County Courthouse awarded grant for historic preservation

Monday, July 10, 2017
Pictured, from left, are: Director of the Department of Arkansas Heritage Stacy Hurst, Judge Bob Cantrell, and Janice Cantrell. (Photo provided)

The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, an agency of the Department of Arkansas Heritage, has awarded $2,824,799 in grants for projects in 47 Arkansas counties--including Poinsett County--through its County Courthouse Restoration Grant, Historic Preservation Restoration Grant and Main Street Downtown Revitalization Grant programs.

Poinsett County received an $81,813 County Courthouse Restoration Grant for clock tower restoration and interior restoration at the courthouse in Harrisburg.

The Poinsett County Courthouse was built in 1918 and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989. But long before it was built, a succession of other county courthouses were built and destroyed by fires. The first county courthouse was built in 1839 in Bolivar, which was the original county seat. Then the county seat was moved to Harrisburg, three miles south of Bolivar, in 1856. A two-story, brick courthouse in Harrisburg was completed in 1858. The building had many other uses besides county affairs. It housed a school, church, real estate offices, and a newspaper office. In 1873, fire destroyed the interior of the building, along with all county records. The interior was rebuilt a year later and included a new vault to protect county records. The courthouse was again struck by fire in 1917. This time the building was completely destroyed, but thanks to the vault, only one record was lost in the fire. A month later, County Judge S.T. Mayo ordered construction of the present courthouse at a cost of $200,000. Mitchell Selligman, a Pine Bluff architect, designed the courthouse in the Classical Revival style with Bedford stone, sandstone Corinthian columns, and an octagonal clock tower.

Nineteen counties shared $1,562,946 in County Courthouse Restoration Grants, which are financed through Real Estate Transfer Tax funds distributed by the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council for rehabilitation of historic county courthouses across Arkansas. Funding requests totaled $4,618,440.

Other counties receiving courthouse grants were Arkansas, $16,513; Chicot, $86,963; Cleveland, $163,500; Crittenden, $98,000; Dallas, $10,000; Drew, $82,500; Garland, $100,000; Greene, $25,000; Hot Spring, $200,000; Jackson, $87,840; Lawrence, $150,000; Lee, $59,077; Logan, $150,000; Mississippi, $50,000; Phillips, $30,000; Pike, $125,000; Polk, $34,240 and Van Buren, $12,500.

Thirty-one projects shared $960,853 in Historic Preservation Restoration Grants (HPRG), which distribute funds raised through the Real Estate Transfer Tax to rehabilitate buildings listed on the Arkansas or National Registers of Historic Places and owned by local governments or not-for-profit organizations. Grant requests totaled $1,357,911.

HPRG recipients, the amount of their grants, and the properties to be restored, were Mount Salem School/Church in Logan County, $1,683 to replace non-historic windows; Boys and Girls Club of Little Rock, $20,000 to restore the rock bridges near Lamar Porter Field in Little Rock; Carnegie Public Library, $12,325 to restore the terrace porch at the library in Eureka Springs; City of Hope, $46,667 to restore the Girl Scout Little House; City of Little Rock, $100,000 for porch restoration at the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History and $24,986 to restore a gate at Oakland-Fraternal Cemetery; City of Menifee, $70,000 for restoration work at the Menifee Gymnasium; City of North Little Rock, $17,136 for restoration work at the Park Hill Administration Building; City of Osceola, $21,000 to repoint masonry at the Coston Building; City of Paragould, $9,999 for a condition assessment at the Linwood Cemetery Mausoleum; City of Quitman, $14,666 for roof restoration at the O.D. Gunn Sale and Trade Barn; City of Searcy, $20,000 for a condition assessment of the Rialto Theater; City of Sulphur Springs, $33,733 for window restoration at the Sulphur Springs School Building; City of Warren, $74,532 for restoration work at the Warren & Ouachita Valley Railroad Station; Clark County Library, $26,666 for roof, window and column restoration at the library in Arkadelphia; Faulkner County Museum, $20,000 for window restoration at the former Faulkner County Jail in Conway; Fort Chafee Redevelopment Authority, $86,609 for restoration work at Barrack 823 on the former military base; Fort Smith Heritage Foundation, $45,067 for porch restoration at the Clayton House; Helena Museum of Phillips County, $50,000 for masonry restoration at the museum in Helena-West Helena; Lutheran Camp on Petit Jean, $17,071 for restoration work on Trinity Lutheran Church; Norman Historic Preservation Program, Inc., $20,000 for electrical upgrades at Norman High School; Old Independence Regional Museum, $53,614 for roof restoration on the former National Guard armory in Batesville; Ouachita County Historical Society, $26,353 for restoration work at the McCollum-Chidester House in Camden; Quapaw Quarter United Methodist Church, $60,000 for tower and parapet repair at the former Winfield United Methodist Church in Little Rock; Richard L. Kitchens American Legion Post 41 in Helena-West Helena, $16,107 for restoration work at the Legion Hut; Shady Grove Delmar Historical Property Association, $20,266 for restoration work at the Shady Grove Church; Union School/Church, $10,000 for restoration work at the Union School in Logan County; Wood Avenue Presbyterian Church, $14,657 for restoration work at the church in Monticello; Cato Historic Church and Cemetery, Inc., $9,999 for monument restoration at Cato Cemetery in Conway County; Cleburne County Historical Society, $9,936 for restoration work and a preservation plan for the Cleburne County Farm Cemetery, and Nevada County Industrial Development and Charitable Foundation, $7,781 for monument restoration and tree removal at the Moscow Cemetery in Prescott.

Nineteen Main Street Arkansas programs shared $285,000 in Downtown Revitalization Grants, which are funded through the state Real Estate Transfer Tax and are available to accredited Main Street programs for building rehabilitations, parks, streetscape improvements and other design-related projects that will have major long-term impacts in the local Main Street area.

Main Street programs in Batesville, Blytheville, Dumas, El Dorado, Eureka Springs, Helena-West Helena, Osceola, Ozark, Paragould, Rogers, Russellville, Searcy, Siloam Springs, Texarkana, West Memphis, the Conway Downtown Partnership, Downtown Little Rock Partnership, Downtown Jonesboro Association and Little Rockís South Main each received $15,000 grants through the program.

An additional $16,000 in Downtown Revitalization Grants was awarded to cities involved in Main Streetís Arkansas Downtown Network. Grants of $1,000 each were awarded to the programs in Arkadelphia, Clarksville, Forrest City, Fort Smith, Hardy, Heber Springs, Malvern, Monticello, Morrilton, Newport, Paris, Pine Bluff, Pocahontas, Rector, Warren and Wynne.

For more information on the AHPP's grant programs, write the agency at 1500 North Street, Little Rock, AR 72201, call the agency at (501) 324-9880, send e-mail to info@arkansaspreservation.org or visit www.arkansaspreservation.org.

The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program is the agency of the Department of Arkansas Heritage responsible for identifying, evaluating, registering and preserving the stateís cultural resources. Other agencies are the Arkansas Arts Council, the Delta Cultural Center in Helena, the Old State House Museum, the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, the Historic Arkansas Museum and the Arkansas State Archives.

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