Archive for September, 2020

Rex’s Rankings: After five weeks

Monday, September 28th, 2020

Last week wasn’t a good one in high school football as far as avoiding the virus. There were 15 games canceled across the state.

We all knew this 2020 season was going to be an adventure. The encouraging thing has been the willingness of schools to schedule games on the fly. It has already given us nonconference matchups we wouldn’t normally see.

The Big Three continued to impress.

No. 1 Bryant and No. 2 North Little Rock won by identical 48-7 scores as Bryant beat Fort Smith Northside and North Little Rock beat Little Rock Central.

No. 3. Bentonville also had an easy victory, 45-6 over Springdale Har-Ber.

Here are the updated rankings as we continue to muddle through this season like none before:

OVERALL

  1. Bryant
  2. North Little Rock
  3. Bentonville
  4. Pulaski Academy
  5. Greenwood
  6. Cabot
  7. Little Rock Parkview
  8. Lake Hamilton
  9. Wynne
  10. Joe T. Robinson

CLASS 7A

  1. Bryant
  2. North Little Rock
  3. Bentonville
  4. Cabot
  5. Conway

CLASS 6A

  1. Greenwood
  2. Little Rock Parkview
  3. Lake Hamilton
  4. Siloam Springs
  5. Van Buren

CLASS 5A

  1. Pulaski Academy
  2. Wynne
  3. Little Rock Christian
  4. Texarkana
  5. Magnolia

CLASS 4A

  1. Joe T. Robinson
  2. Shiloh Christian
  3. Arkadelphia
  4. Nashville
  5. Crossett

CLASS 3A

  1. Harding Academy
  2. Prescott
  3. Hoxie
  4. Newport
  5. Booneville

CLASS 2A

  1. Fordyce
  2. Gurdon
  3. Junction City
  4. Des Arc
  5. Poyen

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Visiting historic Arkadelphia

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2020

TENTH IN A SERIES

Few places in Arkansas have a richer history than the old river town of Arkadelphia. And it still boasts a number of historic buildings and homes that make it well worth a visit for those interested in history.

In a little book called “Visit Historic Arkadelphia,” authors Dave Ozmun, Ray Granade, Laverne Todd and Shirley Graham wrote: “Serving as Clark County’s seat of government since 1842, Arkadelphia has offered the surrounding countryside a farm market and trading center, thanks to reliable transportation, first by water, then rail and later roads and interstate highways. From its perch adjacent to the Ouachita River at the edge of the Ouachita Mountains, Arkadelphia has enjoyed a history of light industry, agriculture and manufacturing. Today there are also recreational opportunities offered by the Ouachita and Caddo rivers and the Caddo’s impoundment, DeGray Lake.

“Arkadelphia’s most enduring asset may be its commitment to education. Of the five colleges founded in the community between 1885 and 1895, two continue to thrive in Arkadelphia while the others moved to Little Rock. At one time, local newspapers called this the City of Colleges and occasionally the Athens of Arkansas. Yet the history of Arkadelphia reaches further back, to America’s earliest days. From prehistoric times to the 1700s, when they migrated south into eastern Texas and northwestern Louisiana, this area was home to the Caddo Indians.”

Many call the salt works operated by John Hemphill in the early 1800s the first industry in Arkansas.

“Following the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, the area around what became Arkadelphia was administered first as part of the Louisiana Territory then, when Louisiana became a state in 1812, as part of the Missouri Territory,” the authors write. “While administered under the Missouri Territory, the local area was designated as Clark County in 1818. After Missouri achieved statehood in 1819, Arkansas became a territory in its own right, then a state in 1836. In 1804, President Thomas Jefferson commissioned an expedition, headed by William Dunbar and George Hunter, to map the southern part of the Louisiana Purchase. Their trip up the Arkansas River would coincide with the Lewis and Clark trip up the Missouri River.

“When trouble with the Osage Indians canceled their plan, Dunbar convinced Jefferson that an expedition up the Ouachita River as far as Hot Springs would be beneficial. It became the first river explored by Americans following the Louisiana Purchase. As he reached the bluff on which Arkadelphia now sits, Dunbar chose to call the area the Great Glaze. About 1808, Adam Blakely opened a blacksmith shop on what’s now Caddo Street near the Ouachita River. That was the beginning of a town.”

