Saving Arkansas Places has a new home!

As of late last week, this blog has a new home at  The move was made for a variety reasons, not the least of which was to take advantage of the multitude of features available to users.  AHPP aims to utilize this new platform for podcasting, integration with the existing AHPP website, along with other exciting endeavors.

The new blog address is  Please visit!

The new blog address is Please visit!

Email follows of this blog have been migrated to the new platform, so no need to re-subscribe. Unfortunately, users who have selected to follow the blog in the dashboard feed reader will need to take the following steps to have our posts continue to appear in your feed.

1. Navigate to your account homepage and select the "edit" button next to the section "Blogs I Follow."

1. Navigate to your account homepage and select the “edit” button next to the section “Blogs I Follow.”

2. Enter the new url for the blog,, and select "Follow."

2. Enter the new url for the blog,, and select “Follow.”



‘Sandwiching in History’ Tour to Visit Saint John’s Seminary


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LITTLE ROCK–The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program’s “Sandwiching in History” program will visit St. John’s Seminary at 2500 N. Tyler St. in Little Rock at noon on Friday, March 1.

Morris Hall, Saint John's Seminary, Little Rock

Morris Hall, Saint John’s Seminary, Little Rock

St. John’s Seminary was established in 1911 by Bishop John Baptist Morris to develop and expand Catholic missions in Arkansas. The seminary began in a building at the southeast corner of 25th (Roosevelt) and State streets in Little Rock, and in 1916, along with Little Rock College, it relocated to a 40-acre site in Pulaski Heights. The Gothic Revival-style Morris Hall was built in 1916 and served as a dormitory, offices, classrooms and a chapel. The seminary closed in 1967 due to financial constraints and low enrollment. In 1968 the former St. John’s Seminary campus became St. John Catholic Center, the offices of the Diocese of Little Rock. The tour will begin at Morris Hall.
The “Sandwiching in History” tour series targets Pulaski County structures and sites. The noontime series includes a brief lecture and tour of the subject property. Participants are encouraged to bring their lunches with them.
Other “Sandwiching in History” tours will be held April 5, Charles Youngblood House, 320 West 18th Street, North Little Rock; May 3, Farmer-Brooks House, 623 Orange Street, North Little Rock; June 7, Little Rock YMCA, 524 South Broadway, Little Rock; July 12, Villa Marre, 1321 Scott Street, Little Rock; August 2, Emmett W. Jenkins House, 923 West 24th Street, Little Rock; September 6, Pulaski Heights Baptist Church, 2200 Kavanaugh Boulevard, Little Rock; October 4, Lakewood Park, 4500 Lakeshore Drive, North Little Rock; November 1, Edward H. Colgan House, 2318 South Summit Street, Little Rock, and December 6, Faucette-Cook Building, 421-423-425 Main Street, North Little Rock.
All tours are free and open to the public. For information, call the AHPP at (501) 324-9880, write the agency at 323 Center St., Suite 1500, Little Rock, AR 72201, send an e-mail message to, or visit
The AHPP is the Department of Arkansas Heritage agency responsible for identifying, evaluating, registering and preserving the state’s cultural resources. Other agencies are the Arkansas Arts Council, the Delta Cultural Center in Helena, the Old State House Museum, the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission and the Historic Arkansas Museum.

AHPP Opens Historic Preservation Contest for Students


LITTLE ROCK—Fifth- and seventh-grade students throughout Arkansas are invited to participate in the 22nd annual “Preserve Our Past” art and essay invitational sponsored by the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, an agency of the Department of Arkansas Heritage, AHPP Director Frances McSwain announced today.
Fifth- and seventh-graders can enter an artwork or essay based on a historic Arkansas bridge that is at least 50 years old, focusing on how those properties reflect Arkansas history or why it is important to preserve the state’s historic places. All entries must be postmarked by April 17, 2013.
First-, second- and third-place winners in each category will receive a trophy and winners in the art division will have their artwork professionally framed, while those awarded honorable mention will receive ribbons. All students who enter will receive a certificate. Winning entries will be displayed at the Old State House Museum in Little Rock throughout May, which is Arkansas Heritage Month.
For more information or an entry form, write AHPP Art and Essay Invitational, AHPP, 1500 Tower Building, 323 Center Street, Little Rock, AR 72201, call (501) 324-9786, send an e-mail inquiry to, or download the form at Please include your name and mailing address on any phone or e-mail messages.
The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program is the Department of Arkansas Heritage agency responsible for identifying, evaluating, registering and preserving cultural resources. Other agencies are the Arkansas Arts Council, the Delta Cultural Center in Helena, the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, the Old State House Museum, the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission and the Historic Arkansas Museum.

Arkansas Properties on the National Register of Historic Places: Antioch Missionary Baptist Church Cemetery, Sherrill, Jefferson County

The Antioch Missionary Baptist Church Cemetery was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on July 8, 2010.

antioch cemetery
The Antioch Missionary Baptist Church Cemetery is the oldest extant resource in Arkansas that best documents and commemorates the settlement of the Good Hope Plantation slaves who were moved from their plantation in South Carolina to a new plantation in Arkansas in 1860. The Antioch Missionary Baptist Church Cemetery, located behind the Antioch Missionary Baptist Church, became the final resting place for many of the emancipated slaves and their future descendants. The Antioch Missionary Baptist Church Cemetery is being submitted for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places with local significance under Criterion A and Criteria Consideration D, with a period of significance that spans 1885-1959, with 1885 being the date of the first burial in the cemetery and 1959 being the cutoff date for what is deemed the historic period by the National Park Service. The period of significance extends through 1959 because descendants of the Good Hope Plantation peoples are still being buried at the cemetery today, further substantiating the impact of this initial group of people on the lives of future generations and the community of Sherrill and the surrounding area.

Background Information About Good Hope Plantation
The Dulles/Heatly families had owned the Good Hope Plantation in South Carolina for many years; by 1859, ownership had passed from Joseph H. Dulles, Sr., to Joseph Heatly Dulles, Jr. The Senior Dulles’ also owned two adjacent plantations: Lang Syne and Goshen. Joseph H. Dulles, Jr., raised cotton at the Good Hope plantation located along the Santee River. He maintained his primary residence in Philadelphia using land managers to oversee production and slave labor on the plantation. By 1859, Joseph H. Dulles, Jr., had made the decision to no longer raise cotton. In the early fall of 1859, Dulles attempted to sell the entire block of 200-plus slaves to South Carolina Governor, John L. Manning. In a letter to Governor Manning’s liaison, General Augustus M. Smith, Dulles detailed his stipulations on the selling of the slaves as follows:

“…in reply to your enquiry whether I would agree to sell a part of my Negroes to Gov. Manning… although I entertain the highest respect for the gentleman and would have the fullest confidence in passing these people into his possession, it is and has been my fixed determination not to sell them with a prospect of their being separated? And while I was willing in May last to assent to your suggestion that Mr. Charles Haskell might unite with you in the purchase, it was with understanding that the Negroes would all be settled on adjacent plantations and reside in the same neighbourhood [sic.].”

In a letter written from General Smith to Governor Manning the following was stated:

“Yesterday Mr. Dulles and myself concluded the trade for his Negroes. … [Dulles] he positively refused to sell if they were to be divided. I assured him that their condition would be improved in your hands, also of your Humanity and kind treatment to the Slave, but all to no purpose… he said, he had religious scruples upon the matter and felt that he would not be doing his duty to consent to a division and that nothing would induce him to sell if they were to be divided hereafter.”

By December of 1859, it appeared as if Dulles would have to sell his work force and the tools with which they labored at a public auction. After three generations of continuity at Good Hope Plantation, during which marriage, blood, work and friendship had come to bind them, the slaves were confronted with the reality that they would possibly be divided up. However, on 30 December 1859, Augustus M. Smith, a wealthy planter and prominent citizen of Abbeville, South Carolina, purchased all 203 slaves for his personal possession.

Augustus M. Smith was a member of a family who had amassed a lot of land and wealth over the years after settling in the Abbeville area. By age thirty-one, Augustus M. Smith had become a wealthy landowner in his own right. In 1859, Smith purchased land in Jefferson County, Arkansas, on the north banks of the Arkansas River, about 12 miles from Pine Bluff, primarily in Bolivar Township. By the end of the year he had purchased nearly 5,000 acres from five individuals for $37,500.00. The landholdings in Jefferson County were only a portion of the landholdings owned by Smith. By 1860, Smith owned $200,000.00 in real estate and $250.000.00 in personal property, and an additional $75,000.00 belonged to a member of his household named George M. Smith (age 16 – relation unknown). Augustus Smith was not only a wealthy landowner but also a prominent citizen of Abbeville, South Carolina. On 22 November of 1860, approximately 3,000 people gathered at Magazine Hill (since named Secession Hill) to listen to notable speakers argue in favor of immediate succession. A 1907 interview with Robert R. Hemphill, who was present at the meeting, noted that Augustus M. Smith served as Marshall of the day.
In the midst of the political turmoil facing the country, Smith continued to manage his personal affairs. By the spring of 1860, he had moved most of the Good Hope people to Jefferson County, Arkansas, near Pine Bluff where an overseer supervised them. Smith remained in South Carolina. The following year, 1861, Smith joined The Minute-Men of Abbeville to fight for the Confederate Cause. The 33-year-old Smith was one of five Confederate Colonels; he was serving in this capacity when he was mortally wounded at the battle of Gaines Mill, 27 June 1862, in the seven days of fighting around Richmond, Virginia.

