Most Endangered Places

2022 Most Endangered Places Announcement

Preserve Arkansas’s 2022 Most Endangered Places list includes an architecturally significant church at Lonoke, one of the last historic commercial buildings at DeValls Bluff, and an 1850s farmstead in Stone County. “This is by no means an exhaustive list. These listings illustrate broader trends throughout the state – we are seeing many religious congregations struggle to maintain their historic facilities, and changes in population distribution require a new development model in rural areas. I am hopeful that we can help find solutions to save these important historic places,” said Rachel Patton, executive director of Preserve Arkansas.

The Most Endangered Places Program began in 1999 to raise awareness of historically and architecturally significant properties facing threats such as demolition, deterioration, and insensitive development. Preserve Arkansas solicited nominations from individuals and organizations throughout the state, and a selection committee of preservation professionals, architects, historians, and Preserve Arkansas members chose properties based on their level of significance, severity of the threat, and level of local support. The list is updated each year to generate discussions and support for saving the places that matter to Arkansans.

Threatened Three: The 2022 List of Arkansas’s Most Endangered Places

First Christian Church, Lonoke (Lonoke County). Designed and built in 1916 by Charles E. Hämm, Sr., with assistance from builder Frank Goodbar, the First Christian Church of Lonoke was listed in the National Register of Historic Places for its architectural significance. The vacant building, now in need of urgent roof repair, is the best example in Lonoke County of a church designed in the Craftsman and Tudor Revival styles. The building is owned by Mr. Hämm’s granddaughter, who grew up in the church and wants to see it restored for community use.

Robinson Building, DeValls Bluff (Prairie County). Constructed in 1913, the two-story Robinson Building anchors the last intact commercial block in the White River town of DeValls Bluff. The building housed the Robinson Mercantile on the first floor and a Masonic Lodge on the second floor. The severely deteriorated building was cleaned and stabilized by Studio DRIFT, but additional resources are needed to reconstruct the building’s roof and interior for use as a multipurpose space that benefits the community.

Newton Sutterfield Farmstead, Alco (Stone County). Located at the community of Alco in western Stone County, the Newton Sutterfield Farmstead was built about 1850 by early settler J. Newton Sutterfield. Although it is now in a decrepit state, the Sutterfield Farmstead illustrates the hardscrabble existence of farmers in the Arkansas Ozarks and stands as an important example of a vernacular Double-Pen House. The current owner would like to see the house restored and used to interpret the area’s early history.

Photos and additional information about 2022’s Most Endangered Places are available below. Contact Rachel Patton at Rpatton@preservearkansas.org or 501-372-4757 for more information.

To browse our database of Most Endangered Places listings, click here.

2022 List of Arkansas's Most Endangered Places

First Christian Church, Northwest corner of 2nd and Depot streets, Lonoke (Lonoke County)
Built 1916

Designed and built in 1916 by Charles E. Hämm, Sr., with assistance from builder Frank Goodbar, the First Christian Church of Lonoke was listed in the National Register of Historic Places for its architectural significance. It is the best example in Lonoke County of a church designed in the Craftsman and Tudor Revival styles.

The people of Lonoke and surrounding communities worked for nearly 20 years to raise enough money to organize and construct the church. The building features battered walls clad in weatherboard on the lower level and stucco with false half-timbering on the upper level and gable ends. The steeply pitched gable-on-hip roof has multiple gabled dormers and exposed rafter tails in the eaves. The church retains its original double-hung wood windows of various sizes and pane arrangements as well as decorative brackets in some gable ends. The corner bell tower is topped by a belfry with gabled dormers on all sides. The top piece of the bell tower, which was octagonal with a crenelated parapet, was removed decades ago due to water leaks.

By the end of the 20th century, the congregation had dwindled to just a few members. The last church service was held in the building about 2005. The church interior looks almost exactly like it did on the day of that last service – there are even wafers in the Communion plate. But time has taken its toll, and the roof is failing, causing water damage to the interior. The building is owned by Mr. Hämm’s granddaughter, who grew up in the church and wants to see it restored for community use.