One of the most historic buildings still standing in Arkadelphia is the Clark County Courthouse, designed by noted Arkansas architect Charles Thompson and built in 1899.

According to “Visit Historic Arkadelphia”: “For public buildings, Thompson favored Romanesque style, as evidenced by the courthouse and the public library in Arkadelphia and by buildings in El Dorado, Prescott and Hope. The six-story clock tower holds a 600-pound clock. The whole structure was erected using local materials — bricks from Clark County earth and granite quarried near the Caddo River just north of town. Three county courthouses have been located on this site since Arkadelphia succeeded Greenville as the county seat in 1842. This one succeeded a squarish wooden building that had replaced the original log structure.

“During the late 1980s and through the 1990s, some county officials hoped to demolish this courthouse and replace it with a more modern one. The March 1, 1997, tornado, which destroyed or damaged much of the town, damaged the courthouse. Determined efforts by local residents, combined with grants and federal money, led to its restoration.”

Just across the street from the courthouse stands the building that housed the law offices of Harris Flanagin, the Confederate governor of Arkansas. The building at 320 Clay St. was finished in 1858 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in December 1977.

“The building was constructed in several phases,” writes historian David Sesser of Henderson State University. “The front portion was constructed by law partner J.L. Witherspoon. J.H. O’Baugh, a lock brick maker, provided the bricks for the first phase of construction and possibly built the office. The bricks were received in 1855, and construction of the building was finished by 1858. The original design was two rooms with a front porch. Each room had a single door that opened onto the porch, but the rooms weren’t connected by a passageway. Each room also contained a fireplace and chimney.

“At the end of the war, Flanagin and Witherspoon returned to Clark County and resumed their law practice. Sometime during this period, Flanagin purchased the office from Witherspoon. In 1874, Flanagin was selected to represent Clark County at a constitutional convention but became ill during the proceedings, dying in Arkadelphia on Oct. 23. After Flanagin’s death, the office passed to his son Duncan. A section of rooms constructed from wood was added to the rear of the property, and a door connecting the two original rooms was installed. The property was rented as private housing until 1903 when Duncan Flanagin sold the building to Judge J.H. Crawford.”

Crawford used the building until his death in 1930. It was used by his son, Dwight Crawford, as a law office until his death in 1968. In 1974, the office was sold to attorney Bob Sanders.

Harris Flanagin had been born in New Jersey in November 1817. His father was a cabinetmaker who had come from Ireland in 1765. Flanagin was educated in a Quaker school and became a math professor at a seminary in Pennsylvania when he was just 18. He later opened a private school in Illinois.

Writing in the book “Arkansas Biography: A Collection of Notable Lives,” historian Michael Dougan of Jonesboro says: “Armed only with a letter certifying him to be a ‘gentleman well educated and possessing a good moral character,’ Flanagin moved to Arkansas in 1839, settling at Greenville in Clark County before relocating to Arkadelphia, where he established his law office on the courthouse square. His primary interest seems to have been speculating in land with an old Pennsylvania friend, Benjamin Duncan, who served as Clark County sheriff in the 1840s. A Whig in politics, Flanagin was elected to the Fourth General Assembly in 1842, serving in the House for one term.

“Although he volunteered for the Mexican War, his company seems not to have completed its organization. In 1847, he was elected captain of a militia company. In 1848, Flanagin won a spirited contest against Democrat Hawes H. Coleman for the office of state senator. Again, he served only one term. After the collapse of the Whig Party in the 1850s, his political activity was reportedly limited to serving as an Arkadelphia city alderman. Flanagin married Martha Elizabeth Nash of Hempstead County on July 3, 1851. Flanagin had been raised a Baptist, but after he married, he attended the Presbyterian church with his wife, becoming known locally as a ‘trunk Baptist.'”

In 1861, Flanagin was elected to attend the Arkansas Secession Convention.

“A reluctant secessionist, he was highly regarded by the former Unionists and left the convention after the passage of the ordinance of secession on May 6 to accept the captaincy of Company E of the Second Arkansas Mounted Rifles,” Dougan writes. “He participated in actions at Wilson’s Creek and Pea Ridge. After the death of Col. James McIntosh and the reorganization of the regiment, Flanagin was elected colonel. During the summer of 1862, Flanagin was serving in the Army of Tennessee when his name was put forth as a gubernatorial candidate in a public letter by a strong coalition of ex-Unionists (mostly ex-Whigs) and Democrats who wished to supplant the highly unpopular incumbent, Henry Massie Rector, whose most recent action had been to issue a proclamation threatening to secede from the Confederacy.