Jefferson County, Arkansas: Pre-emancipation
In 1860, Jefferson County ranked as the second largest producer of cotton in the state. Approximately half of the county’s population was made up of slaves, 7,146 of them. In 1860, Smith was Bolivar Township’s largest slave owner, although he was absentee. At the time of Smith’s death in 1862, there were 125 slaves at the Jefferson County plantation, 36 mules, 4 horses, cattle, hogs, plantation tools, one wagon, cart ox and about 540 bales of cotton. A man by the name of Gallman was in charge of the plantation (it is unknown what happened to the other 78 slaves were sold as part of the 302 and moved to Arkansas, it is possible that some of them may of comprised those slaves that were forced to move to Falls County in Texas). Gallman oversaw the slaves and the planting of and harvesting of the cotton, which grew well in the bottomlands of the Arkansas River. By 1862, the slaves had been working the Jefferson County Plantation for nearly two years. There appears to be little written about these first years other than in the form of statistics. It is assumed that this large group of slaves adapted many of their traditional practices to their new home in Arkansas as they continued to cultivate cotton and live among their neighbors and family; most of who had been together for three generations.

Smith was a secessionist who believed in the institution of slavery. Based on the information available, it appears that Smith, or those overseeing his interests, attempted to force all of the slaves to move to Texas, however, the greater faction of them resisted and remained in Arkansas in the Sherrill vicinity. At least eight slave families were moved to Falls County, Texas, along the Brazos River where many other southern landowners were moving their “property” in an effort to maintain the institution of slavery. Most of these slave owners presumed that if slavery was abolished in the Old South, perhaps it would not be done away with in Texas or that they could most likely move on to Mexico. There is conflicting information as to whether or not this revolt and migration took place before or after Smith’s death. Regardless, it is known that the majority of the slaves stayed in Jefferson County, with at least eight families making the trip to Falls County in Texas sometime during 1862 and 1863. Whereas, the Arkansas Good Hope people remained a tightly knit community residing in proximity to each other, by the 1870s the Texas Good Hope people’s homes were spread throughout the county and they were less successful in maintaining close ties of kin and community after the war.

Jefferson County, Arkansas: Post-emancipation
After emancipation, many of these freed men and women stayed in Jefferson County maintaining their close ties of kinship and community. The families homesteaded the land around what is now known as Sherrill and Pastoria; they cleared the forests so that they could use the land for cotton farming. They farmed the land as sharecroppers and tenant farmers and established a community amidst themselves. Historian Ann Cody explains that, “The persistence of a tightly knit community among the Arkansas Good Hope people after the war may have enabled them to gain access to the institutions that were available to aid the freed men and women. Without the internal support system they created, access would have been limited.”

At the time of emancipation, many of the families had spent three generations together and many were related by marriage. Some of these families included the Mazique, Butler, Williams, Dallas, Sassel, Maxwell, Jordan, Lee, Thompson, Anderson, Taylor, Jacobs, Reed, Loveless, and Taylor families (as recorded in the 1870 U.S. Census). From early on, the Good Hope people realized that in order to gain economic independence education and land were necessary. Being so geographically close to the city of Pine Bluff enabled the Good Hope people to access credit and marketing facilities and schools. However, the most important tool utilized by these people was the strong bond of family and friends, as everyone looked out for one another.

One instrumental man who aided in weaving together a religious, social, and educational network for these freed men and women was Reverend Louis Mazique. In 1868, under the guidance of Reverend Mazique, these men and women established a small congregation and built the first frame church, the Antioch Missionary Baptist Church (Pastoria Township). By 1870, forty-year-old schoolteacher Ash Thatcher was living in the Mazique household providing the first opportunity for many of these freedmen to receive an education. Having access to an on-site school teacher resulted in the education of many of the Good Hope peoples, the majority of which were men. The first schoolhouse was located in the Mazique home. The significance of the church cannot be overemphasized, as it became the center of the farming community as a place of worship, learning, baptisms, funerals, and social activities. Twenty-eight years after establishing the church the following deed was filed on 10 June 1896 and filed and recorded 10 December 1896, states as follows:

Know all men by these presents; that we M. A. Gibson and John W. Gibson, her husband, for and in consideration of the sum of twenty five dollars, cash to us in hand paid by Ranty Sherrill, Paul Maxwall, and George Loveless, Trustees, for the Antioch Colored Baptist Church, do hereby grant, bargain, sell and convey unto the said R. Sherrill, P. Maxwall and Geo. Loveless, trustees and unto their successors and assigns forever, the following lands lying in the County of Jefferson, and State of Arkansas, to-wit:

Beginning at the North West corner of the South East ¼ of Section 4, Township 4, S of Range 9 West, thence East 270 feet for a point of beginning. Thence 45 Degrees, South 297 feet, Thence 90 Degrees North 297 feet, to the North line of the said SE1/4 Thence West 420- feet to the point of beginning, containing one acre.

Some time after the construction of the church (after 1868 but prior to 1920), church members constructed a parsonage and schoolhouse on the church grounds. The schoolhouse is thought to be the first black school in Jefferson County. It was here that many of the people were taught to read and to write. The church was an anchor in this small community and served as a gathering place for those who cleared the land and were sharecroppers. According to a long-time resident of the area, “they [the AR Good Hope peoples] had their own county family doctor, Dr. Madson McBeth, who rode horseback and in a buggy to treat his patients. His home and office was northeast of the river…. his [McBeth’s] brother Hines McBeth, swerved as the County Sherriff.” The little community had a post office and general store among other things. They were a tight-knit community of sharecroppers. In 1915, church members decided to tear down the 1868 structure and replace it with a modern building. The blocks used for the present-day church were made of sand and gravel hauled from the north bank of the Arkansas River in wagons pulled by mules. Molds were made, and sand and graveled were mixed and poured into the molds on the church grounds. The new church building that was completed in 1918. The 1918 church building was listed in the Arkansas Register of Historic Places in 1994.

In Summary, Good Hope Plantation scholar Ann Cody explains the significance of this group of people best:

Among the Good Hope people who saw sale, migration, war, and freedom during a turbulent five-year period, we see many of the weapons of survival and advancement found within contemporary African-American communities. Complex households were the result of both the life cycle of families which provided shelter for young couples and efforts to aid others in migration. Kin and community were at the heart of educational opportunity and religious practice with Good Hope ministers serving in their traditional roles as conduits to the governmental and charitable institutions in greater society. Good Hope brothers, although they did not share the same last name, pooled their wealth to purchase land, and Good Hope women relied upon one another for childcare and mutual support. The continuities found over more than a century suggest that the current systems of reciprocity and obligation had their origins in the experience of African Americans under slavery and in the early years of emancipation. These weapons of survival had great generational depth and breadth, which embraced several dimensions of assistance of economic, educational and social goals.

The people who settled this area depended on each other as they were isolated by geography and tied to the land which they farmed. Early on, they had their own county doctor, Dr. Madsen McBeth and neighbors aided one another during times of need. One of the first county sheriffs was Mr. Robert Lockett. Throughout the years, several people operated small country stores in the area. During the 1910s and 1920s, some of the Good Hope people left the area to be sharecroppers elsewhere, soldiers in wars, and students at colleges and universities. They endured hardships caused by wars, the Great Flood of 1927, the Great Depression and much more. Some descendants of the original Good Hope people have remained in the surrounding area and continue to attend the Antioch Missionary Baptist Church. Although other churches came into existence in the surrounding area; it was the Antioch Missionary Baptist Church that first served these people and it is here that many of them found their final resting place in the associated cemetery adjacent to the church. The site as a whole is significant but it is the cemetery that physically marks, commemorates and celebrates the triumph over slavery that these men and women so valiantly lived and died for.

Antioch Missionary Baptist Church Cemetery
The cemetery, located behind the church, has served as the resting place for some of the original African American settlers of this community. Some of the earliest families to settle the area and build the community are buried here; such as the Mazique, Maxwell, Biggs, and Butler families among others. Some of the earliest settlers were freed slaves or first generation emancipated men and women.

The cemetery predates the existing church and is the oldest resource on-site. It represents the lives of the people who settled, cleared and farmed this land in an effort to establish a community where men and women could own land, get an education, worship, and raise their families. The earliest documented burial in the cemetery is 1885, and it is the grave of Reverenced Louis Mazique. Below is a list of those buried in the cemetery from 1868 through 1992, when the last survey was completed. The cemetery continues to be used today, although not frequently.

Although there were other churches that were established in the area after the Antioch Missionary Baptist Church; it is this church and its associated cemetery that best documents the settlement of the people who came to Arkansas to work on Smith’s Jefferson County plantation. Some of these slaves who later became freedmen are buried in the Antioch Missionary Baptist Church Cemetery which is being submitted for nomination to the National Register of Historic Places with local significance under Criterion A and under Criterion Consideration D. Despite its compromised integrity, the cemetery is the oldest existing resource in Arkansas that best represents and pays tribute to the early African American slaves, later freed men and women, from the Good Hope Plantation in South Carolina. Its significance is not limited to the earliest burials as it has continuously been important to the church and its congregation (many of which are descendants of the original Good Hope peoples) throughout the years. Some descendants of the early founders are buried here. The cemetery has been in continuous use for over 114 years; its period of significance spans 1885 to 1959.


Cody, Cheryll Ann. “Kin and Community Among the Good Hope People After Emancipation.” Ethnohistory, Volume 41, Number 1 (Winter 1993): 46-49.

Gutman, Herbert. The Black Family in Slavery and Freedom, 1750-1925. New York: Pantheon Books, 1976.

Jefferson County Arkansas, for Augustus M. Smith In Abbeville County South Carolina Estate Record , 1863, (from the personal collection of papers of researcher, Nettie Saabs).

Oosterhous, Kara. Notes from Site Visit, January 2009.

“The 110th Anniversary of the Antioch Missionary Baptist Church.” (December 3, 1978).

Wetherell, Charles. “Slave Kinship: a Case Study of the South Carolina Good Hope Plantation,
1835-1856.” Journal of Family History. Volume 6, (1981): 294-308.

Woolfolk, Eola. Personal Notes on the Antioch Baptist Church Cemetery, (date unknown).

Woolfolk, Eola. Written Correspondence to Kara Oosterhous, April 2009.

