Tag: Preservation

Greenville’s Elk’s Lodge

Greenville’s Elk’s Lodge, in the city’s downtown, was completed in late 1906 or early 1907. Once a mainstay of the city’s social scene, today it is facing destruction for a downtown “greenspace” (i.e. empty space).

Built for the local “Cotton Pickers” lodge of Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, the two-story, Greek Revival, concrete building was almost complete in August 1906, when the newspaper reported it “is one of the prettiest club rooms anywhere.”

Designated a Mississippi Landmark in 2002, the building is also a contributing structure to the National Register Greenville Commercial District. Contributing resources adds to the historic significance of a district. Despite this significance, the city seems set on a new “greenspace” to replace the Steinmart Square that has been designated for a new downtown Federal courthouse. Smart downtown greenspaces are nice in thriving urban area, but destroying an iconic building in Greenville’s struggling downtown isn’t. It will leave a hole in the historic downtown corridor where there was once a majestic 100+-year-old building. The city’s decision is also troubling given the fact that an out-of-town developer, Joshua Cain, has expressed interest in restoring the building into a boutique hotel. Cain has a proven track record in California and with the 1857 Belmont Plantation at Wayside. Ignoring a potential investment and creating an empty space in Greenville’s downtown is obviously a lose-lose situation for the city.

Sources and Resources:

MDAH Historic Resources Inventory Fact Sheet for Elks Club

Mississippi 10 Most Endangered List 2003

MissPres News Roundup 9-26-2017

MissPres News Roundup 10-3-2017

Suzassippi’s Mississippi: The “Cotton Pickers” B. P. O. Elks Lodge

“New Members for Elk’s Lodge,” Greenville Weekly Democrat, August 16, 1906

Historic Preservation in Lake Village: Remembering, Tearing Down, and Preserving History

Back in April, the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program focused on downtown Lake Village for their “Walks Through History Tour.”  In February, Lake Village’s downtown was added to the National Register for its local significance under Criterion A (economic development of the city) and C (mid 20th-century architecture).  According to AHPP, “The Lake Village Commercial Historic District exemplifies the growth of the city through its peak in the 1950s.  The period of significance extends from 1906 to 1960.” 

The script for the AHPP tour, given and researched by Rachel Silva, is now available on AHPP’s website as a pdf file.  My Pictures of the tour are below:

This August one of the buildings discussed in the tour, the Dixie Queen, was torn down.  The tour script says, “Not in district—built about 1935 as a filling station. Later became the Dixie Queen Dairy Bar, a popular hangout for Lake Village youth in its heyday.”

Dixie Queen, April 2011


Dixie Queen, August 3, 2011. Photo by Ned McAffry.


Slab on N. Lakeshore Dr., August 8, 2011

While the loss of the 1935 Dixie Queen / filing station leaves a hole in the city’s historic fabric and an empty lot along the lake front, the city of Lake Village continues with its plans to restore the historic Tushek Building for city offices.


Tushek Building, April 2011

The 1906 Tushek Builing is described in the National Register nomination as the “finest example of a commercial building designed in the Beaux Arts style in the county seat of Lake Village.”  The earliest known photo of the building is from a 1908 postcard:

1908 Postcard of Lake Village (corner of Main & Court Streets).  Courtesy of Blake Wintory

Meanwhile, over in Monticello (Drew County), the city celebrated the dedication of the rehabilitated Ridgeway Hotel Historic District (includes H. M. Wilson Building).  The Ridgeway, a 1930 hotel and a 1912 hardware store, have been rehabed into senior living apartments.  The historic district was added to the National Register in 2009.

Lakeport Technical Reports

Technical Report #1:  Parge Coating 
Technical Report #2:  Chimneys 
Technical Report #3:  Foundation & Footers
Technical Report #4:  Windows
Technical Report #5:  Shingled Roof
Technical Report #6:  Guttering & Sheet Metal Work
Technical Report #7:  Cornice, Siding & Paint
Technical Report #8:  Lakeport Porches
Technical Report #9:  Braced Frame Construction
Technical Report #10:  Smokehouse & Mechanicals

Dendrochronology Report:  David W. Stahle and Matthew D. Therrell, Tree-Ring Dating of the Lakeport Plantation House and Shed, Chicot County, Arkansas, May 2003

Archeological Investigations at Lakeport Plantation: Randall Guending, May 2003

Technical Reports are also planned for the brick walkway, plaster work, shutters, restoration of the exterior doors, mantels, and rose window.