“The Constitution of 1861 had contrived to shorten Rector’s term by scheduling a gubernatorial election for the fall of 1862. During these months, Flanagin kept a small diary but made no reference to his candidacy, thus leading some writers to the erroneous conclusion that he had no knowledge of his nomination at the time of his election. However, private correspondence from Arkansans in the Army of Tennessee reveals that the men were aware of his nomination and anxious for his success. His friends in Arkansas did all the campaigning for him. A pro-Rector paper tried to stir up anti-Irish sentiment by claiming the challenger’s last name was O’Flanagin, but the colonel outpolled Rector by more than a two-to-one margin.”

Flanagin was sworn in on Nov. 15, 1862.

“Flanagin called on the Legislature for laws to help people cope with shortages of salt, aid impoverished solders’ families and stop profiteering and liquor production,” Dougan writes. “Some laws were passed, but Flanagin took a passive attitude toward executive responsibilities and failed to offer effective leadership. A Baptist minister reported that he had heard it said ‘your governor loves whiskey too well to get him to stop still houses.’ In contrast to many Southern governors, he didn’t oppose the imposition by Confederate authorities of conscription or endorse an extreme states’ rights position.

“Flanagin worked to get Confederate authorities to take seriously the defense of Arkansas, and he accompanied the Confederate Army on its futile assault on the Union-held port of Helena in 1863. He also made two efforts to raise state troops for defense. After the fall of Arkansas Post in January 1863, he called for volunteers to serve for 60 days. Since the Federals didn’t follow up their victory, there was no need. In any case, the state had no weapons with which to arm the men. In August, when a Federal column began marching on the capital, Flanagin formed a company of old men, which he led himself. Since the Confederates failed to make a serious effort to defend the capital, the Union Army captured Little Rock on Sept. 10, 1863.”

State officials fled south, taking state records with them. Flanagin went home to Arkadelphia for about a month until Confederate authorities convinced him to re-establish a state government at Washington in Hempstead County. The Legislature met at Washington in 1864.

“Thanks to judicial decisions authored by new state Supreme Court Justice Albert Pike, this ‘rump’ government was granted legal standing for its operations,” Dougan writes. “One more brief flight to Rondo (now in Miller County but probably in Lafayette then) took place in 1864 when it appeared that Union Gen. Frederick Steele would capture Washington. Steele, however, went to Camden instead, and the Confederates returned to their temporary capital. Affairs in the Trans-Mississippi were in great disorder once the fall of Vicksburg left this section largely responsible for its own defense. Flanagin failed to attend the first Trans-Mississippi Department governors’ conference, made limited use of his executive powers and did little to retard the rising peace sentiment among the masses.

“Morale-building public speeches and aggressive executive actions were lacking. However, with most of the state either a no-man’s land or in the hands of Union forces, tax collections stopped, and with it the state’s source of revenue. Flanagin’s most energetic act was his rejection of a Confederate enrolling officer’s attempt to draft the clerk of the state Supreme Court. The most important effort to sustain the war was supplying the Washington Telegraph with newsprint, but this was undertaken by Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith and not by Flanagin. The governor’s wartime correspondence contained letters from friends who apparently shared his belief that the war was lost. When criticized by his inactivity, he responded that he would never act ‘without or contrary to law.'”

Unionists in Arkansas had written a new constitution and installed Isaac Murphy as governor in 1864. After the war, Flanagin returned the state archives and retired to Arkadelphia to resume his law practice.

“His correspondence indicates he opposed violence and took the same high legal and moral tone that had marked his gubernatorial career,” Dougan writes. “In 1872, he was selected as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention. After the Brooks-Baxter War, he was elected to the state convention that wrote the Constitution of 1874, serving as chairman of the Judiciary Committee. He was even spoken of as a possible gubernatorial candidate. He died, probably from congestive heart failure, before final ratification. But he had signed an early draft.”

Flanagin is buried in Arkadelphia’s historic Rose Hill Cemetery. His reputation was that of a man who took direct action once he had made up is mind.