Woolfolk, Eola. Written Personal Recollections, 24 December 1992;

Woolfolk, Eola. Personal Collection of Miscellaneous Documents, Letters, and Notes.

Zollner, Patrick. “Antioch Missionary Baptist Church.” Arkansas Register Nomination (1995).


“Abbeville County.”

“Before Skull & Bones.”

“George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography The rise of the Bush dynasty and the political career of George H.W. Bush.”

“Goshen Plantations.”

“History of South Carolina, Volume 3, (By Yates Snowden, Harry Gardner Cutler. pgs. 190-192)” IA1&lpg=PA190&ots=7vMjabcy8z&dq=Augustus+M.+Smith+%2B+Sarah+Wardlaw&output=text#c_top

“Jefferson County, Arkansas Jefferson County History, Geography, Demographics, Cities and Towns, and Education.”

“Lang Syne Plantation.”

John Laurence Manning Papers [Addition], 15 and 17 Sept. 1859.

McCord, Louisa. “Louisa S. McCord: poems, drama, biography, letters.” (edited by Richard C. Lounsbury), Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1995. =PA280&lpg=PA280&dq=Joseph+Heatly+Dulles+%2B+plantation&source=bl&ots=muWT8eCN2B&sig=KY3e7Oj1h7LPU6LSj86Q0BpjuoI&hl=en&ei=klLRSomtL6mStgfzysDFCA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=9&ved=0CCEQ6AEwCA#v=onepage&q=Joseph%20Heatly%20Dulles%20%2B%20plantation&f=false

“Men of mark in South Carolina; ideals of American life: a collection of biographies of leading men of the state”

“Pastoria Township, Jefferson County, AR.”

“The Abbeville Banner 1857 NEWSPAPER ABSTRACTS FROM “THE ABBEVILLE BANNER (Abbeville, South Carolina for APRIL 1857 and MAY 1857.” newspapers/ newspape84nw.txt

“The Great Secession Meeting.”

“The History of a Brigade of South Carolinians, (Known first as “Greggs,” and Subsequently McGowans Brigade by JFJ Caldwell, Philadelphia, King and Baird Printers, 1866)”.

“The Pennsylvania magazine of history and biography.” (Vol. 35, by Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Pgs. 276-280). Dulles%20%2B% 20plantation&sig=Qu0f36yv4ef3ssXVtK0aZ5pTH8Y&ei=klLRSomtL6mStgfzys DFCA&ct=result&id= OycXAAAAIAAJ&ots=q0r7BFHTue&output=text

“Wills: Abstracts, Book 6 – Part D: 1818: Philadelphia Co, PA.”

Arkansas Properties on the National Register of Historic Places: Latimore Tourist Home, Russellville


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The Latimore Tourist Home at Russellville in Pope County was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on January 27, 2012.



Prior to the passage of the Civil Rights Act in the 1960s, segregation was a real part of life across the South. From restaurants and motels to gas stations and tourist homes, resources existed that specifically catered to African-Americans. In Russellville, the Latimore Tourist Home, which operated from the 1940s until the 1970s, provided overnight accommodations to travelers passing through the Russellville area. According to the 1949 edition of The Negro Motorist Green Book, the Latimore Tourist Home was the only known overnight accommodations for African-Americans between Little Rock and Fort Smith. For its associations with the African-American history of Russellville and Pope County, the Latimore Tourist Home is being nominated to the National Register of Historic Places with statewide significance under Criterion A.

The Latimore Tourist Home is being submitted to the National Register of Historic Places under the multiple-property listing “Arkansas Highway and Transportation Era Architecture, 1910-1965” in conjunction with the historic context “Arkansas Highway History and Architecture, 1910-1965.”


The earliest European settlement in Pope County consisted of hunters and trappers that mainly settled along the Arkansas River and in some of the interior valleys of the county. (The site of Russellville is in the former Cherokee Reservation, and the area was home to many Cherokees prior to the arrival of European settlers.) However, by the late 1820s, there were enough settlers in the area to warrant the creation of Pope County on November 2, 1829. The first temporary county seat was established at John Bolinger’s, near John R. Homer Scott’s “Scotia” farm on the Arkansas River. However, in 1830, the county seat was moved to Norristown, where it remained until c.1840 when it was moved to Dover. Russellville, the current county seat, was selected and approved in 1886-1887.[1]

The first home in Russellville was built in 1834 and bought the next year by Dr. Thomas Russell. Thomas Russell was born in England and received a classical education. He was graduated from the Royal College of Surgeons in 1826. In 1829 he came to America and settled in Illinois. In search of a milder climate, Dr. Russell and his wife and baby traveled to Pope County, Arkansas, by covered wagon and in 1835 purchased the first home erected in the future town of Russellville. Dr. Russell practiced medicine in Russellville until his death in 1866.[2]

In 1847 the settlement became an incorporated village. It is said that at a town picnic on July 4, 1847, it was decided that the new settlement, which consisted of a general store and five houses, should be given a name. They determined the name should be either Russellville, after Dr. Thomas Russell, largely because he had the first home with brick chimneys and was a doctor, or Shinnville, after Jacob L. Shinn, who established the first general store in the settlement. The results of the election to name the town were seven votes for Russellville and only five for Shinnville. On June 7, 1870, the “Town of Russellville” was incorporated.[3]

Although its citizens’ request to be on the stage route was never realized and a post office was not established until the 1880s, their efforts to get the railroad route through the city were successful and resulted in the arrival of the force that most shaped the future development of the town. In 1873 a railroad connecting Little Rock and Fort Smith was built and Russellville was the largest center between the two points. The Memphis and Little Rock Railroad (later Missouri-Pacific Railroad and now Union-Pacific Railroad) had become operable in 1870. With the railway running through Russellville the town was connected to points east of Arkansas, and points west as far as Indian Territory (later Oklahoma). The rail lines were laid through the center of Russellville parallel to and two blocks north of Main Street.[4]

With the coming of the railroad, Russellville was no longer an isolated town. Settlers who might have built their homes in nearby Norristown, on the Arkansas River south of Russellville, or at Dover, then the county seat ten miles north of Russellville, preferred to settle in the “railroad town.” The significance of the railroad’s presence in the city of Russellville ensured that it would eventually become the county seat and leading city in the county.[5]

However, it was not just the railroad that caused Russellville to grow and prosper. The development of an improved highway system in the first part of the twentieth century, specifically in the 1920s, also contributed to the town’s growth. According to the Fourth Biennial Report of the Department of State Lands, Highways and Improvements, Project No. 119 included work on the Russellville-East-West Road. The project included 28.50 miles of pavement with an estimated cost of $647,401.19. There was $80,000 of Federal aid allotted to the project for an 8.29-mile Federal Aid Section. By November 1, 1920, 72 percent of the grading of the roadway had been completed, although none of the paving had been finished.[6]

The importance of the highway in the Russellville area was also noted when the U.S. highway system was created in 1925, and it received the designation U.S. 64. Prior to 1925, at least in the early 1920s, U.S. 64 in the area was referred to as Highway A-1.[7] The WPA Guide to 1930s Arkansas described U.S. 64 as “the most direct route across the middle of Arkansas. From the Delta it runs directly west to intersect US 67, which it follows southwest for some 30 miles. It then turns west again, reaches the Arkansas River near Conway, and follows the northern valley wall to Fort Smith. …Between Conway and Fort Smith US 64 runs along the north valley wall of the Arkansas River, a natural westward path that was used for centuries by Indians and white hunters and trappers before the first trading towns sprang up along it and steamboats began to ascend the river.”[8]

By 1927, Russellville was incorporated as a city of the first class. The population of the city at that time was around 6,600. A steel bridge was erected in 1929 across the Arkansas River at Dardanelle to replace the pontoon bridge, further improving vehicular access to the city.[9]

Russellville’s location on the railroad, U.S. 64, the major east-west highway in the area, and AR Highway 7, the major north-south highway in the area, made it the transportation hub of Pope County. The fact that Russellville was the county seat also meant that it would have had the most travel-related resources in the county.

However, even though Russellville did have travel-related resources, they would have been governed by segregation and Jim Crow laws, as they were across the South. The term Jim Crow originated in the late 1820s when the struggling actor Thomas Dartmouth “Daddy” Rice appeared on stage as an exaggerated stereotypical black character and sang the song:

“Come listen all you galls and boys,
I’m going to sing a little song,
My name is Jim Crow.
Weel about and turn about and do jis so,
Eb’ry time I weel about I jump Jim Crow.”

The term evolved into a racial epithet for African-Americans by 1838 and evolved further to refer to the laws that oppressed African-Americans by the end of the nineteenth century.[10] Although the federal government declared illegal acts of discrimination against African-Americans during the period of Congressional Reconstruction from 1866-1876, when Reconstruction ended with the Compromise of 1877 a variety of laws that discriminated against blacks sprang up across the South.[11]

The segregation that the laws imposed also affected public transportation, especially railroads. This became particularly true in 1883 when the U.S. Supreme Court repealed the Civil Rights Act. As a result, in the last two decades of the nineteenth century, southern transportation routes became spaces of racial conflict.[12] However, it was not just railroads that were affected. By the 1900s, bus travel and automobile travel were also affected, if only indirectly.

The issue of segregated travel services continued into the twentieth century with the increased popularity of automobile travel. Cities and towns throughout the South had facilities – gas stations, restaurants, hotels, and tourist homes – that specifically catered to African-American travel. However, if a traveler was not familiar with a particular area, then it was difficult to know which establishments in a community were friendly towards or catered to African-Americans.

