillips County Penal Farm Historic District

The Phillips County Penal Farm Historic District, located on Phillips County Road 353 south of U.S. 49 near Poplar Grove, contains a main jail building constructed of concrete with a large concrete block section at the rear, two additional concrete block jail buildings, and a cast-concrete water tower. The complex is no longer in use and is heavily overgrown, but it still reflects its original use as a county prison farm. According to Goodspeed’s Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Eastern Arkansas, a sturdy jail was a local priority from the earliest days of Phillips County. The first structure built for county use was a two-story log building that housed a courtroom above and a jail below, which were soon replaced …

Phoenix Hotel

The Phoenix Hotel was located in Rison (Cleveland County). The two-story red-brick building was located on Main Street and was the largest commercial building in the city. Constructed in 1913, the building was added to the National Register of Historic Places on October 4, 2002. After years of neglect, the building was demolished by the City of Rison in August 2014. Incorporated in 1890, Rison served as a hub for the timber industry in southern Arkansas. Workers flocked to the area to work in sawmills and other timber-related industries, as well as on the railroad. Several hotels served the area before the construction of the Phoenix Hotel. The White Hotel, named for early owner John White, began operations in the …

Physical Education Building (Arkansas Tech University)

aka: Techionery Building
The Physical Education Building, located at 1502 North El Paso Street on the Arkansas Tech University campus in Russellville (Pope County), is a two-story brick building designed in the Classical Revival style of architecture and built in 1937 with assistance from the Public Works Administration (PWA), a Depression-era federal relief agency. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on September 10, 1992. Arkansas Polytechnic College (which later became Arkansas Tech University) had seventeen major buildings, including several dormitories that the U.S. Office of Education deemed “unfit for human habitation,” at the time Joseph W. Hull became the college’s eighth president in January 1932 and embarked on a major building campaign. The college received $135,000 from the PWA …

Piggott Post Office

The Piggott Post Office at 119 North Third Street in Piggott (Clay County) is a one-story, brick-masonry building constructed in 1937–38 and featuring a mural 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. Little documentation exists regarding the building of the Piggott Post Office, but by the time construction on the new Piggott Post Office was three-quarters complete on November 1, 1937, the Section decided to seek permission to commission a mural for the building. According to a December 17, 1937, memo from the Section to …

Pike County Courthouse

The Pike County Courthouse is located on Courthouse Square in the heart of downtown Murfreesboro (Pike County). It is situated along Highway 27 and is at the crossroads of the city. The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program recognizes the three-story building as architecturally and historically significant as the finest example of an Art Deco structure in Pike County. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on October 16, 1986. The current Pike County Courthouse is the fourth to stand on the site. According to a historical marker on the courthouse lawn, the first was a log structure. It was built in 1836, the year of Arkansas’s admittance into statehood, and served county affairs until a fire destroyed it …

Pindall, Xenophon Overton

Xenaphon Overton Pindall—attorney, Mason, civic leader, Democrat, and legislator—served as acting governor of Arkansas from May 14, 1907, until January 11, 1909. Rising to the position through an improbable series of circumstances, Pindall focused on the administrative detail of the office and used the power of appointment to shape the policies of state government. X. O. Pindall was born on August 21, 1873, in Monroe County, Missouri, to Colonel Lebbeus A. and Elnorah Snell Pindall. His father was an attorney and later served in the Arkansas legislature. His mother was from a prominent Missouri family. He had three brothers, two of whom died in infancy and one who died at the age of sixteen. During the Civil War, Pindall’s father …

Pine Bluff Confederate Monument

The Pine Bluff Confederate Monument is a commemorative sculpture erected in 1910 on the grounds of Pine Bluff High School by the David O. Dodd Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) to commemorate a young spy and the area men who had served in the Confederate army during the Civil War. It was later moved to the grounds of the Jefferson County Courthouse. In 1907, the David O. Dodd Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy—named for a young spy hanged in Little Rock (Pulaski County) in 1864—decided to join other chapters around the state in sponsoring a monument to honor the local men who had fought in the Confederate army. The Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) …

Pine Bluff National Guard Armory

The Pine Bluff National Guard Armory at 623 West Second Avenue in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) is a single-story, Art Deco–style structure built in 1931–1932. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on February 16, 2001. 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 Mena …

Pine Bluff Street Historic District

The Pine Bluff Street Historic District is a residential area located in Malvern (Hot Spring County). The western edge of the district is the intersection of Pine Bluff Street and Gloster Court and concludes at 728 Pine Bluff Street, located between South Banks and McNeal streets. The district contains buildings on both the north and south sides of the street with the exception of a two-block section between Overman and Banks streets. The district was added to the National Register of Historic Places on February 16, 1999. At the time of the nomination, thirty-five buildings were included in the district, with twenty contributing structures. Two buildings that are individually listed on the National Register are included in the district: the …