The authors of “Visit Historic Arkadelphia” tell one story along those lines: “At age 34, the still-unmarried man didn’t seem interested in romance, but a friend told him one day that he knew just the right girl for him. A few days later, Flanagin appeared at the home of Phinias Nash in Washington and told Nash that he had come to court and possibly marry his daughter. He was invited to stay for dinner and afterward talked with the young lady. The next morning, he returned to Arkadelphia. Three weeks later, Flanagin returned to Washington, and he and Martha were married.”

The authors note that Rose Hill originated “when a child of Benjamin Maddox died in 1852 and was buried in the family’s back yard. After other family members died and were buried there, friends requested and were granted the same privilege in what came to be known as the Maddox burying ground. Almost 20 years later, the city bought the property for a municipal graveyard and named it Rose Hill in 1880. Alice McNutt donated the rock fence surrounding the cemetery.”

The cemetery has graves that date to the 1850s. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1999.

“The first public cemetery in Arkadelphia was established shortly after the town was settled,” Sesser writes. “It was named the Blakely Graveyard for an early name of the settlement. The graveyard was closed by the city board to future interments in 1869. Several graves from the Blakely Graveyard were moved to the new cemetery after it opened, including the bodies of several Confederate soldiers who died during the Civil War. Rose Hill Cemetery, which fronts Main Street, covers about 12 acres.

“The eastern boundary of the cemetery is South 12th Street, and the western boundary of the cemetery abuts another cemetery. The southern boundary is adjacent to private property. The land slopes down from the front of the cemetery with concrete retaining walls used to prevent erosion. The oldest graves are in the northern section with newer graves to the south and west. There’s a small gazebo in the cemetery, and several small sheds are used to house maintenance equipment. A black wrought-iron fence runs in front of the property, and an iron sign displaying the name of the cemetery is located slightly to the east of the front entrance. … A dirt road leads into the center of the cemetery from the front entrance, and a number of magnolia, cedar and other types of trees are located in the older section.”

The cemetery, which makes a nice place for a walk for those interested in Arkansas history, contains more than 3,100 graves. About 1,800 of the interments were made between the 1850s and 1940s. There are few burials there these days.

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Rex’s Rankings: After four weeks

Monday, September 21st, 2020

Last Friday was a good one for Arkansas schools against out-of-state teams.

Arkansas squads went 7-1, including No. 1 Bryant’s thrilling 44-40 victory over Texas powerhouse Trinity Christian.

Pulaski Academy, our No. 4 team overall, defeated Life Christian Academy, which made the long trip from Virginia to play in Little Rock.

No. 5 Greenwood defeated Choctaw, Okla, 23-12, while No. 3 Bentonville posted a 35-28 victory over Mill Valley of Kansas. That team won a state championship last year.

Other wins were Rogers over Springfield Central of Missouri, Fort Smith Northside over Moore of Oklahoma and Prairie Grove over Stilwell of Oklahoma.

The lone loss was Shiloh Christian, and that was a one-point defeat at the hands of a much larger school, Sand Springs of Oklahoma. Still, we dropped Shiloh from No. 1 to No. 2 in Class 4A

Here are the updated rankings as we head into conference play:

OVERALL

  1. Bryant
  2. North Little Rock
  3. Bentonville
  4. Pulaski Academy
  5. Greenwood
  6. Cabot
  7. Bentonville West
  8. Little Rock Parkview
  9. Lake Hamilton
  10. Wynne

CLASS 7A

  1. Bryant
  2. North Little Rock
  3. Bentonville
  4. Cabot
  5. Bentonville West

CLASS 6A

  1. Greenwood
  2. Little Rock Parkview
  3. Lake Hamilton
  4. Van Buren
  5. Siloam Springs

CLASS 5A

  1. Pulaski Academy
  2. Wynne
  3. Little Rock Christian
  4. Texarkana
  5. Magnolia

CLASS 4A

  1. Joe T. Robinson
  2. Shiloh Christian
  3. Arkadelphia
  4. Nashville
  5. Crossett

CLASS 3A

  1. Harding Academy
  2. Prescott
  3. Hoxie
  4. Newport
  5. Booneville

CLASS 2A

  1. Fordyce
  2. Gurdon
  3. Junction City
  4. Des Arc
  5. Poyen

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The old river town

Monday, September 14th, 2020

NINTH IN A SERIES

I’ve always liked river towns.