The problems that African-Americans encountered while traveling led to the establishment of The Negro Motorist Green Book in 1936. (Another publication, the Travelguide, would serve the same purpose.) As it stated, “With the introduction of this travel guide in 1936, it has been our idea to give the Negro traveler information that will keep him from running into difficulties, embarrassments and to make his trips more enjoyable.” Although the first edition only covered the New York City area, it was turned into a national guide in 1937. By 1949, the guide not only included the United States, but Canada, Mexico, and Bermuda as well.[13] The Travelguide argued in its publications that segregation was bad for white-owned business when they wrote: “…hundreds of millions of dollars are spent annually by discerning members of minority groups in the course of their travels throughout the U.S. Many worthy enterprises, unaware of the tremendous potentialities, deny themselves of this revenue. It is the purpose of TRAVELGUIDE to assist in bringing these two groups together for the benefit of ALL.”[14]

Interestingly, even though the guide provided a great service to motorists, the publishers eagerly awaited the time when the guide would no longer be necessary. In the guide’s introduction, they wrote:

There will be a day sometime in the near future when this guide will not have to be published. That is when we as a race will have equal opportunities and privileges in the United States. It will be a great day for us to suspend this publication for then we can go wherever we please, and without embarrassment. But until that time comes we shall continue to publish information for your convenience each year.[15]

The guide gave its users the name and address of each establishment. In addition, for the larger cities, such as Chicago, it gave listings of things to see and do. The guide also gave safe driving rules for motorists, such as “Maybe the cop won’t catch the car that passes you at 80, but ‘sudden death’ is liable to,” and “Don’t assume that the other fellow has good brakes.”[16]

The Green Book continued to grow in popularity and scope in the 1950s. By 1956, it expanded to include South American and the West Indies, but by 1964 with the passage of the Civil Rights Act, the Green Book was no longer needed and publication ceased.[17]

The need for a travel guide for African-Americans was perfectly illustrated by John A. Williams in his book This Is My Country Too. Williams, an African-American, drove across the United States in the early 1960s, and recorded his experiences. While traveling out west, Williams recorded the following incident:

It was a Saturday night. There were not many cars in the lot of the motel, but then I didn’t think there would be. The woman at the motel told me there were no singles left. In a room to the rear of the desk I could see a young man. He leaned toward another man, I gathered, who was out of sight. They were watching Gunsmoke.

“Then a double or a family unit,” I said… Retreating to the rear room, she addressed the man out of sight in a low voice, at first, and I was unable to hear them. Another customer came in at that moment, a white man, and he stood with all the assurance in the world. There would be a room for him anywhere, any time. Inside, amid gunfire, the woman raised her voice suddenly and sharply, and I heard quite clearly: “Well, tell me. Do you want him or don’t you?”

He didn’t want me. The woman came out of the room, walking very fast, her face set. “I’m sorry, but we have no more vacancies.” I had been studying the racks where the registration cards were kept; there were only four slips in them.[18]

However, even with a travel guide, it was not always smooth sailing. Williams used a Travelguide (whose slogan was “Vacation & Recreation Without Humiliation”) for at least part of his trip and still ran into accommodations that were less than ideal. In Jackson, Mississippi, for example, Williams wrote:

My Travelguide had given me the name of a hotel in Jackson, and I came upon the city cautiously, looking for the street.

…Following directions, I drove off the main street, went two blocks, and suddenly the streets were filled with Negroes. I had arrived in the Negro section; it seemed boxed in…

The hotel was very much like the one in Montgomery, even to the key deposit. But why run a place like that simply because Negroes, having no other place to go, have to go there? Segregation has made many of us lazy but also has made many of us rich without trying. No competition; therefore, take it or leave it – and you have to take it. The slovenly restaurant keeper, the uncaring hotel man, the parasites of segregation have only to provide the superficial utensils of their business. I had coffee in the dingy little dining room and rushed out, overwhelmed by the place…[19]

Even though the Travelguide was not perfect, and the Green Book probably was not either, it still was a valuable resource and would have made a trip across the south, including Arkansas, much more bearable.

One type of accommodation that did exist in towns across the south was the tourist home, which was most common in smaller cities.[20] As Lyell Henry wrote in his article “Accommodations ‘For Colored,’” “A tourist home was a private dwelling in which rooms were rented to overnight guests, but this simple definition allowed for much variation. Many tourist homes were definite commercial undertakings, made known to the public by a business name and perhaps even advertising and signage. …Others were no more than private homes in which one or several rooms were kept vacant and available for rent to travelers.” Furthermore, “renting rooms was for the home owner not only a way of earning extra income but also a source of excitement and contact with a wider world.”[21]

It is not known exactly when the Latimore Tourist Home was built, but according to the Sanborn maps for Russellville, it was already in place when the first map was done in 1913. Judging from the style and ornamentation of the house, it was likely built around the turn of the twentieth century. It is also not known when the Tourist Home was opened, but it was already in operation when the Latimore’s son-in-law, Damon Stokes, Jr., went into the military in 1944.[22]

The Latimore Tourist Home was run by E. (Eugene “Gene”) Larimore and his wife Cora Wilson Latimore; their daughter, Anna, also helped. Anna was from Russellville, but it is not known where Eugene and Cora were from. Interestingly, in addition to running the tourist home, Gene was also a veterinarian and it is known that he spent some time in Kansas.[23]

The Latimore Tourist Home catered to people looking for a place to stay short-term rather than long-term. Specifically, it catered to railroad workers in the area and travelers who were passing through the area. It was the only overnight accommodations in Russellville that catered to African-Americans, and the only one that was listed in the 1949 Green Book. (The entry read: ‘TOURIST HOMES/ E. Latimore – 318 S. Huston Ave.) Although the Civil Rights Act was passed in the 1960s, the Latimore Tourist Home stayed in business up until sometime between 1970 and 1976.[24]

At some point during its history, the rear ell on the house was expanded to the north into a full-width rear addition, likely to better accommodate overnight guests. It is known that it was done after 1946, which is when the last Sanborn map for Russellville was done. However, based upon the design and materials used in the addition’s construction, it was likely constructed during the property’s period of significance.

Today, the Latimore Tourist Home is vacant, but it is still a vivid reminder of the era of segregation that affected Arkansas travelers in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. From Arkansas’s largest cities to its smallest towns, facilities specifically for African-American travelers were the norm, and the Latimore Tourist Home is an outstanding example of the types of accommodations that were prevalent. As a result, it remains in important part of the state’s African-American history.


[1] Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Western Arkansas. Chicago: The Southern Publishing Company, 1891, pp. 197-198, 202.

[2] Smith, Sandra Taylor. “Russellville Downtown Historic District, Russellville, Pope County, Arkansas.” National Register of Historic Places Registration Form. From the files of the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, 1996.

[3] Smith, Sandra Taylor. “Russellville Downtown Historic District, Russellville, Pope County, Arkansas.” National Register of Historic Places Registration Form. From the files of the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, 1996.

[4] Smith, Sandra Taylor. “Russellville Downtown Historic District, Russellville, Pope County, Arkansas.” National Register of Historic Places Registration Form. From the files of the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, 1996.

[5] Smith, Sandra Taylor. “Russellville Downtown Historic District, Russellville, Pope County, Arkansas.” National Register of Historic Places Registration Form. From the files of the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, 1996.

[6] Fourth Biennial Report of the Department of State Lands, Highways and Improvements. Publisher unknown, c.1920, p. 155.

[7] Sixth Biennial Report of the Department of State Lands, Highways and Improvements. Conway, AR: Conway Printing Co., c.1924, map after p. 24.

[8] West, Elliott. The WPA Guide to 1930s Arkansas. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 1987 reprint of 1941 publication, pp. 237 and 244.

[9] Smith, Sandra Taylor. “Russellville Downtown Historic District, Russellville, Pope County, Arkansas.” National Register of Historic Places Registration Form. From the files of the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, 1996.

[10] “Who Was Jim Crow?” Found at:

[11] Ronald L. F. Davis. “Creating Jim Crow.” Found at:

[12] Grace Elizabeth Hale. Making Whiteness: The Culture of Segregation in the South, 1890-1940. New York: Pantheon Books, 1998, 127.

[13] The Negro Motorist Green Book, 1949 Edition. New York: Victor H. Green & Co., Publishers, p. 1.

[14] Seiler, Cotton. “’So That We as a Race Might Have Something Authentic to Travel By’: African American Automobility and Cold-War Liberalism.” American Quarterly, 58. December 2006, p. 1104.

[15] The Negro Motorist Green Book, 1949 Edition. New York: Victor H. Green & Co., Publishers, p. 1.

[16] The Negro Motorist Green Book, 1949 Edition. New York: Victor H. Green & Co., Publishers, p. 80.

[17] Information on The Negro Motorist Green Book found at: .

[18] Williams, John A. This Is My Country Too. New York: Signet, 1966, pp. 98-99.

[19] Williams, John A. This Is My Country Too. New York: Signet, 1966, pp. 72-73.

[20] According to Charles S. Johnson, a sociologist at Fisk University, hotels for African-Americans were rare in small towns. Rather, they were most common in large cities. However, according to the 1949 edition of the Green Book, hotels existed in Arkansas in Arkadelphia, El Dorado, Fayetteville, Fort Smith, Hope, Hot Springs, Little Rock, North Little Rock, Pine Bluff, and Texarkana. Green Book, pp. 8-10, and Henry, Lyell. “Accommodations ‘For Colored,’” Society for Commercial Archeology Journal, Volume 23, No. 2, Fall 2005, p. 5.

[21] Henry, Lyell. “Accommodations ‘For Colored,’” Society for Commercial Archeology Journal, Volume 23, No. 2, Fall 2005, pp. 6-7.

[22] Hatley, Andy, and Damon Stokes, Jr. Telephone conversation with the author. 11 April 2011.

[23] Hatley, Andy, and Damon Stokes, Jr. Telephone conversation with the author. 11 April 2011.

[24] Hatley, Andy, and Damon Stokes, Jr. Telephone conversation with the author. 11 April 2011, and The Negro Motorist Green Book, 1949 Edition. New York: Victor H. Green & Co., Publishers, p. 10.