Pine Bluff Weekly Herald

Established in 1900 by Jesse Chisholm (J. C.) Duke, the Pine Bluff Weekly Herald was an African-American newspaper published in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County). During its short run, the Herald published on Saturdays and featured local, state, national, and international news, as well as entertainment and advertising. To date, no records have surfaced to document how long the paper circulated, and only one issue, published on January 27, 1900, has been archived. However, some information is available about editor J. C. Duke. Born a slave in Alabama in 1853, Duke began his career in the newspaper business by serving as editor of the Montgomery Herald until he was chased out of the state because of his bold and controversial editorial …

Pittman, Margaret

Margaret Pittman was known worldwide for her pioneering research into the microbiology and immunology of infectious diseases. Her work in developing a vaccine for whooping cough remains the scientific basis (with later improvements) for protecting the children of Arkansas and the world from this potentially deadly disease. Margaret Pittman was born near Prairie Grove (Washington County) on January 20, 1901, to James Pittman, a country doctor, and Virginia Alice McCormick. In 1909, the family moved to the village of Cincinnati (Washington County), where Margaret and her sister sometimes helped with administering anesthesia and vaccinating patients in their father’s practice. After his early death, Virginia Pittman took her children—Margaret, Mary Helen, and James—to Conway (Faulkner County), where she did dressmaking and …

Planters Bank Building

The Planters Bank Building is a historical commercial structure located at 200 East Hale Avenue, at its intersection with Pecan Avenue, in Osceola (Mississippi County). Designed in 1920 by Missouri architect Uzell Singleton Branson, the building was originally constructed for the Citizens Bank. Upon the bank’s closure in 1928, the building became the home of First State Bank, which closed in 1930. For a number of years, the building was used by a large mercantile store. In 1943, the City of Osceola leased the building to house its city hall. In May 1944, a citizens’ group that included Congressman William J. Driver of Osceola chartered a financial institution known as the Planters Bank. The new depository took over the former …

Pleasant Street Historic District

The Pleasant Street Historic District in Hot Springs (Garland County), located near Bathhouse Row in Hot Springs National Park, represents the most intact area of the city’s historic African-American community. In fact, it is the largest historic district in Arkansas composed of buildings constructed by and for African Americans. Originally, the district included ninety-six homes, but that number had fallen to seventy-seven by the twenty-first century. Buildings in the district represent the remaining fragment of the neighborhood, now surrounded by new development and ever-changing major thoroughfares through the city (E. Grand/Highway 70 and Malvern Avenue). Two buildings in the district were previously listed on the National Register of Historic Places: Visitors’ Chapel A.M.E. Church at 317 Church Street and the …

Plum Bayou Project

The Plum Bayou Project was part of a New Deal plan designed to help rural residents receive federal relief and assistance during the economic crisis of the 1930s. Located approximately seventeen miles north of Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), Plum Bayou was one of several similar communities built in the Arkansas Delta. During the Great Depression, the federal Resettlement Administration—later the Farm Security Administration (FSA)—experimented with programs designed to give assistance to rural farm families. Rexford G. Tugwell, head of the Resettlement Administration, believed that sending farmers into the cities with no job prospects was an untenable situation and certainly no answer to the farmers’ desperate plight. Instead, he focused on developing resettlement projects designed to move farmers barely surviving on …

Plumerville School Building

The Plumerville School Building at Plumerville (Conway County), located at 105 Arnold Street, is a circa 1925 wood-frame structure that was remodeled with assistance from the Works Progress Administration (WPA), a Depression-era federal relief program, while serving as a school in 1939. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on September 10, 1992. Plumerville was a leading agricultural center in Conway County and had a well-established school system at the time of the Great Depression. When President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal offered opportunities to improve facilities, Plumerville School District No. 39 took advantage of the funding possibilities and, around 1938, received money to build a new high school building and a gymnasium. The district decided to pursue …

Pocahontas Post Office (Historic)

The historic Pocahontas Post Office is a one-story, brick-masonry building built between 1936 and 1937. Located a few blocks away from the historic downtown square of Pocahontas (Randolph County), this building served as the post office for the area until 1986, when post office operations moved to new facilities. The old post office was built in the Art Deco style, which was a common form of architecture for Works Progress Administration (WPA) post offices at that time. This style of architecture is represented by vertical pilasters and brick segments with stylized ornamental decorations within the pilasters. Pocahontas got its first post office after the town was voted the Randolph County seat in 1835. By 1936, that original post office building …

Poe, Harry (Trial and Execution of)

Harry Poe was the first person legally executed in Garland County, Arkansas. On January 18, 1910, Harry Poe, an African-American teenager, allegedly raped Lena Adams, a younger white girl. A Garland County court convicted Poe of rape on March 1, 1910, and sentenced him to death. Several residents of the county believed that Poe was innocent and attempted to save his life. On September 2, 1910, Harry Poe was executed.   The details of Poe’s life before the alleged rape are unclear. Available newspapers variously listed his age as seventeen, eighteen, or nineteen, and provided no details about his life before the incident. Census records do not provide any likely matches for Harry Poe. A writer for the Arkansas Democrat described him in overtly racist language as “a thick-lipped, low-browed, bestial type of negro.”  On January 18, 1910, …