I’m not talking about those towns with a small stream flowing through the city limits. No, I’m talking about places with rivers large enough so a steamboat could dock; towns that owe their existence to the river; towns with ornate old houses whose original owners had the furnishings shipped up from New Orleans or down from St. Louis.

Helena on the Mississippi River, with its rich history and cultural mix, has always fascinated me despite decades of economic decline.

Like Helena, Arkansas City once was on the banks of the Mississippi, but Old Man River moved, as rivers are wont to do.

Other cities on the eastern edge of the state — places such as Blytheville, Osceola, West Memphis and Lake Village — tend to sit back a bit from its banks to avoid the floods.

My mother hailed from a river town, Des Arc on the White River. I was raised in a river town, Arkadelphia on the Ouachita River. Though railroads replaced rivers as the major transportation corridors beginning in the late 1880s, there remains a certain vibe to a river town that can’t be found elsewhere.

“It’s believed that Clark County pioneer Jacob Barkman was the first to bring a steamboat up the river past what’s now Arkadelphia,” writes noted Arkansas historian Wendy Richter. “Barkman lived near the confluence of the Caddo and Ouachita rivers and used the water for trips to New Orleans. Barkman first traded with merchants to the south by means of pirogues, or large dugout canoes, but when his business began to grow, he needed larger and faster boats. So he built a boat he called The Dime. The Dime was said to be a nice boat, and it made regular trips up and down the river before it eventually sank.”

In later years, much bigger boats could be found on the Ouachita with names such as Arkadelphia City, Susie B. and Jo Jacques.

“The Rock City once met with difficulties a few miles below Arkadelphia,” Richter writes. “The boat was apparently long and large for the river, and it lacked the power to successfully navigate the rapid and winding current of the upper Ouachita. Loaded with cotton and passengers, the boat failed to make a turn and ended up broadside to an island, in danger of being broken to pieces. Several men drowned attempting to free the trapped vessel. It is believed the boat finally made it to safety.

“Steamboats continued to travel the river even after the Civil War. In 1873, a man who lived between Arkadelphia and Rockport built a boat and took it down the river. Because of construction on a railroad bridge at Arkadelphia, he could go no further. So he sued the railroad for obstruction of navigation on the river, claiming damages in the amount of $10,000. Indeed the railroad’s construction in the 1870s marked the beginning of a new era in transportation in Arkansas and the gradual demise of the steamboat.”

In my files is a little book titled “Visit Historic Arkadelphia” that was written by Dave Ozmum, Ray Granade, Laverne Todd and Shirley Graham. They do an excellent job of outlining the city’s colorful history and the river’s key place in that history.

“Some of the earliest people moving up and down the river were trappers,” they write. “By the 1800s, a steamboat landing welcomed The Dime, Will S. Hays, Rob Roy, Lightwood and other boats to dock. Today an Arkansas Game & Fish Commission boat ramp lies just across the Ouachita River from that spot. The first bridge spanning the Ouachita near Arkadelphia was built in 1903. It replaced the ferry that docked just downstream from where the bridge met the bluff, and locals referred to it simply as ‘the free bridge.’ That initial structure was replaced with a new one in 1959. Today, the old ferry dock has been replaced by the Ouachita River Park. Designed by Twin Rivers Architects of Arkadelphia, it has become the site of special public events as well as picnics and family gatherings.

“By the mid-19th century, Arkadelphia had developed into an important river port, connecting the area to the Mississippi River, New Orleans and the world beyond. With the arrival of the Cairo & Fulton Railroad in 1873, Arkadelphia became one of the principal transportation hubs in southwest Arkansas. After the merger of the St. Louis, Iron Mountain & Southern lines that ran between Missouri and Texas, the present depot was built in 1917. The depot is of Italianate-Mediterranean design, one used all over the Southwest by the Missouri-Pacific Railroad. After many years of popularity, rail travel declined and the depot closed in 1971. It reopened 32 years later as a museum.”

Near the depot was the Arkadelphia Milling Co, which was begun by three brothers in 1898 and grew into one of the state’s largest industries.