The Latimore Tourist Home is a rare survival of the era of segregation in Arkansas, especially related to segregated travel. A recent survey conducted by the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program identified less than ten extant properties that were identified in the 1949 edition of the Green Book. Properties such as the Latimore Tourist Home were an extremely important part of the African-American travel experience in the first part of the twentieth century. They allowed African-Americans to have a safe place to stay without the “embarrassment” mentioned in the Green Book or the “humiliation” that was mentioned by Travelguide.

The Latimore Tourist Home was the only place to stay for African-Americans that was noted in the Green Book between Little Rock and Fort Smith. As a result, it would have been an important place for African-Americans traveling on the U.S. 64 corridor or on the railroad through that part of Arkansas. As a result, for its associations with the African-American history of Russellville and Pope County, the Latimore Tourist Home is being nominated to the National Register of Historic Places with statewide significance under Criterion A.

The Latimore Tourist Home is being submitted to the National Register of Historic Places under the multiple-property listing “Arkansas Highway and Transportation Era Architecture, 1910-1965” in conjunction with the historic context “Arkansas Highway History and Architecture, 1910-1965.”


Davis, Ronald L. F. “Creating Jim Crow.” Found at:

Fourth Biennial Report of the Department of State Lands, Highways and Improvements. Publisher unknown, c.1920.

Hale, Grace Elizabeth. Making Whiteness: The Culture of Segregation in the South, 1890-1940. New York: Pantheon Books.

Hatley, Andy, and Damon Stokes, Jr. Telephone conversation with the author. 11 April 2011.

Henry, Lyell. “Accommodations ‘For Colored,’” Society for Commercial Archeology Journal, Volume 23, No. 2, Fall 2005, pp. 4-11.

Information on The Negro Motorist Green Book found at:

The Negro Motorist Green Book, 1949 Edition. New York: Victor H. Green & Co., Publishers.

Sanborn Fire Insurance Company maps for Russellville, Arkansas, 1913, 1919, and 1946.

Seiler, Cotton. “’So That We as a Race Might Have Something Authentic to Travel By’: African American Automobility and Cold-War Liberalism.” American Quarterly, 58. December 2006.

Sixth Biennial Report of the Department of State Lands, Highways and Improvements. Conway, AR: Conway Printing Co., c.1924.

Smith, Sandra Taylor. “Russellville Downtown Historic District, Russellville, Pope County, Arkansas.” National Register of Historic Places Registration Form. From the files of the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, 1996.

West, Elliott. The WPA Guide to 1930s Arkansas. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 1987 reprint of 1941 publication.

Williams, John A. This Is My Country Too. New York: Signet, 1966.

“Who Was Jim Crow?” Found at:

Arkansas Properties on the National Register of Historic Places: Bethel AME Church, Batesville


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The Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church at Batesville in Independence County was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 16, 1986.


The oldest church building in Batesville, the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church also houses the first black congregation in that city. Bethel AME Church represents the struggle for autonomy and survival by the freedmen during Reconstruction and the Jim Crow era which followed. The organization of the church reflected their desire for independence and pursuit of cultural determinism. Architecturally, its modest form and truncated, tower-like steeple are typical of black churches throughout the rural areas of Arkansas.

Although the AME Church began in 1816 in Philadelphia as a defiant response to discrimination against blacks, the first Arkansas AME church was not organized until after the Civil War in Little Rock. The withdrawal of black Arkansans from the state’s churches represented their desire for independent authority and leadership. By 1871, the Batesville Bethel congregation purchased the site of the present church building. The selection of the site reflected, in part, an enforced isolation of the minority population of freedmen in Batesville. This segregation eventually resulted in the abandonment or expulsion of black institutions from much of the town and their relocation to a triangular ghetto bounded by Vine, Harrison, and St. Louis streets.

The original leaders of the Bethel congregation included many leaders of black Batesville, such as Charles Finley and two veterans of the 113th Colored Infantry, Samuel Greer and Sandy Willis. In 1875, M.F.A. Easton assumed the post of pastor, as well as teacher at the Freedman’s School, later closed by the irate white citizenry. Fund raising for a church building was headed by Easton’s successor, Reuben Johnson. In the December 8, 1880, Batesville Guard, Johnson thanked subscribers for their donations to the building fund, but warned recalcitrant businessmen their trade might suffer if they failed to contribute. A frame structure was completed the same month and on Christmas Day, burned as the result of a faulty stovepipe.

Resolved to erect a more resilient building, the congregation borrowed money “for building a church edifice” from Simon Adler, a Jewish merchant and private banker. Stone for the church was quarried locally, and, of the six black Batesville quarry workers listed in the 1880 Census, four were members of the Bethel AME Church. In 1881-1882, the new church building was completed.

As the course and form of Jim Crow Arkansas solidified, the Bethel AME Church became the center of a realigned black Batesville. After 1900, the black school and the Lafferty Memorial Colored Methodist Episcopal (CME) Church joined black residences, businesses, and other religious and social institutions in their strictly defined and enforced segregation.

In 1910 a substantial wing was extended from the western elevation and the interior of the church was altered to accommodate its enlargement. Although the exact date of construction was not recorded, prior to 1914 an abbreviated tower-like steeple was added to the church entrance.

In 1920, a devastating fire completed the expulsion begun by white social, economic, and political pressures, and the local newspaper rejoiced in the removal of a number of “undesirable rent houses” occupied primarily by blacks. By the 1920s, the Bethel AME Church offered a tenuous refuge in an uneasy society, and several of the elevations as well as the entrance tower, conveyed the restrained ideal of the rural, black Arkansas church.

A number of obtrusive additions later marred some secondary elevations of the church. In 1956 a stone-veneered gable and shed vesting room and office was joined to the north elevation of the original building. At a later date, a small shed was also attached to the north elevation of the 1910 wing. In 1973, .the original belfry which surmounted the entrance tower was destroyed by a tornado and replaced with a less elaborate substitute.

Interview with Mr. and Mrs. Savoy Montgomery & Arthur Montgomery, May 15, 1985.

Britton, Nancy, “Building of Bethel AME Church”. Unpublished paper, 1985.

Fagg, Jane B. “Relocation of the Black School, 1905′. Unpublished paper.

John William Graves, “The Arkansas Separate Coach law of 1891,” in Arkansas in the Gilded Age, 1874-1900, Waddy William Moore ed. Little Rock, Ark.: Rose Publishing Company, 1976.

Arkansas Properties on the National Register of Historic Places: Fargo Training School Historic District, Monroe County


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The Fargo Training School Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on May 27, 2010.

Fargo Training School Dist.


The Fargo Training School Historic District is being nominated for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places under Criterion A with statewide significance, for its association with ethnic heritage and for its association with African American Education through the first half of the 20th Century. The Fargo Training School Historic District is an excellent example of an educational campus for African American students from the late 1950s through 1960. Though it is unclear who the architect(s) is for the educational buildings, it is known that Furrell and Robinson designed the 1964 addition to the Floyd Brown Building, but was constructed by Charles A. Lovell. This extraordinary property of fifteen acres, built between 1958 and 1960, features the contributing irregular shaped Floyd Brown Building, the nonagonal Mid-Delta Head Start Building, Fargo Agricultural School Museum, J.R. Jackson Gymnasium Site, two faculty cottages, and a noncontributing gymnasium. Fargo Training School is believed to be the only training school left from that era in the State of Arkansas.


“The education of the whole people, in a republican government, can never be attained without the consent of the whole people.”[1] This idea about educating the citizens of a republican form of government, especially at the state level, really rings true in the state of Arkansas. Though accepted in the Union after 1787, the presence of the Ordinance of 1787, holds very true for the early education history of Arkansas. The schooling idea in Arkansas was formed out of the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, which encouraged public education and with the Land Ordinance of 1785 established townships and sections through the Territorial Government of Louisiana Act of 1806.[2] Each township is six miles square and each of the sections subdividing the township is one mile square. The ordinance declared that one section (section 16) of each township would be reserved for the support of schools.[3]

Later, with the enactment of territorial legislation in 1829, the legislature made an effort to create a system of schools by passing the first law concerning public education. As part of this legislation, “each township [had] to select three trustees whose duties were to maintain a school building on the sixteenth township and hire a teacher.”[4] At this time, public schools were not free nor were they supported by public money other than the leasing, selling or renting of the sixteenth township lands.[5] It was not until after the Civil War that education began to move forward again. As part of the new state constitution mandated by the Federal government to allow Arkansas back into the Union, the new constitution called for a “two mill state property tax for school purposes.”[6] As part of the Reconstruction Act of 1867, education was extended to “black and white students alike, between the ages of five and twenty-one.”[7] However, even with the new education system in place, the schools themselves were segregated by race, though not through legality. During the period following the Reconstruction, solidifying the educational system became harder due to economical restraints. It is also during this period that an African American school system and a white school system began developing separately. It would not be until the trail of Brown v Board of Education of Topeka in 1954 that the two school systems would start to become one central school system. Even with the court’s ruling, the desegregation process was slowing moving in many of the southern states including Arkansas.