Poinsett County Courthouse

The Poinsett County Courthouse—built in 1918—is located on Courthouse Square, a section of Harrisburg (Poinsett County) that features the city’s historic commercial district and a green space with a wooden gazebo. The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program recognizes the two-story building as architecturally and historically significant for its Classical Revival style and for its standing as the most impressive building in Poinsett County. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on November 3, 1989. The county’s first courthouse was located at Bolivar in 1839, the first county seat. A historical marker on the grounds tells how Benjamin Harris Sr., for whom Harrisburg was named, donated the land to the county to build a new courthouse when the seat …

Political Equality League

The Progressive Era (circa 1890–1920) in Arkansas included efforts by citizens to win voting rights for women in the state and nation. Women’s clubs that were interested in civil rights, temperance, and social change gradually formed suffrage groups to push the Arkansas General Assembly toward state suffrage for women and toward approval of the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that enfranchised women nationally. Many women who led such groups were outsiders who also had legal training or were lawyers. The Political Equality League (PEL), formed in 1911 in Little Rock (Pulaski County), is considered by historians to be a culminating group that worked with similar organizations, both state and national, for the next eight years to win suffrage for …

Polk County Courthouse

The Polk County Courthouse is located at the foot of Rich Mountain, on the corner of Church and De Queen avenues in downtown Mena (Polk County). The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program recognizes the four-story building, built in 1939, as architecturally and historically significant for its Art Deco style and its stature as one of the most impressive structures in Polk County. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on November 20, 1992. The Polk County Courthouse is a standing result of New Deal policies as a product of the Works Progress Administration (WPA), which appropriated $110,000 for its construction. Architectural firm Haralson & Mott of Fort Smith (Sebastian County) designed it in the Art Deco style, which …

Polk County Draft War

The Polk County Draft War was the first of five documented episodes of armed resistance to the draft in Arkansas during World War I (four of which were violent). The Selective Service Act of 1917 introduced forced conscription to Arkansas, but efforts to apprehend and/or punish draft evaders did not begin in earnest until the spring of 1918, likely due to a greater demand for military manpower. The ensuing crackdown on draft evasion sparked a series of so-called draft wars, brief episodes of armed defiance by close-knit family groups against authorities. These acts of resistance often occurred in isolated, mountainous regions of the state, where socialism and/or organized labor had found purchase. On May 25, 1918, Sheriff H. W. Finger …

Polk County Possum Club

The Polk County Possum Club (PCPC) began with a challenge issued to local hunters of opossums (commonly called “possums”) in 1913 and henceforth hosted yearly banquets of opossum meat and side dishes until 1947, though it was active again for five years in the 1990s. The PCPC began when attorney J. I. Alley wrote a letter, dated December 11, 1913, to Mena (Polk County) mayor John H. Hamilton that read, in part: “The undersigned has recently seen and heard of much of your boastful conduct and self praise with reference to possum hunting. In fact I learned from reliable sources that you claim great credit to yourself as chief of all such sportsmen in these parts. Therefore believing that others …

Pomeroy, Leslie Klett (Les)

Although Sierra Club founder John Muir championed forest conservation by setting aside large acreages, it was Leslie Klett Pomeroy who devised a conservation plan for growing and harvesting timber that both conserved it and turned it into a renewable resource. His science-based management plans regenerated timberlands across the South after cut-out-and-get-out practices had decimated its forests. Pomeroy’s groundbreaking work carried out in Arkansas ultimately affected forestry in the South and across America. Leslie Pomeroy was born on December 12, 1896, in Hub City, Wisconsin. He was the only child of William Justis Pomeroy and Anna Barbara Klett Pomeroy. His mother was a housewife, and his father began his employment with Madison Bus Company in 1922 as a motorman on streetcars, …

Post Office Art

Arkansas has nineteen Depression-era works of art created for U.S. post office buildings. Two are sculpture bas-reliefs, and seventeen are paintings. In addition, another painting was destroyed in a post office fire, and one was never installed and was lost during World War II. The art was part of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal and was created to reflect life in the United States at the time and to honor hard work. During a time of national economic crisis and with the specter of World War II on the horizon, images of strong workers, productive farmers, and determined pioneers were intended by Roosevelt to reassure and motivate Americans. The goal was to remind Americans of their history at a time …

Poteau Work Center

The Poteau Work Center is located east of Waldron (Scott County) along Highway 80. The work center building was constructed circa 1939 by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 20, 1993. The building was constructed by members of the 1707th Company of the Arkansas CCC District, which was stationed at the Waldron Camp located fourteen miles to the east. It was built as the repair and maintenance shop for the Poteau Ranger District of the Ouachita National Forest. The building, along with the residence in the same location, was built as the headquarters for the district, which extends westward into Oklahoma. It is significant for its association with …