May is Preservation Month — Lakeport Technical Reports Made Available

The National Trust for Historic Preservation declares each May National Preservation Month.  This year’s theme is “Celebrating America’s Treasures.”  City and county officials throughout Arkansas have recognized the month and made their own preservation declarations.

Yesterday, the Historic Preservation Alliance of Arkansas announced “The Most Endangered Places in Arkansas” aka “Seven to Save.”  There is a video of the announcement on Facebook or you can read about the seven on Rex Nelson’s Southern Fried Blog .  The announcement has no power to save these sites, but it does raise awareness of historic places and generates public, technical, and financial support.

Lakeport was never on the Preservation Alliance’s most endangered list–although, the H. L. Mitchell/Clay East Building, now ASU’s Southern Tenant Farmers Museum, was on the list in 2000.  Lakeport was in need of expert restoration work.  Much of the technical work for the restoration was documented and complied into technical reports.  Sonya Walker (formally of the Lakeport project) has authored eight technical reports on parge coating; chimneys; foundation and footers; windows; shingled roof; guttering and sheet metal work; cornice, siding, and paint; and smokehouse and mechanicals.  Reports on dendrochronology and historic archeology have also been authored.

For Preservation Month these reports are being posted online.  Today, there are links for the first three reports and I’ll continue posting more each day.

Lakeport Plantation Technical Reports:

Technical Report #1:  Parge Coating 
Technical Report #2:  Chimneys 
Technical Report #3:  Foundation & Footers
Technical Report #4:  Windows
Technical Report #5:  Shingled Roof
Technical Report #6:  Guttering & Sheet Metal Work
Technical Report #7:  Cornice, Siding & Paint
Technical Report #8:  Lakeport Porches
Technical Report #9:  Braced Frame Construction
Technical Report #10:  Smokehouse & Mechanicals

Dendrochronology Report:  David W. Stahle and Matthew D. Therrell, Tree-Ring Dating of the Lakeport Plantation House and Shed, Chicot County, Arkansas, May 2003

Archeological Investigations at Lakeport Plantation: Randall Guending, May 2003

Technical Reports are also planned for the brick walkway, plaster work, shutters, restoration of the exterior doors, mantels, and rose window.

Preservation & Tourism News for Lake Village & Chicot County

The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, in a press release, announced Lake Village’s downtown has been added to the National Register of Historic Places.  On Saturday, April 9th at 11 a.m., AHPP will hold its Walks through History program in downtown Lake Village.  Lakeport will also be open following the Walks through History program.

       LITTLE ROCK—The Lake Village Commercial Historic District at Lake Village in Chicot County has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the country’s official list of historically significant properties, Arkansas Historic Preservation Program Director Frances McSwain announced today.
      The Lake Village Commercial Historic District – which is bounded by Lakeshore Drive, Jackson Street, Chicot Street and Church Street – features buildings dating to around 1906.
       “The district reflects the growth of Lake Village as a nucleus of commerce and trade in southeast Arkansas,” the National Register nomination says. “As the county seat, Lake Village is a center for local government and the Chicot County Courthouse is a cornerstone of the downtown commercial district. The Lake Village Commercial Historic District contains 38 buildings and one monument.”
       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 Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center and the Historic Arkansas Museum.
On Friday, February 18th, the Delta Byways held their 11th Annual Delta Awards in Forrest City. Lake Villagers were dominated for two awards; Brianne Connelly of Lake Village was nominated for the Tourism Support Award and Lake Village Mayor JoAnne Bush was nominated and won Tourism Person of the Year.  
Tourism Person of the Year Winner JoAnne Bush with family and supporters from Lake Village 

