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story.lead_photo.caption The Noland Blass Jr. House in Little Rock is among 16 properties that will be considered for nomination to the National Register of Historic Places. - Photo by Staton Breidenthal

A Depression-era resettlement community for black farmers in the Delta, an Art Moderne auto parts store in downtown Little Rock and a 1928 milk plant in Rogers are among the 16 properties that will be considered for nomination to the National Register of Historic Places when the State Review Board of the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program meets Dec. 5 in Little Rock.

The Lakeview Resettlement Project was the first project in Arkansas specifically dedicated "to combat the problems of landlessness for black farmers in the rural South and helped to establish a legacy of black land ownership in Phillips County that continues today," according to the draft nomination.

The resettlement project was on the shores of Old Town Lake, 15 miles southwest of Helena. Today, much of this land is part of the city of Lake View.

The area being nominated to the National Register is a contiguous group of farm lots, just under 4,400 acres in size, and includes the vast majority of the originally settled 91 family farms developed for clients within the planned agricultural community of the Lakeview Project, according to the nomination.

"This project highlights the historic importance of the often overlooked history of African-American farmers in the state of Arkansas," said Callie Williams, National Register historian with the state preservation program. "The government programs of the New Deal era helped to create this farming project, but the hard work and dedication of the farming families that lived in the Lakeview community allowed the community to prosper."

Williams said land ownership allowed the community "to thrive for several decades and laid the foundation for the next generation to earn an education and enter various professional fields of study and work."

"All this was very important to a population that was all too often marginalized in the Delta," she said.

The first land purchases to create the Lakeview Project were finalized in 1936, according to the nomination. In addition to farmsteads, the original community had a cotton gin, gas station, machinery repair shop, general store, farm supply service, feed mill and syrup mill.

Mable Washington Bynum, 74, of McAlmont in Pulaski County, spearheaded the effort to get Lakeview on the National Register. Her parents, Frank and Katie Washington, were among the original settlers, and their descendants still own the farm in Lakeview.

Bynum said the house in Lakeview where she grew up still stands. Few of the original project structures remain.

"During the 1930s everyone was struggling to make ends meet in an effort to survive the Great Depression," Bynum said. "The Lakeview Resettlement Project represented Arkansas' first major federal government intervention in a positive, productive manner on behalf of African Americans, then referred to as 'Negroes.'"

"Two other African-American focused resettlement projects were eventually completed in Arkansas: Desha Farms in Desha and Drew counties and Townes Farms in Crittenden County," according to the nomination.

"The only one that survives today is Lakeview," Bynum said.

The Dyess colony in Mississippi County is probably Arkansas' best-known resettlement community, mostly because country-western singer Johnny Cash grew up there. Bynum said Jimmy McCracklin -- a blues musician, singer and songwriter -- lived on one of the Lakeview resettlement farms.

Another nominee, the Winchester Auto Store building, is located in the heart of the commercial core of downtown Little Rock at the corner of 8th and Spring streets. It was constructed in 1947 by Dennis E. and Maude M. Winchester as the Winchester Auto Store.

"The building displays the characteristic features of the Art Moderne style including low, long lines, a flat roof, a rounded corner entry, metal-framed casement windows, and a curved flanking entry windows of glass blocks," according to the nomination. "The utilitarian interior space is composed of large open areas with exposed interior concrete columns."

The Rogers Milk Plant Building at 218 West Birch St. in Rogers was built in 1928.

The three-story main factory building remains mostly unchanged since its construction, according to the nomination. At some point, a metal addition and two outbuildings were constructed.

"The Rogers Milk Plant Building is an example of an early 20th century commercial style building," according to the nomination.

According to a news release from the state preservation program, other properties that will be considered for National Register nomination Dec. 5 include:

• Dr. Eugene Towbin House in Little Rock, a 1960 Mid-Century Modern-style house, built for a noted doctor.

• Noland Blass Jr. House in Little Rock, a 1952 Mid-Century Modern-style house that was the home of a noted architect.

• Ross Building in Little Rock, an 1895 commercial building that has served as a grocery store and mattress factory, among other uses.

• Gene Rush House in the Roland vicinity of Pulaski County, a circa 1964 house that is a simplified version of the Mid-Century Modern style.

• Dr. Albert H. Tribble House in Hot Springs, a 1938 Colonial Revival-style house that was home to a noted doctor and developer.

• Pine Bluff Arsenal Access Road Bridge #2280 in White Hall, a 1942 bridge that was important in the transportation network around the Pine Bluff Arsenal.

• Magnolia Petroleum Co. Filling Station in Kingsland, Cleveland County, a circa 1930 filling station that combines the Craftsman and Tudor Revival styles of architecture.

• Batesville Commercial Historic District boundary increase and additional documentation in Batesville, which updates the nomination for the city's commercial core.

• Pocahontas Federal Savings and Loan Building in Pocahontas, Randolph County, a 1960 Mid-Century Modern bank building designed by the architecture firm of Reed and Willis.

• Oak Hill School near Marshall, Searcy County, a circa 1934 one-room schoolhouse.

• Gulf Oil Co. Filling Station in Stamps, Lafayette County, a circa 1930 filling station that used Gulf Oil Co.'s standard "Sandbrick" design.

• Oakland in El Dorado, a 1939 Colonial Revival-style residence built for members of the Murphy family.

• Wilson Motor Co. in Wilson, Mississippi County, a circa 1930 auto dealership designed by Memphis architect George Mahan Jr.

The State Review Board also will consider the Leveck House in Little Rock, James Phillip Smith House in Benton, Dr. Herbert H. McAdams House in Jonesboro, and the McNutt House and Cottage in Arkadelphia for nomination to the Arkansas Register.

Properties that don't qualify for listing on the National Register can be listed on the state register instead.

Metro on 11/20/2018

Print Headline: Black farm settlement in Delta, auto parts store in Little Rock up for spots on Arkansas historic sites list


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