Morrow couple wins Arkansas preservation award for work restoring 1828 homestead

Reeds honored for restoring 1828 homestead

The 1828 homestead of the Morrow family is a four-room log home that is listed on the state and national historic registers.

(File Photo/NWA Democrat-Gazette)
The 1828 homestead of the Morrow family is a four-room log home that is listed on the state and national historic registers. (File Photo/NWA Democrat-Gazette)

MORROW -- Damon and Margaret Reed, the couple who painstakingly restored the 1828 homestead of the Morrow family, have been selected to receive one of the 2022 premier awards from Preserve Arkansas.

The couple owns and restored the Morrow Farmstead.

The Reeds won their award in the category, "Excellence in Personal Projects," which recognizes the achievement of individuals in preserving, rehabilitating or restoring structures for their own use.

At the time of nomination, the project must be substantially complete. Nominations for this award should focus on the completed project, the process involved and the owner's and/or user's specific efforts and contributions to the project.

Vanessa McKuin of Historic Cane Hill nominated the Reeds for the award. They will be honored Jan. 27 in Little Rock at the Preserve Arkansas Annual Awards Ceremony.

Since 2014, when the Reeds purchased the property, they have restored a four-room log home on the property, now listed on both the National Register of Historic Places and the Arkansas Register of Historic Places. While the building has been outfitted as a home, the Reeds do not live on the premises nor do they lease or rent out the property.

Preserve Arkansas is the statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to building stronger communities by reconnecting Arkansans to their heritage and empowering people to save and rehabilitate historic places. By presenting educational programs, advocating for preservation at the federal, state and local levels, and assisting property owners with the means and expertise to preserve and restore their structures, Preserve Arkansas has been a statewide voice for preservation in Arkansas since 1981.

The Morrow Homestead's cabin and other outbuildings were most recently on display during the a community Christmas holiday celebration, according to McKuin, the director of Historic Cane Hill and a former executive with Preserve Arkansas.

"The Reeds opened the house for the Morrow Christmas celebration, and the crowds of people just kept coming to this property," McKuin said in a recent interview.

In earlier interviews, the Reeds described their efforts to restore the cabin and accompanying buildings as central to keeping the history of the region alive.

"We love doing this work," Margaret Reed said. "Damon and lots of people in our family and the community helped out during the restoration."

When visited by state preservation officials to document the cabin, the question came up about where the Reeds received architectural and building structural advice on the project.

"I guess you could say I followed my own years of being in the building trades; I guess I was the architect and engineer," Damon Reed said.

State officials, in declaring the Morrow Homestead for both the national and Arkansas historic register listings, cited the couple's care in restoring the key elements of the cabin in its original design and structure.

The cabin does have electricity, plumbing and other infrastructure updates but also maintains the wealth of designs and structure of a cabin from its era.

The Reeds have been told the structure is the oldest continuous structure in Washington County history. The family used its own resources to restore the building. No state or federal grant monies were expended in the restoration.

Two elected state officials, along with the Washington County Historic Society, joined the celebration last year to honor the Reeds when the log home was placed on the state and national historic registers.

State Rep. Charlene Fite and state Sen. Jim Hendren, whose legislative districts included Morrow at the time, helped with the cost of the state of Arkansas Historical Register plaque. The Washington County Historical Society purchased the National Register of Historic Places wall plaque. Both adorn the outside walls of the cabin in Morrow.

Preserve Arkansas, a statewide nonprofit advocate for historic preservation, will host the 2022 Arkansas Preservation Awards on Jan. 27 at the Robinson Center, 426 W. Markham St. in Little Rock.

The evening will begin with a reception at 6 p.m., followed by dinner at 6:30, and the presentation of awards with emcee Ethel Goodstein-Murphree at 7:15 p.m.

The Arkansas Preservation Awards are presented by MTFA Architecture with support from the Division of Arkansas Heritage, Statements for the Home Interior Design, the University of Arkansas Fay Jones School of Architecture + Design and additional sponsors.

During the evening, the Parker Westbrook Award for Lifetime Achievement will be awarded to architect John K. Mott. Born and raised in Fort Smith, Mott has been a leader in historic preservation for more than 50 years. After graduating from the University of Arkansas, Mott worked for his father's architecture firm in Fort Smith, today known as MAHG Architecture, before relocating to Washington, D.C. He went on to become director of preservation at John Milner Associates, now MTFA Architecture. He has led the MTFA Design + Preservation team on more than 200 restoration and adaptive reuse projects across the country.

Mott's notable Arkansas projects include Old Main and Vol Walker Hall at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville; the Drennen-Scott and Willhad houses in Van Buren; and the Clayton House in Fort Smith.

Tickets and sponsorships are available at For more information, please contact Rachel Patton at 501-372-4757 or

  photo  Damon and Margaret Reed will be honored by Preserve Arkansas for their project to restore the 1828 homestead of the Morrow family. (Special to NWA Democrat-Gazette/Maylon Rice)

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