It was during this period of segregated schools that Floyd Brown created the Fargo Agricultural School, the predecessor to the Fargo Training School for Delinquent Negro Girls, in 1919. Mr. Brown was determined to build a school with the $2.85 he had upon his arrival in Fargo, Arkansas. Mr. Brown was able to “purchase on credit twenty acres of land from a local minister…and made an agreement to pay for the land after harvest the next year.”[8] By November 27, 1919, “ground was broke[n] for the first building of the Fargo Agricultural School”[9] and classes had begun by January 1, 1920. This new school was designed to “prepare young people of his race [African American] to live useful lives. It taught African- American students the skills they needed for life in rural Arkansas with emphases upon farming and domestic life.”[10] This same concept was one that was brought by the Rosenwald Fund in the initial planning phase for what is known as the Dunbar School in Little Rock, Arkansas.[11]

Now, there was a strong push for African Americans to receive an education in the various trade groups as African American men and women made up 25% of Little Rock’s population. That 25% of the population was working in various trades such as cooks, gardeners, and agricultural labor for men while women worked as seamstresses, cooks and laundry women.[12] Therefore, the philanthropist in charge of funding the schools’ development formatted the curriculum around the jobs that they already were working. This same idea was proposed by the Department of Education in Arkansas, as they “believed that a greater emphasis should be placed on the vocational interest of the Negro youth and adults on the farm.”[13] What the Dunbar school offered that the Fargo Agricultural School did not was a variety of course tracks. Dunbar offered three course tracks in academic, academic and vocational, and industrial, while Fargo offered one that involved academic and vocational training. Still the difference between the two schools was the students would move on to after graduation. In the case of Dunbar, many students would stay within the urban environment, while those attending Fargo would move back to the farm where vocational training would be better served. However, the vocational and industrial course were designed to teach the students how to be used in an industrial helper job such as working as a janitor in which you did not need a high school education.[14]

In the thirty years that the Fargo Agricultural School existed, several of the boys and girls who attended the school and who may not have had the chance to finish high school otherwise were able to move beyond the agrarian way of life into professional careers. The final graduation of the Fargo Agricultural School took place in May 1949, as Mr. Brown sold the school he created to the State of Arkansas for a marginal amount of money as it was passed as Act 355 in 1949. At that time, Mr. Brown had decided that he “could not continue indefinitely being responsible for raising large sums of money to finance the school.”[15] At the time that Mr. Brown sold the school to the State of Arkansas, African American schools received only 11% [16] of the state expenditures for public education, while accounting for nearly 24% of the state enrollment. This made it even harder for Mr. Brown as his school was funded primarily through donations. Mr. Brown also stated that there was beginning to be “competition with new high schools being built in communities where our school received [a] majority of its students.”[17] Mr. Brown found satisfaction that over those thirty years, by knowing he was able to “help make it possible for many of the underprivileged boys and girls to get an education that will help them to be good citizens.”[18] With those words, he presented the school to the Arkansas legislature as he felt that the “need for a privately–owned high school had passed, and that the property would be better suited for a state institution for Negro girls.”[19] Over those thirty years, the campus of the Fargo Agricultural School grew from one building and twenty acres of land to fourteen buildings and nearly eight hundred acres of land. It would be the same ideals and approach to education left by the Fargo Agricultural School that would lead the way in creating a foundation for the Fargo Training School for Negro Girls.

When operations began at the school, the state of Arkansas held that the school was part of the state’s penal system. The training school system was segregates with the white girl’s school located in Alexander, the white boy’s school located in Pine Bluff (Arkansas Training School for Boys), and the African American boy’s school located at Wrightsville (Negro Boy’s Industrial School or Arkansas Training School for Boy’s at Wrightsville). Once the school year had started in 1950, there was still a lot “to be done in acquainting the people of the State that the school [was] not a [penal] institution but is a training school to rehabilitate, the girls placed there by the court system.”[20] Though it seems that it was not much of an issue after classes began, as there is no mention of it again until 1955. Little in the way of the education of the students changed once the transition happened as Mr. Brown was retained as the Superintendent of the Training School. During the four years that Mr. Brown was the Superintendent, 1950-1954, and even throughout the rest of the school’s history, the girls were taught household duties such as milking cows, canning fruits and vegetable, and caring for other livestock at the school as part of their home economics course work. The school’s literary subjects consisted of reading, writing, spelling, grammar, arithmetic, health and other basic subjects that would help them to be better girls when they returned to their homes and communities.[21] Yet, the school tried in every way to bring the girls closer together as they were traveling from all over the state and from different backgrounds.In order to achieve this goal, the school added sports to the curriculum. Girls who arrived at Fargo were all sent to the Training School for various reasons ranging from school rated problems to broken homes, to disobeying their parents. This varying degree of problems never seemed to affect the education or the way the school conducted its education toward the students as all were treated equally.

When classes began at the new school in the fall of 1950, the school was using the old buildings of the Fargo Agricultural School. However, after the retirement of Dr. Floyd Brown, Dr. R.M. Foster took over a superintendent of the Fargo Training School. Under Dr. Foster, the school began a process of updating the facilities, as the older buildings were in need of repair and it was stated that the cost was too great to fix them.Consequently, all of the brick and framed structures of the original Fargo Agricultural School were demolished and replaced between 1955 and 1958. However, the only remaining remnant of the former Fargo Agricultural School is the foundation and steps of the original J.R. Jackson Gymnasium. One of those new buildings was the Dr. Floyd Brown building which was built in 1958 to serve as the center of the school’s activities. The building included dormitory rooms, cafeteria, kitchen, classrooms, chapel, auditorium, and office space. The idea of replacing the buildings that were at the school with new buildings really was foreign, as many of the African American students throughout the state of Arkansas were attending class in “makeshift, overcrowded, and unsanitary classrooms.”[22]

In 1960, Dr. Floyd Brown and his wife donated $10,000 to the training school for the construction of what is currently the Floyd Brown-Fargo Agricultural Museum. Construction took six months and the building was opened in August 1960. It would only be three years before another major construction project began at the school. As part of Act 471 of 1963, there was $550,000 appropriated for the construction and equipping of facilities at the training school. It is unknown, as of this time, if there were plans for one or more buildings.We do know that the Dr. Floyd Brown Building has a 1964 addition, which included new classroom space, new kitchen and cafeteria, and additional rooms. There were also other appropriations made to hire new staff for the faculty. This goes to show that the facility was beginning to grow at an astronomical rate as were the number of students at the facility.

Yet, even with the addition of facilities at Fargo, nothing would be more detrimental to the Fargo Training School than the 1967 case of The Board of Managers of the Arkansas Training School for Boys at Wrightsville et al., Appellants, v. Mrs. Nona Mae George et al. In the court’s decision, it is mentioned that this case did not allow them to comment directly on the girl’s schools. However, since the girl’s schools were set up in the same manner as the boy’s schools, the separation of school by race was determined unconstitutional and consequently ordered that judges start remanding juveniles to the nearest school and not separating by race. After being denied a rehearing of the case in June 1967, it seems to have taken until November 1969 before the schools began to be integrated.[23] Yet, the decision was fatal for the Fargo Training School. On May 23, 1968, the Arkansas Juvenile Training Board ordered the Fargo Training School closed citing the desegregation order as the primary reason for the closure.[24] Over the next two months, the school was in an unsettled state. The school board and the Arkansas State Legislature continued to discuss the validity of relocating 95 girls Alexander. Yet by June 22, 1968, the decision had been made that the school would be close, though the governor consistently stated that the facilities would continue to be used at Fargo, with plans being discussed that the Welfare Department would use the facilities as a foster home for dependent and neglected children.

Still, on July 24, 1968, one third of the fifty-three girls would begin to be transferred to Alexander. At Alexander, they would be placed immediately with “white girls” in the dormitories. It was also stated that the transfer of the girls to Alexander would be completed by the end of July and that all equipment had already begun to be moved. With the closure of the facility and the transfer of the girls to Alexander, the 270 acres and six buildings would be in the hands of a caretaker.[25]

In 1971, the Department of Social and Rehabilitative Services was formed as part of a reorganization of state government.[26] Now known as the Department of Human Services, the schools at Pine Bluff and Alexander served both white and African American students as part of the Juvenile Services Division. In 1977, the Juvenile Services Division was reorganized as the Division of Youth Services in the Department of Human Services.[27] The Alexander school was later converted into the Alexander Youth Services Center, which began taking in both boys and girls and is currently operating as the Arkansas Juvenile Treatment and Assessment Center. The current institution has taken on more of a correctional institutional roll compared to the educational base roll it had at the time of the conversion in late 1960s and early 1970s.[28]

By the middle of the 1990s, the Division of Youth Services changed their method of treatment of youth in the State of Arkansas and constructed new facilities to meet the change in practices through additional space for client specific and individual treatment programming.[29] With these new practices, new facilities began construction in Colt, Harrisburg, Lewisville, and Mansfield between 1994-1997.[30] The Department of Human Services no longer lists Pine Bluff as one of their treatment facilities and as of the current time, the Alexander facility only has one comparable building on its campus.

In 1981, Section 20 of Act 769 ordered the State Board of Vocational Education to sell all properties that the board no longer deemed necessary for vocational education. At this same time the Arkansas Land and Farm Development Corporation (ALFDC) was founded in 1980. It was also at this time that the ALFDC began its operations at the old Fargo campus. At the corporation’s founding, their mission was to prevent black farmers from losing their land. Their mission has since expanded with the belief that land ownership leads to self-reliance, and toward that end, they provide technical and financial assistance to support rural farms and families. However, they are still primarily focused on the African American farm families in the Monroe County area.[31]

It appears that the Fargo Training School campus is the most intact of the middle 1950s and 1960s youth correctional facilities in the State of Arkansas. Additionally, it is the only intact facility for African Americans in the period of segregation. The buildings reflect the end of a period in correctional practice and theory that vocational education combined with standard education could rehabilitate delinquent youth in Arkansas.

Arkansas Properties on the National Register of Historic Places: Selma Rosenwald School, Drew County


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The Selma Rosenwald School at Selma in Drew County was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on March 2, 2006.


The Selma Rosenwald School is being nominated to the National Register of Historic Places with local significance under Criterion A for its association with education in the Selma area and Drew County. Additionally, it is significant as a part of Julius Rosenwald’s legacy as the foremost benefactor to Negro education in the South, and as the only surviving Rosenwald school in Drew County.

Contrary to common belief, the education of many southern black Americans took place on southern plantations while many were slaves. Some masters allowed a few of their slaves to become skilled workers or artisans by permitting them to be apprentices or employees of craftsmen outside the plantation. In fact, it was quite profitable for the plantation to have a number of skilled slaves in order to avoid having to hire expensive mechanics, craftsmen, machinists, seamstresses, etc. Education was also taking place among the children, often without the master’s knowledge. Many of the children of the masters thought it quite amusing to play “school” and teach the slave children how to read and do math. To the children it was a game, but in actuality it was part of the beginning of the black education movement in the South after the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. In fact, many slaves were able to use their talents and skills to gain their manumission, or to do enough work outside the plantation to buy their way out of slavery.

