The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program State Review Board nominated two properties in Southeast Arkansas for inclusion into the National Register of Historic Places on Wednesday.
The Redfield Middle School building and Carnahan House in Pine Bluff will now be considered by The National Register of Historic Places, a branch of the National Park Service.
The 11-person review board voted unanimously to nominate both properties, review board secretary Donna Jones said. The board also approved adding Redbug Field in Fordyce to the Arkansas Register of Historic Places to recognize Football Coach Paul Bear Bryant, she said.
To be considered for admission, buildings must be historically significant, cannot have undergone major structural changes and must be at least 50 years old, Jones said. The Redfield Middle School and Carnahan House meet these designations, she said.
“It is always good to know these older structures are safe and going to be preserved,” Jones said.
The Redfield school building was built between 1910 and 1939, according to the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program. The structure has been a part of the town’s educational life for nearly a century and represents the New Deal’s only known influence on Redfield, according to the AHPP.
The Redfield Middle School building is also significant in that a group of residents envision it as a future home of a proposed Redfield Tri-County Charter School. The preservation effort is not related to the proposed charter school, whose board of directors submitted an application to the Arkansas Department of Education last month to establish the school.
Nonetheless, Redfield Tri-County Charter School board of directors secretary Amanda Kight welcomed the review board’s vote.
“I think it speaks to the longevity of the Redfield Middle School building,” Kight said. “I am glad for the sake of the building. [This summer] we are using the building to assist senior citizens and children.”
The Redfield Middle School building has hosted children playing basketball, people in need of a meal through a federal feeding program and adults looking to earn a high school diploma through the GED, Kight said.
Redfield Tri-County Charter School board member Todd Dobbins also welcomed the review board’s vote.
“I was not shocked by the vote,” Dobbins said. “Education is the foundation of our our community, so I am pleased. … This is preserving our culture to protect the identity of Redfield.”
Dobbins, who is also president of the nonprofit Keep Redfield Middle School, said the building will also host Head Start nursery school, Cub Scout troops, 4H club and Alcoholics Anonymous.
“The building serves the education needs of Redfield,” he said.
The Carnahan House
Jones said the Carnahan House in Pine Bluff is very much worthy of being included on the National Register.
“The Carnahan House has been kept in pristine condition and we were amazed that it had not already been nominated,” Jones said.
The Carnahan House — also known as the Trotter House or the Laurel House — at 1200 S. Laurel St. reflects Craftsman and English Revival styles of architecture.
“Constructed in 1919 by the prolific architect Mitchell Seligman, the Carnahan House is an excellent example of a large-scale, English Revival and Craftsman residence,” according to the National Register nomination. “The prominent brick mass of the building, combined with the use of half timbering in each gable and the multitude of Craftsman details, including window design and ornamental brackets, make this an important example of residential architecture in the region.”
Marlene Davis-Lilly has lived in the house since about January 2010 and also serves on the Pine Bluff Historic District Commission. Davis-Lilly said she pursued the designation because of the home’s historical significance. The Carnahan family, which owned a lumber business, “made a big difference in Pine Bluff,” she said in an interview in July.
The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program staff determines buildings that are eligible for consideration and make a recommendation to the review board, AHPP spokesman Mark Christ said. He said the National Park Service in Washington, D.C., should make its decision within six to eight weeks.
Christ lauded the review board’s vote.
“We are really happy they were nominated and we are confident the National Park Service will list them on the National Register,” Christ said. “Both locations are remarkable examples of Arkansas history. They show diverse resources that reflect Arkansas history.”