These historic places “matter”


During the month of May, the Washington County Historical Society will place 31 signs at various important historic sites in Washington County as part of National Preservation Month.

Locally, Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park will have signage as well as the Airlight outdoor phone booth across from Battlefield Park in Prairie Grove.

There will also be signs about historic properties in Cane Hill, the 1828 Morrow Homestead in Morrow and other points of interest in the county, according to Maylon Rice, chair of a National Preservation Month subcommittee. for the Washington County Historical Society.

“With over 160 historic sites in Washington County, we’re starting with one for each day in May,” Rice said.

The Washington County Historical Society‘s Facebook page will feature a different site and a photograph of that site, along with “This Place Matters” signs, each day of the month.

“We invite the public to visit these sites and take selfies as part of the celebration,” Rice said.

A list of sites also includes bridges, cemeteries, homes, public buildings and structures throughout Washington County.

The Historical Society, in cooperation with the City of Fayetteville, will recognize the Ridge House at 230 W. Center Street in Fayetteville in a ceremony at 11 a.m. on Friday, May 20. The Society-owned Ridge House is the oldest house in Fayetteville. The house also has Native American history for a school in the early days of Fayetteville.

Fayetteville Mayor Lioneld Jordan will speak at the May 20 ceremony and read a proclamation on Preservation Month. Another speaker will be Rebecca Luebker, a descendant of John Ridge, who purchased the house in 1840. Ridge, a chief of the Cherokee tribe, was murdered after signing a treaty leading to the expulsion of the Cherokees from the state of Georgia. Luebker has letters from a relative when his ancestors occupied the home in pre-statehood Arkansas, and will read them at the ceremony.

The WCHS has owned the house since the early 1970s; it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971.

Each May, local preservation groups, state historical societies, businesses and civic organizations across the country celebrate Preservation Month through events that promote historic places and tourism. heritage and demonstrate the social and economic benefits of historic preservation.

Preservation Month began as National Preservation Week in 1973. In 2005 the National Trust extended the celebration to the whole month of May and declared it Preservation Month to provide an even greater opportunity to celebrate the diverse and unique heritage of cities and states across our country.

The other Washington County spots that will be shown in May are:

– Headquarters house in Fayetteville.

– Yell law firm in Fayetteville.

– Shiloh meeting room in Springdale.

– Elm Springs Cemetery (old section) in Elm Springs.

– Oak Cemetery in Fayetteville.

– St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Tontitown

– Tontitown School in Tontitown.

– Clinton House in Fayetteville

– Evergreen Cemetery in Fayetteville

– Fayetteville Confederate Cemetery.

– Southern Mercantile in Prairie Grove

– Chapel of the Son outside Fayetteville

– Mount Sequoyah Retreat Center Area – Fayetteville

– Walnut Grove Presbyterian Church

– Cemetery of the rear oak

– Savoie Community Center

– Rabbit Feet Pavilion – Springdale

– Stokenbury Cemetery

– Tom Smith House – Elkins

Other sites will be announced during the month of May.

The Washington County Historical Society is a 5-01-c3 organization that depends on its memberships, donations, and gifts. The WCHS receives no local taxes or direct support from city or county governments. The WCHS was established in 1951 and is Arkansas’ oldest continuous county historical society.

The WCHS Flashback newspaper, published four times a year, was selected as the winner of the Arkansas Historical Association’s Walter L. Brown Award for Best County or Local Historical Newspaper for 2021.

MAYLON RICE SPECIAL TO BUSINESS LEADER Prairie Grove Cemetery Association members (LR) Cheryl West, Pam Parks and David Parks stand by the grave of Col. James P. Neal (1820-1896), founder of Prairie Grove. Neal’s headstone is in the historic section of Prairie Grove Cemetery which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2016.


RICE MAYLON SPECIAL TO BUSINESS CHIEF The Prairie Grove Telephone Company’s 1959 Airlight outdoor telephone booth was the first of its kind to be added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2015. The Prairie Grove Telephone Company, or PGTelco, was established in 1888 by Dr. EG McCormick and his brother, Will McCormick. Today, the company is still owned by the family of Dr. McCormick’s great-grandchildren: (LR) David Parks, Karen Parks-Gerwig and Susan Parks-Spencer.

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Patrick F. Williams