After the Emancipation Proclamation and the flight of the blacks to northern cities, many religious organizations and education-oriented groups realized the need for education among the black refugees. Plantation life had left many blacks unable to cope with life in the city or with finding jobs. Benevolent societies sprang up in cities such as Boston, Chicago, New York, Cincinnati, and Philadelphia in 1862-1863. Together with church organizations, they provided food, clothing, religious leaders, money, and teachers for the newcomers. Church organizations were the leaders in the freedman’s school system in its beginning stages. At the forefront of the religious groups was the American Missionary Association, organized in 1849 to operate Christian missions and educational institutions at home and abroad. Other religious groups included The Baptist Church, North (or Home Mission Society), the Freedman’s Aid Society, and the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church; a great deal of the money and supplies these groups provided were dispensed through the Union Army. In March 1862, the New England Freedman’s Society, along with General Edward L. Pierce and numerous other educators, initiated the Port Royal Experiment. The Experiment involved developing the economy, directing blacks to economic independence, and organizing schools.

In 1863 the Freedman’s Inquiry Commission suggested the creation of a government agency to deal specifically with the care of the freedmen. In 1865 Congress passed an act creating the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, otherwise known as the Freedmen’s Bureau. The Bureau was useful because it committed the United States to the task of caring for the freedmen, and because it made that care a part of the official structure by which the South was being controlled. Even though the Freedmen’s Bureau was able to remedy many of the flaws of the relief programs for the freedmen, it was the strongly motivated individuals of the religious groups and benevolent organizations that were mainly responsible for the education of the blacks. These individuals were for the most part devout Christians and well-trained teachers from New England.

One of the zealous individuals that became one of the most significant figures in southern black education was Julius Rosenwald. Rosenwald was quite successful as a businessman, but his philanthropic work has always overshadowed his financial success. He entered the clothing business in New York in 1878. In 1895 he invested $35,000 in the stock of Sears, Roebuck, and Company, and in less than thirty years it grew into $150,000,000. He became president of the mail-order firm in 1910 and then chairman in 1925. During the years Rosenwald was most active as a philanthropist, Sears and Roebuck expanded into the retail chain-store business, and he was actually absent from the company from 1916 to 1919. As early as 1910, Rosenwald was a trustee of Tuskegee Institute in Alabama and made gifts on behalf of the rural school movement to the Institute, primarily through close contact with Booker T. Washington. His funds made possible the erection of sixteen YMCA buildings and one YMCA building for blacks. This stimulated gifts from others for similar projects in many cities in both the North and South, including the financial support for a large black housing project in Chicago. Rosenwald was active in a number of Jewish organizations and granted substantial financial support to the National Urban League. Also, he was appointed a member of the Council on National Defense and served as chairman of its committee on supplies.

In 1917 Rosenwald established the Julius Rosenwald Fund. This fund was destined to attract more money to the benefit of black education than any other philanthropic undertaking to this date. The fund’s broad purpose was for the betterment of mankind irrespective of race, but it was aimed more specifically at creating more equitable opportunities for black Americans. Unlike many charity organizations, the Rosenwald Fund was to only help a school if the community, blacks and whites alike, had raised some of the money themselves; however, the black community usually provided the labor. Rosenwald and the directors of his trust first directed their attention toward building rural schools, later toward high schools and colleges, and finally toward the providing of grants and fellowships to enable outstanding blacks and whites to advance their careers. Not only did the Rosenwald Fund help to build rural schools, it was also responsible for a number of buildings and libraries on college campuses. The directors of the trust were also involved to a certain extent in the direction of the curriculum at all levels of education. Their emphasis was on the educational needs of country children. They maintained that some vocational skills were necessary, as were the ability to do some math, to read and write clearly, to have some understanding of biological processes and farming, and to understand the fundamentals of sanitation and health.

State records indicate that when the fund ceased activity in 1948, it had aided in the building of 389 school buildings (schools, shops, and teachers’ homes) in 45 counties in Arkansas. The total amount contributed by the fund was $1,952,441. The state or counties owned and maintained all of the schools, and the land was usually donated by a white landowner. In Arkansas, R. C. Childress of Little Rock was the Rosenwald Building Agent. Childress was the first degree graduate of Philander Smith College and was the second black person to work for the state Education Department. He dedicated his life to education and, consequently, the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff has named Childress Hall for him, and the high schools in Wynne and Nashville were named for him.

The Selma Rosenwald School was built in 1924 when the Rosenwald Fund aided mainly small rural communities in Arkansas. A total of $24,997 was allocated to Arkansas for the 1924-1925 budget year, which allowed the completion of 33 schools, one teachers’ home, and three additions comprising five classrooms. Of the 33 schools completed during that period, 14 of them consisted of two rooms, including the Selma School.

The cost to construct the Selma School was $2,275, and it was one of the cheapest two-room schools constructed during the 1924-1925 budget cycle. (The average cost of construction for a two-room school during the 1924-1925 budget cycle was $3,201.) Of the $2,275 cost of construction, $500 came from black contributions, $1,075 came from public funding, and the Rosenwald Fund gave a grant of $700.

The Selma Rosenwald School was built using Floor Plan No. 20 for a “Two Teacher Community School” from Samuel Smith’s Community School Plans. Smith was the General Field Agent for the Rosenwald Fund, and he developed a series of floorplans and specifications for a variety of schools that used the most up-to-date innovations in school design. The detailed blueprints and specifications could be obtained from the Rosenwald Fund through the state’s education office. Smith felt that having a stock set of blueprints and specifications would allow any community to build a quality school without having to hire an architect, and the school plans turned out to be one of his greatest legacies.

Smith was very concerned with having the maximum amount of natural light get into the classrooms, especially since the rural areas where the buildings were built often did not have electricity. The Selma School, as specified in the plans, faces west in order to allow east-west sunlight into the rooms. East-west sunlight allowed a more comfortable light (as opposed to an all-day exposure to southern sunlight), and also allowed for better ventilation since shades would not be needed to cover the windows all day long.

The interior specifications for the buildings that Smith designed also helped to maximize the use of sunlight. Specifications required tan shades on the interior, instead of the more traditional green, and preferred that two shades be installed per window, in order to allow more regulation of light. The schools were also designed so that seating arrangements placed the windows on the children’s left sides so that their writing arms, at least for right-handed students, would not cast shadows on their papers. Smith’s plans were meant to be simple and efficient, omitting corridors wherever it was possible, and Floor Plan No. 20 used in Selma reflects all of Smith’s innovations.

The design chosen for the Selma Rosenwald School, like the other school designs that Smith did for the Rosenwald Fund, also incorporates an industrial room. The inclusion of an industrial room reflected part of Booker T. Washington’s Progressive-era educational philosophy. It allowed girls to be taught sewing and cooking, and boys to be taught farming and working with tools.

Smith also recognized that school buildings often served as community centers, and he incorporated that ideal into his designs. He once wrote that, “the best modern school is one which is designed to serve the entire community for twelve months in the year…whenever possible a good auditorium, large enough to seat the entire community, should be erected in connection with every community school. If there are not sufficient funds for an auditorium, two adjoining classrooms with movable partitions may be made to serve this purpose.” As a result, all of Smith’s school designs had an auditorium or movable partitions, as at the Selma School.

With respect to the exterior of frame buildings, Smith recommended that they be painted white and trimmed in gray or painted gray and trimmed in white. If the community wanted to use a wood preservative stain, he recommended using a nut-brown color and trimming it with white or cream. A photograph of the Selma Rosenwald School Class of 1924 indicates that the building was painted white with dark trim, likely gray, as Smith recommended.

The siting of the building was also considered to be very important, and Smith provided recommendations on that regard. It was recommended that buildings be built on at least a two-acre site, and be located near a corner of the site. This allowed enough space for the school, two privies, a teacher’s home, playgrounds for the students, a space for agricultural demonstrations, and proper landscaping. At Selma, the privies were located to the northeast of the building while the playground equipment was located to the building’s west and the baseball field was located to the east.

The Selma Rosenwald School had classes for students up through 10th grade and was used as a school until 1964. Once the school closed, the Masons bought the building in the late 1960s or early 1970s for use as their Masonic lodge, and they continue to use it today. There is also an effort currently ongoing to transfer the building from the Masons to the Selma Community so that it can be used for community events and functions.

Schools, especially Rosenwald schools, along with churches were often the centerpieces of a community, and it was no exception in Selma. Located across the road from the Sweet Hope Church, the Selma Rosenwald School was the center of life in this rural part of Drew County not only while it was a school, but for several years after. Even today, it serves as the Masonic Lodge for the area, and as the only Rosenwald building surviving in Drew County, the Selma Rosenwald School is a rare and tangible reminder of the philanthropic legacy of Julius Rosenwald.

The Selma Rosenwald School is being nominated to the National Register of Historic Places with local significance under Criterion A for its association with education in the Selma area and Drew County. Additionally, it is significant as a part of Julius Rosenwald’s legacy as the foremost benefactor to Negro education in the South, and as the only surviving Rosenwald school in Drew County.

Arkansas Properties on the National Register of Historic Places, Harden Family Cemetery, Chicot County


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The Harden Family Cemetery was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on May 24, 2004.

The Harden Family Cemetery is being nominated to the National Register of Historic Places with local significance under Criterion A for its association with early settlement in the Jennie vicinity of Chicot, County. Members of the Harden Family were prominent early African-American settlers in the Jennie area, and involved in many aspects of Jennie community life, and the cemetery represents the most significant remaining site associated with the Harden family. As a result, it is also being nominated under Criterion B along with Criteria Consideration C: birthplaces or graves. The cemetery is also being nominated under Criteria Consideration D: cemeteries and under the multiple property listing “Historic and Architectural Resources Associated with the Ethnic and Racial Minority Settlement of the Arkansas Delta.”

