The Alethea Club recently met in the home of Norma Caldwell. After a brief business meeting conducted by the president, Audrey Borecky, the guest speaker, Lyle Lovelace, presented the program. In keeping with the club’s theme, “This Old House,” Lovelace talked about the Jewel Parnell Bain House, No. 2. This art deco home, located at 36th Avenue and Cherry Street, was nominated to the National Register of Historic Places by the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program’s State Review Board in early December of 2012.
The Bain house was constructed in 1937, during the Great Depression. Designed in the Art Moderne style of architecture, it is described as “boxy with stringcourse to emphasize its horizontal lines.”
Of steel construction, the house includes structural carrera glass. It is believed that Bain was inspired in the design by magazines and homes featured in the 1933 Chicago World’s fair.
Bain, who died in January 1996 at 91, was a lifelong Pine Bluff resident. She designed four houses in her lifetime. She learned how to draw house plans on her own and hired professional architects to produce the blueprints. The four homes were built between 1924 and 1965 in various styles that also included Craftsman and Japanese.
Bain was cited by the National Register as being a “member of a very select group of women in Arkansas involved in architectural design, and may have been the only woman designer to have buildings constructed.”
After Lovelace’s program, the members were served a pumpkin confection, prepared by Maxine Lane, and seasonal nuts and coffee. The hostesses were Caldwell, Lane and Peggie Howard.