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Arkansas museum gains historic home; 1910 Magnolia building to house artifacts, hold events

April 27, 2019 at 2:31 a.m.

MAGNOLIA -- One of Magnolia's more recognizable and historic downtown homes has been donated to the South Arkansas Heritage Museum.

Named for the home's original owner, the Dr. Henry Alvan Longino House at 317 W. Main St. will serve as public display space for local and regional historical artifacts, and be used for events and classes presented by the Magnolia-based nonprofit.

The home, built in 1910, was designed by Eugene C. Seibert of the Witt, Seibert and Halsey architectural firm of Texarkana.

Longino was a prominent Columbia County physician, businessman and real estate investor in the early 20th century. He also co-owned the former downtown Longino-Goode Drug Store in Magnolia with Dr. D.D. Goode.

In 1982, the U.S. Department of the Interior approved the West Main Street home for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. It's also on the Arkansas Register of Historic Places.

The 16,320-square-foot property was donated to the museum on March 28 by the family of the late Galloway and Anne Woodward, according to Columbia County real estate records. The Woodwards occupied the home for 40 years and were responsible for it being placed on the state and national historic registers.

The family also refurbished and restored the home after it had fallen into some disrepair. The home was occupied until Anne Woodward's death in May 2017.

The home will be used to display artifacts relevant to the history and heritage of south Arkansas and will operate as an educational institution, focusing primarily on local history and culture.

Museum officials hope to hold educational lectures and classes in the home. Topics include genealogy research and photographic restoration. The property will also be used for outdoor musical concerts by local artists and for classes in "forgotten handicrafts," such as tatting and crocheting. Possibilities for the building also include domino tournaments, the nonprofit said.

Dana Thornton, the nonprofit's board secretary, said she believes the home's location -- just one block west of Magnolia's square -- will be a big asset for the community, providing a convenient space and attraction for museum members, visitors and students.

"Its two-story height and generous proportions will make a perfect location to display the wide variety of historical artifacts that have been donated to the museum and those that SAHM [the museum] hopes to receive in the future," Thornton said in a news release.

The 109-year-old, salmon-colored brick home has 3,500 square feet.

The first floor will be the primary site for museum displays and events. The second floor will be closed to the public and will be used for museum offices, work areas and storage. The first floor has 1,800 square feet of living area, and the second floor is 1,760 square feet, according to Columbia County assessment records.

"The house in itself is the largest artifact we will own," said Amy Staten McNeil, the nonprofit's board chairman. "That's the most important thing to us."

"The deal is that we are now in charge of the preservation and protection of this property." McNeil added: "It's the biggest project we will ever take on. We did not want to see this space become another vacant lot or gas station, and neither did the [Woodward] family."

Structurally and mechanically, the Longino House is "quite sound," according to McNeil. It also has an updated HVAC system and kitchen, and the interior is virtually move-in ready with the floors and facings all still in good condition.

The home is a blend of Victorian and Craftsman, architectural styles that were prevalent at the turn of the 20th century. Its unique and large living space reflects the prosperous economy of that time in Columbia County.

The nonprofit hopes to hold an event at the house in early September. McNeil said only a few modifications are needed before the museum can occupy the home.

"I believe that a house is kind of a living, breathing thing and it will know if someone is not taking care of it," McNeil said of the home.

"This is something that we are not going to take lightly."

State Desk on 04/27/2019

Print Headline: Arkansas museum gains historic home; 1910 Magnolia building to house artifacts, hold events


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