According to the authors of “Visit Historic Arkadelphia”: “The mill operated 24 hours a day producing flour, meal, stock feed and staves. At the peak of production, 300 men were employed, and its products were shipped to 12 countries and 28 states. Its slogan ‘we never sleep’ was known in nearly every part of the world. The mill purchased large quantities of grain that were shipped to Arkadelphia by train. As one of Missouri-Pacific’s biggest customers, it secured a special rate for shipping grain from Kansas City. In the early 1900s, the railroad dramatically increased the tariff, making a hardship on the mill.

“H.W. McMillan, attorney for the mill, began searching for ways to get the tariff reduced. During his investigation, McMillan learned that drawbridges were required on navigable river railroad crossings. Since the Ouachita was navigable only part of each year, a trestle bridge had been constructed across the river. In hopes of getting the tariff reduced, McMillan gave Capt. Flave J. Carpenter $5,000 and told him to go to New Orleans. A few weeks later, Carpenter began his trip from his dock just north of the bridge and proceeded down the river. Carpenter stopped short of the railway trestle and began wildly sounding his horn. When asked why the horn was blowing, his reply was that he was waiting for the drawbridge to be raised.”

The agent at the depot sent a telegraph to his supervisors in Little Rock. Later that day, a train with three engines and only one coach pulled into the station. It was carrying the division superintendent, the division freight agent, the division passenger agent and three lawyers.

The authors write: “It took less than 10 minutes to reduce the tariff, and the train headed back to Little Rock. The horn ceased to blow, and Carpenter continued his trip to New Orleans. Following the compromise between the mill and the railway, the mill continued a flourishing business until it succumbed to the Great Depression in the 1930s. The silos that still stand near the depot bear mute witness to its former existence.”

Arkadelphia remains filled with beautiful old homes. Two of them, the Barkman House and the Henderson House, are just across U.S. Highway 67 from each other. Both houses are owned by Henderson State University.

The Barkman House was built in 1860 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. It was built by James Barkman.

“James Barkman was the son of Jacob Barkman and Rebecca Davis Barkman, who settled along the Caddo River in 1811,” writes Henderson historian David Sesser. “One of the earliest settlers in what became Clark County, Jacob Barkman owned a variety of businesses and worked as a planter. James Barkman was born in 1819 and followed his father into farming. The younger Barkman was successful and quickly accumulated wealth. In the 1860 census, the family of James Barkman included his wife Harriet, four daughters and one son. Barkman also owned 28 slaves. Eventually, James and Harriet had another daughter along with another son, Walter Eugene, who was born in the house and lived in it until his death in 1959.

“James Barkman began construction of the home on what was then the northwestern side of Arkadelphia before the start of the Civil War. The foundation and five chimneys are constructed of stuccoed brick. The house consists of a center hall with rooms on either side, with two wings at the rear. The first floor has four rooms along the central hall with two additional rooms in the south rear wing. The other wing contains modern facilities. With a hip roof and a chimney at each end, the building has a two-story facade across its front. The staircase in the house is rear facing, and both Greek and Gothic details are visible throughout the building.”

The house was sold to what was then Henderson State Teachers College in 1968 for $65,000. Archeological excavations took place on the grounds in 1990 and 1993.

According to “Visit Historic Arkadelphia”: “Local legend reports that piles of lumber were taken from the front yard to build fortifications and that Union troops occupied it for a month. … The mirror in the hallway is original to the house.”

The Henderson House was built by Charles C. Henderson, the man for whom HSU is named.

“Marrying in San Antonio in 1880, Henderson and his wife returned to Arkadelphia, where they began to purchase a number of houses and plots of land,” Sesser writes. “On July 16, 1892, Henderson bought a plot at the corner of present-day 10th and Henderson streets, directly opposite the campus of Arkadelphia Methodist College (now HSU), where he had been named to the board of trustees the previous year. Two small cottages built in 1876 on the property faced the campus. Henderson and his family lived in one of these homes for several years before the family moved to Ruston, La. Returning to Arkadelphia in 1903, Henderson moved one cottage to a new location and began an extensive expansion project on the second cottage.

“During the next several years, Henderson added a wraparound porch with a balustrade on the front of the home. The porch curves around a two-story turret and has a portico with six columns. The interior of the house is lavishly adorned with fretwork. Two parlors are located on the first floor, each with large fireplaces. Numerous other common rooms are located on the first floor, along with a heavily detailed staircase to the second floor. The staircase opens on the second floor into a square hallway that leads to numerous small rooms.”