Brianne Connelly, Tourism Support Nominee, with James Bacon  
11th Annual Delta Awards for Tourism Achievement
            The 11th annual Delta Awards recognizing tourism achievements in Eastern Arkansas were presented during festivities Friday evening, February 18, at the Forrest City Civic Center in Forrest City, Arkansas.  The event was sponsored by Arkansas Delta Byways, with support from the St. Francis County Museum and the Forrest City A & P Commission.
Finalists for the awards were as follows, with the winner designated by an asterisk:
                  1.      Media Support Award                       
          Cross County Historical Society Newsletter, Wynne
          *Delta Crossroads Magazine, Piggott, Rector, Manila and Trumann
          Rob Johnson, Forrest City Broadcasting
2.         Hospitality Award                              
            Edwardian Inn, Helena
            *Lake Poinsett State Park, Harrisburg
            Paragould Community Center, Paragould
3.         Entrepreneur Award                                                  
                        ASU Farmers’ Market, Jonesboro
            E. J. Miller, Colton’s Steak House, Marion
           *Periwinkle Place, McGehee
4.         Tourism Support Award                     
            Brianne Connelly, Lake Village
           *Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas, Little Rock
           Scott Lane, Dermott
5.         Festival/Event of the Year 
                        Blues on Broadway, West Memphis
                        Loose Caboose XXI, Paragould           
                       *Tour duh Sunken Lands Harvest Ride, Dyess, Lepanto, Marked Tree and Tyronza
6.         Boot Strap Award                                                       
                        Dyess Days, Dyess
                       *Main Street Paragould’s Holiday Traditions, Paragould
            McGehee Historic Depot, McGehee

7.         Promotional Award                
            Arkansas DeltaMade Artists – Betsy Brackin, Norwood Creech, Suzanne Churchill,
                 Edward Wade and Nancy LaFarra Wilson, All Counties
           *City Branding Programs, Blytheville, Helena, Paragould and West Memphis
           Bike Crowley’s Ridge, Mississippi River Trail
8.         Outstanding Member Award
                        Linda Hinton, Tyronza
           *Sheilla Lampkin, Monticello
           Vicki Trimble, Lake Frierson State Park, Jonesboro
9.         Cultural Heritage Award                   
            *Exploring the Arkansas Frontier, ASU Museum, Jonesboro
            Civil War Helena, Phillips Helena
            Parker Pioneer Homestead, Harrisburg        
10.       Tourism Person of the Year Award   
           *JoAnne Bush, Lake Village
            Rosalind O’Neal, Marion
            Munnie Jordan, Helena

Lakeport’s Floor Cloth — Another Discovery

The ca. 1860 floor cloth was one of the most exciting finds during Lakeport’s restoration.  
The wall to wall (15’ x 9” x 26’ 2”) floor cloth (or oil cloth) was rediscovered in the entry room during restoration, having been previously documented by the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program in the 1970s.  Canvas floor cloths were often painted to give them the look of carpet, but with increased durability.  The floral and medallion composition of the design conforms to known woven carpet patterns of the period.
Conserved sections of Lakeport floor cloth
     The two sections displayed have been cleaned and conserved by Becky Witsell’s Studio Werk in Little Rock.  Analysis revealed the cloth, painted with fourteen colors, is “composed of Bast fibers which are linen, flax, hemp or jute.”  

     Additionally, two labels were discovered underneath the floor cloth, which also transposed on the flooring.  In the southeast corner a shipping label states, “L. L. Johnson, Lakeport, Ark.”  While at the threshold to the entry of the home, a worn dealer’s mark partially reads, “Fr[om] Hi[?], Louisville, KY.”

Shipping Label, Southeast Corner

Negative image of Lakeport entry threshold shows some of the dealer’s label.
     The worn dealer’s label has always been a source of frustration.  The fact that it read Louisville, KY is interesting, because the Johnson’s are from Kentucky and other materials for the house are also coming from that area–Wallace & Lithgow Stove, as well as the mantels (Madison, Indiana).  But we have always wanted to know who “Hi[?]” was.  Well, thanks to a little bit of historical research, we can, with some certainty, say that the importer of the floor cloth was the firm of “Hite & Small” in Louisiville, KY.  

From the entry floor we can make out the “Fr[om] … Hi[?]…Louisville, Ky”.  

From knowing that, we looked in the 1859 Hawes’ Kentucky State Gazetteer and Business Directory on microfilm and found “Hite & Small” under “Hi”.

Since they are importers, the floor cloth could very well be made somewhere else [There were floor cloth makers in Kentucky in the mid-19th century].

There is also an 1859 City Directory online (difficult to search thru, though).  There, we find Hite’s and Small’s full names (William C. Hite and George W. Small)

Hite seems to show up in the 1860 Census as a 37 year old, Engineer born in Ireland with $800 real estate, $200 personal estate.  (not so sure about it though).   While, Small is a 45 year old, Kentucky born Merchant worth $40,000 real estate, $30,000 personal estate.
Hite & Small advertisement, Louisville Daily Journal, Feb 1, 1859