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Potts Inn served as stagecoach stopOriginally Published August 11, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
Updated August 9, 2013 at 11:25 a.m.
Folks traveling by stage along the Butterfield Overland Mail Route in the late 1850s to the early 1860s might have found themselves overnight guests at the Potts Inn in Pottsville.
Kirkbride Potts built the two-story antebellum home in the 1850s for his wife, Pamelia Logan, and their family, which would include 11 children. After its completion, the home served as a stop for the stage between Memphis and Fort Smith.
With four large bedrooms upstairs, each containing four beds, the house could accommodate up to 32 guests, said Jessie Van Es, 19, of Pottsville, a summer tour guide for the Potts Inn Museum. The museum includes not only the original house, but also several outbuildings, all located on a large lot in downtown Pottsville. If the inn was filled with guests, the Potts children had to sleep in the attic —no air-conditioning anywhere.
Van Es said the furnishings in all of the rooms are “period correct,” and some are original to the house. During a quick tour of the house, Van Es pointed out the “ladies’ parlor” on the first floor, where the Pottses’ four daughters were married.
“They also held funerals there,” said Van Es, who attends Missouri State University and is the daughter of Kevin and Kellie Van Es. An original family Bible is on display in this room.
Also on the first floor is the “gentlemen’s parlor” that features an original rocking chair; a formal dining room, complete with china similar to Pamelia’s blue and white pattern and walls adorned with paintings by the Pottses’ daughters; and the bedroom of Kirkbride and Pamelia. It is in the bedroom that visitors may see the family’s original baby carriage.
Outside the main house is the kitchen. Kitchens during this time period were separate from the main house because of fear of fire, said Benita Drew, a volunteer at the museum and sister to Pam Scarber, president of the Pope County Historical Foundation, which now operates the museum. Kellie Van Es is secretary of the foundation. Pope County bought the inn, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, from the Potts family in 1970.
While in the kitchen, Jessie Van Es pointed out a small metal bathtub that would have been used by all of the guests traveling by stagecoach. “Guests would have to pay for a bath,” she said. “The tub would be filled only once a day. The first guest paid the most, and had the hottest, cleanest water, while the last guest paid the least.”
Among the out buildings are a doctor’s log cabin, which houses the original medical equipment of Dr. Charles R. Teeter, who served as a doctor in Pottsville from 1904 to 1940; a hat museum, which is said to be one of only two in the
United States and is composed of many hats made by Michael McLean of Clarksville, who moved to New York City and designed hats for royalty and first ladies; and a doll museum that features representations of Arkansas and U.S. first ladies in their inaugural ball gowns.
The original barn, well house and smokehouse are also located on the property.
Also prominent on the museum grounds is a gazebo.
“Lots of people get married in the gazebo and on the front porch of the house,” Drew said. “Plus, we have high school senior classes, prom dates and others come here for photos. This house is important to everybody in town.”
The Potts Inn Museum, 15 E. Ash St in Pottsville, is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and by appointment. Admission is $5 for adults and $2 for children.
For information, call (479) 968-8369, or visit pottsinnmuseum.com.