“Visit Historic Arkadelphia” calls the Henderson House “a fine example of how successive owners can adapt a structure to changing needs and architectural tastes. Henderson, a former cattle broker with the St. Louis Livestock Commission, had bought the property from H.B. Stuart for $2,500 and then remodeled it over eight years at a cost of $5,000 into a 30-room Victorian mansion that he simply called ‘the big house.’ The exterior mixes Queen Anne-style with round turrets and a variety of window styles. The interior is said to have the state’s best fretwork. A later owner added the columns in the 1920s to give it a neoclassical look.”

Just four years after completing the house, Henderson moved to El Paso, Texas. He sold the house in 1911 to T.N. Wilson, who in turn sold it to Claude Phillips in 1918. The university bought the house in 1978 and operated a museum in the home until the 1990s. Following an extensive renovation in 1999, it became a bed-and-breakfast inn. It continues to operate as one of the best B&Bs in the South.

Another of the beautiful old homes in Arkadelphia is Magnolia Manor, which was built by John B. McDaniel from 1854-57. The house was several miles west of Arkadelphia when it was constructed but is now in the city limits. McDaniel journeyed to New Orleans and brought back two seedling magnolia trees to plant in front of the house. One of the trees still stands.

“The name of the home comes from the massive magnolia tree in the yard that was planted by McDaniel shortly after the home was constructed,” Sesser writes. “The house was added to the National Register of Historic Places in September 1972. McDaniel was born on May 5, 1811, in Marlboro County, S.C. He married Mary Ann Thomas on June 14, 1836, and the couple eventually had five children. McDaniel owned a plantation in South Carolina but sold it in 1850 to move to Arkansas. Purchasing 80 acres in Clark County, McDaniel began construction on the house in 1854. By 1860, the family owned at least 320 acres.

“Madison Griffin, a mason from South Carolina, supervised construction of the house. A group of slaves owned by McDaniel completed construction. The bricks were made on site, and the lumber was from nearby trees. The foundation of the house is brick, and the walls are wood-frame construction. Wooden siding covers the house, typical of the Greek Revival style. The exterior of the house is white. Other Greek Revival characteristics include the corner boards, the entrance architraves, the flanking pilasters and the window surrounds. The roof of the two-story home has an overhang of two feet and is supported by scrollwork brackets.”

The house has three chimneys. Each chimney is connected to two fireplaces. The parlor, dining room, den and three bedrooms all have fireplaces.

“Mary Ann McDaniel died in 1883, and John B. McDaniel died in 1889,” Sesser writes. “Both are buried in Rose Hill Cemetery in Arkadelphia. They sold the house in 1877 to Annie Hoskins, and she lived there with her husband T.C. until they sold it to the son of the original owner in 1906. The daughter of John R. McDaniel and Kate McDaniel — Anne Stark McDaniel — lived in the house with her husband Benjamin Foster, a professor at Henderson. After his wife’s death, John R. McDaniel lived with his daughter and son-in-law until his death in 1918.”

State Sen. Fletcher McElhannon and his wife May purchased Magnolia Manor from the Fosters in 1929 and restored it in 1932-33. A garage with a bedroom above and a new porch were added. Another porch was enclosed, and two bathrooms were added. After May McElhannon’s death, the home was purchased by state Sen. Olen Hendrix, who did additional renovation work.

Another of the fine old homes in Arkadelphia is the Greek Revival-style Habicht-Cohn-Crow House, which was constructed by Anthony Habicht in 1870. Habicht was born in New York, the son of German immigrants. He came to Arkadelphia after the Civil War to work for the Freedmen’s Bureau and had a house built based on one he had seen in Natchez, Miss.

Habicht sold the home to Mark Matthias Cohn, the founder of what would become the M.M. Cohn chain of department stores. The Polish immigrant later moved his store to Little Rock. Some stories say it was because Arkadelphia civic leaders wouldn’t let him sell liquor in the mercantile store. The house was sold to real estate agent A.M. Crow and remained in the Crow family until 1932.