Robinson Building, 59 Main Street, DeValls Bluff (Prairie County)
Built 1913

Constructed in 1913, the two-story Robinson Building anchors the last intact commercial block in the White River town of DeValls Bluff. The building housed the Robinson Mercantile on the first floor and a Masonic Lodge on the second floor. The building’s namesake, E. B. Robinson, opened the Robinson Mercantile here in 1924. In 1929, Mr. Robinson was in poor health and turned all of his business affairs over to his wife, Hester Buck Robinson. Hester Robinson was an astute businesswoman, who not only operated the store, but acquired large amounts of farmland in her own name in Prairie, Monroe, St. Francis, and Woodruff counties. She served on the board of directors at several local banks, was vice-president of the DeValls Bluff School Board, and vice-president of the Biscoe Gin Company. At the time of her death in 1963, she was one of the largest landowners in Prairie County with more than 15,000 acres and an estate worth $1.2 million.

Fast forward to 2020. The Robinson Building had long been vacant and deteriorating. Exterior bricks were starting to fall, and the building was at risk of demolition. The nonprofit Studio DRIFT, which stands for Developing Rural Infrastructure for Tomorrow, purchased the Robinson Building and two adjacent buildings. Studio DRIFT removed the Robinson Building’s severely damaged roof and interior elements, salvaging materials for use in the building’s rehabilitation where appropriate. The brick was repointed and the exterior walls stabilized, but the building remains a shell. Additional resources are needed to reconstruct the building’s roof and interior for use as a multipurpose space that benefits the community. Studio DRIFT’s long-range plan is to rehabilitate the entire block, creating a focal point and tourist attraction that can serve a practical need for people looking to ride bike or water trails, explore local cuisine, culture, and history, and then ultimately become an economic catalyst for the whole region and spark future businesses and preservation efforts.

Newton Sutterfield Farmstead, 1797 Horton Hill Road, Alco (Stone County)
Built ca. 1850 with ca. 1900 addition

Located at the community of Alco in western Stone County, the Newton Sutterfield Farmstead was built about 1850 by early settler J. Newton Sutterfield. The property was listed in the National Register of Historic Places for its architectural significance as the best example of a 19th century vernacular residence in the community and for its association with the settlement of Stone County. The Sutterfield farm was self-sufficient with an orchard and gardens, livestock and chickens, a blacksmith shop, smokehouse, barns, and springhouse. The family home is an important example of Arkansas’s vernacular architecture. It is a Double-Pen House or “Duple” as it was called by the late Cyrus Sutherland, University of Arkansas architecture professor and vernacular architecture enthusiast. This form consisted of two side-by-side rooms with no central hallway and doors on the front façade leading into each room.

The house began its existence ca. 1850 as a one- or two-room log building with a stone chimney on one end. About 1900, two frame rooms were added on to the rear of the original house, and the entire exterior was covered with board-and-batten siding. A full front porch was added to the house at an early date. Sometime around 1950, weatherboard siding was applied over the board-and-batten. Although covered on the exterior, the original hand-hewn log walls are visible from the interior. The Sutterfield Farmstead was last occupied in the 1970s. Although it is now in a decrepit state, the Sutterfield Farmstead illustrates the hardscrabble existence of farmers in the Arkansas Ozarks and stands as an important example of a vernacular Double-Pen House. The current owner would like to see the house restored and used to interpret the area’s early history.

High-resolution photos of these properties are available here.

2022 Most Endangered Places Selection Committee

Thank you to our selection committee members!

Mike Kinkade, Chair, Nashville

Mason Ellis, AIA, Little Rock

John Connell, AIA, Little Rock

Katherine Nash, Arkansas Historic Preservation Program

Rodney Harris, Ph.D., Williams Baptist University

Leslie Scribner, Salem

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