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The Castleberry Hotel at DeValls Bluff in Prairie County was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on September 19, 2007. Its history is outlined in the nomination below.

Castleberry Hotel

SUMMARY
Located on U.S. 70 (Main Street) in the small town of De Valls Bluff, the Castleberry Hotel was built in 1925 utilizing the popular Craftsman style of architecture, which is exhibited in the masonry porch piers, wide eaves, and exposed rafter tails. As the best commercial example of the Craftsman style in De Valls Bluff, the Castleberry Hotel is being nominated to the National Register of Historic Places with local significance under Criterion C. In addition, the Castleberry Hotel is being nominated to the National Register under Criterion A with local significance for its associations with the development of commerce in De Valls Bluff after the arrival of U.S. 70 in the early 1920s.

ELABORATION
Settlement began in Prairie County in the early part of the nineteenth century with the arrival of two men named Watts and East who settled near the current location of Des Arc. By the mid-nineteenth century settlement began in the area of De Valls Bluff with the arrival of C. S. De Vall from Georgia and Captain Patrick H. Wheat. In 1846, there were enough people in the area to warrant the creation of Prairie County by an act of the legislature on November 25. Initially, Prairie County included nearly all of the land that encompasses Lonoke County, but it was separated off in 1873.

De Valls Bluff, which was named after C. S. De Vall, was a small community at the beginning of the Civil War, containing a “store and dwelling house and a ‘boat landing.’” However, in 1863, the community was taken by Federal troops and made their supply base for Little Rock and other points to the west. When the White River was navigable, supplies were shipped to De Valls Bluff and then shipped to Little Rock on the railroad.

After the Union troops took possession of De Valls Bluff, the town was inundated with refugees seeking protection. Houses were built for them and as a result, by the end of the war, De Valls Bluff’s population had increased significantly. Although many of the refugees went back to their original homes at the end of the war, it remained an important community. In 1873, it was designated the county seat for Prairie County’s Southern District, and by the 1880s it had “a postoffice [sic.], two general, two drug, three grocery and one millinery store, a livery stable, two hotels, a boat oar factory, a large saw-mill, a Methodist Church, white, and a Baptist Church, colored, a school-house each for the whites and blacks, two title abstract offices, a lodge each of Masons, Knights of Pythias, Knights of Honor, Good Templars and Iron Hall.”

As a road system developed across Arkansas in the beginning of the twentieth century, De Valls Bluff ended up on the road designated Highway A-1, which connected Little Rock with Memphis to the east and Fort Smith to the west. The importance of the highway was also noted when the U.S. highway system was created in 1925, and it received the designation U.S. 70.

As in the nineteenth century, it was important to provide goods and services to travelers on U.S. 70 as it passed through De Valls Bluff, especially since the highway followed Main Street. In 1925, the Castleberry Hotel was constructed to provide services to travelers. (It actually replaced another hotel and movie theatre that were on the site.) The building had the public spaces (lobby and restaurant) on the first floor and 24 rooms on the top floor. The hotel, which was built in the Craftsman style, also exhibited the latest in architectural style.

After the Castleberry Hotel opened, it apparently became the place to stay in De Valls Bluff. Although two other hotels appear on the April 1924 Sanborn map, a Colored Hotel on Williams Street east of Main Street, and the Central Hotel on Brinkley Street east of Main Street, both had gone out of business by 1950. The Castleberry Hotel’s location on Main Street, conveniently across the street from an auto repair shop and filling station and next door to another restaurant, meant that it was highly visible to travelers passing through.

By 1950, the hotel had changed names and was called the Rogers Hotel. Although it is not known when the hotel closed, the construction of I-40 in the area in the 1960s took much of the through traffic, and its associated business, off of U.S. 70, likely causing the hotel to close. Today, the building is vacant, but the city is hoping to preserve the building so that it can once again become a vital part of De Valls Bluff’s downtown.

Prior to the arrival of the Interstate Highway System, locally-run hotels such as the Castleberry Hotel were the lifeblood of many communities on U.S. and state highways. However, today many have closed and some have been lost to deterioration or demolition. The Castleberry Hotel, on the other hand, is a living reminder of the facilities that served travelers in the early and mid twentieth century. In addition, the Castleberry Hotel remains an excellent example of the Craftsman style in De Valls Bluff.

STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE
Located on U.S. 70 (Main Street) in the small town of De Valls Bluff, the Castleberry Hotel was built in 1925 utilizing the popular Craftsman style of architecture, which is exhibited in the masonry porch piers, wide eaves, and exposed rafter tails. As the best commercial example of the Craftsman style in De Valls Bluff, the Castleberry Hotel is being nominated to the National Register of Historic Places with local significance under Criterion C. In addition, the Castleberry Hotel is being nominated to the National Register under Criterion A with local significance for its associations with the development of commerce in De Valls Bluff after the arrival of U.S. 70 in the early 1920s.

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