“Habicht resided in Arkadelphia for five years before moving to Texas, where he worked as a notary, in insurance and in banking,” Sesser writes. “He died in Austin in 1891. The east-facing house is located on a corner lot in downtown Arkadelphia and is surrounded by large magnolia and oak trees. The home was constructed by a Mennonite carpenter named Gebhardt. The home is designed in a T shape. It is fronted by a wide wood front porch with four evenly spaced columns. The porch is accessed by a set of wooden steps with banisters. The house is entered through double front doors that are covered with screen doors. The doors are flanked by sidelights and topped with a transom.”

William Gerig bought the house from the Crow family in 1932. It passed to his daughter, Mildred Gerig Newberry, in 1937. Following her death in 1971, the house went to her daughter, Emily Peterson. The house was sold several more times and is now occupied by an insurance company.

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Rex’s Rankings: After three weeks

Monday, September 14th, 2020

We’re three weeks into the regular season.

Some games continue to be canceled each week due to the virus, but overall the experiment (playing this 2020 season as scheduled) is working for now.

Bryant had last Friday off but remains atop our poll.

Right on the heels of the Hornets, though, is North Little Rock, which posted a 35-17 victory over Fayetteville.

At No. 3 is Bentonville, which made Arkansas look good with a 21-17 victory over Kansas City Rockhurst.

Also making Arkansas look good was Pulaski Academy, a 37-29 winner over Ravenwood in Tennessee. PA is No. 4.

Here are the updated rankings:

OVERALL

  1. Bryant
  2. North Little Rock
  3. Bentonville
  4. Pulaski Academy
  5. Greenwood
  6. Cabot
  7. Bentonville West
  8. Little Rock Parkview
  9. Shiloh Christian
  10. Benton

CLASS 7A

  1. Bryant
  2. North Little Rock
  3. Bentonville
  4. Cabot
  5. Bentonville West

CLASS 6A

  1. Greenwood
  2. Little Rock Parkview
  3. Benton
  4. Lake Hamilton
  5. Van Buren

CLASS 5A

  1. Pulaski Academy
  2. Wynne
  3. Little Rock Christian
  4. Texarkana
  5. Magnolia

CLASS 4A

  1. Shiloh Christian
  2. Joe T. Robinson
  3. Arkadelphia
  4. Nashville
  5. Crossett

CLASS 3A

  1. Harding Academy
  2. Prescott
  3. Hoxie
  4. Newport
  5. Booneville

CLASS 2A

  1. Fordyce
  2. Gurdon
  3. Junction City
  4. Des Arc
  5. Poyen

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Rex’s Rankings: After two weeks

Tuesday, September 8th, 2020

We’ve made it through two of the 11 weeks on the regular-season schedule in this strangest of all years. We continue to watch the virus numbers on a week-to-week basis and hope for a full season.

There were no shocking upsets last week.

Bryant was as impressive as ever in a 57-17 victory over Marion.

North Little Rock began the J.R. Eldridge era with a 41-28 victory over Springdale Har-Ber.

The Chris Young era at Greenwood, meanwhile, began with a 42-3 victory over Fort Smith Southside.

Coaching changes don’t seem to have slowed down either North Little Rock or Greenwood.

Here are the rankings after two weeks of the regular season:

OVERALL

  1. Bryant
  2. North Little Rock
  3. Bentonville
  4. Pulaski Academy
  5. Greenwood
  6. Cabot
  7. Bentonville West
  8. Little Rock Christian
  9. Little Rock Parkview
  10. Shiloh Christian

CLASS 7A

  1. Bryant
  2. North Little Rock
  3. Bentonville
  4. Cabot
  5. Bentonville West

CLASS 6A

  1. Greenwood
  2. Little Rock Parkview
  3. Van Buren
  4. Lake Hamilton
  5. Jonesboro

CLASS 5A

  1. Pulaski Academy
  2. Little Rock Christian
  3. Harrison
  4. Wynne
  5. Texarkana

CLASS 4A

  1. Shiloh Christian
  2. Joe T. Robinson
  3. Arkadelphia
  4. Nashville
  5. Crossett

CLASS 3A

  1. Harding Academy
  2. Prescott
  3. Hoxie
  4. Newport
  5. Booneville

CLASS 2A

  1. Fordyce
  2. Gurdon
  3. Magnet Cove
  4. Junction City
  5. Des Arc

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