Much of the history of the Jennie area is unknown, although it was apparently originally known as Downsville. Although a railroad line parallels Arkansas Highway 159 through the settlement, it was not built until after 1895. Likely the development of Jennie (or Downsville) occurred just after the arrival of the railroad line.

The Harden Family included some of the early settlers in the Jennie area, and they played prominent roles in the life of the community. John Harden, Sr., was the family patriarch. Although little is known about his life, it is known that he was a slave. He was freed after the Emancipation Proclamation and lived out the remainder of his life in the Jennie area before he died on April 14, 1892.

John Harden, and his wife Mary Thomas Harden, had three sons, Sam P. Harden, John Silas Harden, and Henry Harden. They were the founders of the community and were known as the preacher, politician, and teacher. Sam P. Harden was the pastor of Pleasant Hope Baptist Church, which was located just north of Jennie and about one-half mile west of the cemetery. He was pastor in April 1927 when William H. Harden, his nephew, joined the church. John Silas Harden was the teacher and taught reading, writing, and arithmetic in the one-room schoolhouse in Jennie. Henry Harden, who was known as the politician, died March 8, 1927. (According to members of the family, Henry never held any elective office, but was known as the politician because of his civic-minded nature.)

In addition to the three sons John and Mary Thomas Harden also had a daughter, Moriah. She married General James who was born in 1897, and is also buried in the cemetery. He died on October 10, 1918, while at Camp Funston, Kansas, where he was stationed in preparation for deportation to Europe for service in World War I.

Henry Harden, and his wife Mary, had two sons, William H. and John A Harden. William H. Harden was born August 29, 1889, on the Henry Harden place in the Downsville Settlement (now Jennie). William entered Philander Smith College in Little Rock in 1905, and completed his coursework in English in 1908.
He returned to Jennie the following year. In 1930 he was appointed a census enumerator by the Honorable Robert Zebold of Pine Bluff, who was the superintendent of the census. He died May 25, 1947.

John A. Harden served as the first black postmaster of Jennie, Arkansas. (Although it is not known when he took the position of postmaster, the post office in Jennie was established in 1905.) In 1910 he was the owner of the general merchandise store and post office, and he died on August 16, 1917.

John A. and John Silas Harden were also members of the Royal Circle of Friends. The Royal Circle of Friends, which was a benevolent society, was organized in Helena, Arkansas, in 1909 by Dr. R. A. Williams.
By 1918 the circle had 25, 000 members in five states. According to church members it cost $5 to join and the dues were $1 every two months. As a benevolent society the circle paid hospital bills and burial expenses.

Although Jennie has always remained a small settlement, the Harden family has been an important family in the community’s history. From teachers to preachers and postmasters, the Harden family has been involved in many aspects of Jennie’s community life. The Harden Family Cemetery remains today as the final resting place of many of the Harden family’s most prominent members.

The Harden Family Cemetery is being nominated to the National Register of Historic Places with local significance under Criterion A for its association with early settlement in the Jennie vicinity of Chicot, County. Members of the Harden Family were prominent early African-American settlers in the Jennie area, and involved in many aspects of Jennie community life, and the cemetery represents the most significant remaining site associated with the Harden family. As a result, it is also being nominated under Criterion B along with Criteria Consideration C: birthplaces or graves. The cemetery is also being nominated under Criteria Consideration D: cemeteries and under the multiple property listing “Historic and Architectural Resources Associated with the Ethnic and Racial Minority Settlement of the Arkansas Delta.”

Arkansas Properties on the National Register of Historic Places: George Berry Washington Memorial, Earle vic., Crittenden County


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The George Berry Washington Memorial was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on August 11, 1994.

George Berry Washington Memorial


The George Berry Washington Memorial, located north of Earle on Highway 149, is the sole extant historic resource associated with George Berry Washington, a successful African-American landowner, farmer, businessman, and preacher. It is also the sole example in Earle and all of Crittenden County of a sculptural funerary monument.


George Washington, Jr., was likely born into slavery, the son of George Washington and Hanna Washington, on December 25, 1864. His parents were both born in Kentucky and were possibly the slaves of James G. Berry, one of Crittenden County’s largest landowners who moved to Arkansas from Kentucky as early as 1833.

Little is known about his early years, though census data lists his occupation as “laborer” in 1870 and 1880. In May 1883, Washington — who now went by the name George Berry Washington — married 18-year-old Ella Rostelle. They had a daughter, Elizabeth, in 1886 and a second daughter, Irene, in 1891. In 1897, Washington married a second time (no information survives concerning the fate of his first wife); his new bride was 25-year-old Lula Wright of Tennessee.

George Berry Washington began his rise to becoming the owner of one of the largest landowners in Crittenden County with the November 1893 purchase 40 acres in Section 15 of Township 8 North, Range 6 East, for $200. In 1898, he acquired an additional 70 acres, and also operated a cotton gin. By 1900 he had increased his landholdings to a total of 176.63 acres worth $1,140. In addition, he owned 15 cattle, 10 horses and mules, 10 hogs, a pair of carriages or wagons, and a gold or silver watch. “Washington’s growing status as a landholder was becoming evident, as of the 2,008 farms in Crittenden County at that time, only 102 were equal to or larger in size than his own.”

By the turn of the century, Washington and his family lived where the Tyronza River meets Gibson Bayou in an area that became know as the “Main Place” and where the George Berry Washington Memorial is now located. His holdings at the “Main Place” eventually contained a total of 518.20 acres.

By 1905, Washington owned 477.30 acres worth $2,760 and had personal belongings valued at $1,490. By 1911, he owned 923.53 acres worth $10,690. “The size of Washington’s land holdings (at the time of the 1910 Census) placed him in the very top level of the county’s landowners as only eight other farms equalled or exceeded his in size that year.”

Two years of bad weather in 1912-13 forced Washington place all of his land up for collateral for a $12,000 loan in 1914; however, good crops in 1915 allowed him to increase his total acreage to 1,006.08 and purchase a pianoforte for his living room. In 1917, Washington’s personal assets totaled $2,710 and he purchased an automobile.

Washington paid off his 1914 loan in 1921 and increased his total holdings to 1,042,71 acres worth $17,780; he bought a second car in 1925. His land acquisitions peaked in 1927 at a total of 1,145.08 acres valued at $20,900.

Washington’s major holdings, in addition to the 518.20-acre “Main Place,” were the Chatfield Plantation with 146.18 acres, the 160-acre Marriman Place, the 20-acre Harding Place, and another 160 acres at the Dunning Place.

Washington managed part of his vast holdings through the share-cropping system, with 12 chattel mortgages in 1923. It is likely that he also employed from 60 to 100 other hands to farm other sections of his property. “Even though no records exist from his farming operation, the presence of such a sizeable work force alone would indicate the extent of his farm’s economic activity.”

The Washington Plantation featured a rather modest one-story frame house for the family, a commissary store, and a cotton gin that reportedly exploded in the 1920s, causing two deaths, as well as numerous outbuildings, tenant houses, and related structures. None of these are currently extant, however.

George Berry Washington’s status as a large property owner was mirrored not only in his extensive personal belongings, but also in his social activities. He became a member of the local Prince Hall Freemasonry chapter and bought land in 1902 with two other individuals and Tyronza Lodge No. 197 in Norvell, the black residential area north of Earle, possibly as a lodge site. The extent of Washington’s Masonic activities is unknown, but a masonic emblem embellishes the front of his funereal monument.

He was also active in several local churches. He served as a preacher at St. Peter’s Baptist Church, located a few miles north of the “Main Place,” and at the Spring Hill Church three miles east of his home. He also was known to engage in preaching sessions to farm hands gathered at his home. Washington deeded five acres in 1919 for the Gibson Bayou Cemetery and Pentecostal Church Association. The title “Rev.” also appears on his monument.

Early on the afternoon of August 30, 1928, Washington became ill and collapsed. By 3 p.m., he was dead of “acute gastritis.” He was buried September 2, 1928 on a mound at the “Main Place” where “his wife could keep watch on him” from their family home.

Elizabeth Washington attempted to continue the farming operations in 1929, but the advent of the Great Depression that year forced Lula Washington and her stepdaughters to borrow nearly $28,000. They defaulted on the loan and, on March 7, 1932, Prudential Insurance Company of America sold the “Main Place” at auction to satisfy the 1929 note. “With the sale of these lands, the George Berry Washington farming enterprise ceased to exist.”

George Berry Washington rose from humble beginnings as a laborer and the son of slaves to become one of the most successful landowners and farmers in Crittenden County. As the last extant historic resource associated with this remarkable businessman, the George Berry Washington Memorial is eligible for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places under Criterion B.

The George Berry Washington Memorial is also eligible under Criterion C as the best example in Earle and, in fact, all of Crittenden County of a sculptural grave marker. A state-wide survey of outdoor sculpture conducted by the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program revealed only four sculptures in the entire county and the George Berry Washington Memorial was the sole example in the county of sculptural funerary art. Its graceful angel, clasping a single flower in its hand, also inspired noted Delta artist Carroll Cloar, an Earle native, to produce a painting titled “Angel in a Thorn Patch.”

The George Berry Washington Memorial meets the requirements of Criterion Exception C, regarding birthplaces and graves, by virtue of its status as the last standing structure of any kind associated with Washington, a man with outstanding importance within his local area, and his myriad activities in and around the “Main Place.”

It should also be noted that, while this nomination does not address Criterion D, the George Washington Berry Memorial is located on a site that was an occupation locus during the Late Archaic, Woodland and Mississippian Periods; it also contains evidence of Parkin Phase occupation. Future archeological investigation would probably supply sufficient evidence to justify the nomination of a larger area surrounding this sites for its prehistoric cultural significance.