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COVER Football, rock and roll, architecture

skills that would eventually make him the winningest coach in college football history. Rockers go there to see where Rolling Stones guitarists Ron Wood and Keith Richards were famously arrested in 1975. And ar- chitecture aficionados visit Fordyce to see the Dallas County Courthouse. Monumental in scale and proportion, the 1911 Dallas County Court- house, the largest and finest Classical Revival structure in the county, symbolizes Fordyce’s rapid growth as a railroad and trade center that cul- minated in its replacing Princeton as county seat in 1908. Te Classical Revival style is uncommon in Dallas County, but its democratic style was often used for government and bank buildings in the first quarter of the 20th century. Te Dallas County Courthouse is also an outstanding example of ar- chitect Frank W. Gibb’s early designs. Experienced as an engineer and surveyor, Gibb apparently had no formal training in architecture, which did not stop him from moving from Chicago to Arkansas and estab- lishing a healthy practice. Gibb frequently designed classically-inspired structures, including the Yell County Courthouse in Dardanelle, which shares several characteristics with its cousin in Fordyce. Te price of this


ordyce, the Dallas County seat, is a mecca for fans of football, rock and roll, and historic architecture. Football fans make the pilgrimage to Fordyce to see the boyhood home of Paul W. “Bear” Bryant and Redbug Field, where Bryant learned the

magnificent structure was a mere $65,000. As the traveler enters downtown Fordyce, one of the first things seen is the octagonal clock tower that looms above the Dallas County Court- house, still keeping perfect time. Te craftsmanship of the architect, as well as builder Edgar Koonce, is apparent in the classical pediments atop the building’s entrances. Te primary façade, facing Tird Street, features soaring Doric columns supporting the triangular pediment, the name DALLAS boldly emblazoned on a panel between the trim and cornice. Te interior of the Dallas County Courthouse is also striking, with rich, dark woodwork, marble wainscoting and octagonal tile floors. Ac- cording to Leslie Nutt, currently entering her third term as Dallas Coun- ty treasurer, the sterling condition of the interior can be largely attributed to her predecessor, Lowana Brumley, who served as treasurer from 1983 to 2008 and absolutely loved the building. “In the mid ‘90s, Lowana pushed to renovate the courthouse and that’s

what we did: from the top floor, to the courtrooms, to the second floor and the landscaping outdoors,” Nutt said. “In years past people would chew tobacco and for whatever reason spit on the marble walls and it would run down to the floor. Te walls were stained yellow from this and age. Te marble and floors were stripped and restored.” At the same time, artist JoAnne Diffie of Bismarck repainted the stenciling on the doors of the county offices, paying particular at- tention

to the entrances

to the vault between the offices of the county clerk and treasurer. Te vault contains a trove of records dating to Dallas County’s founding in 1845 – a rar- ity among counties, many

Continued to Page 33 >>> Assessing the situation

fair and equal values throughout the county.” Jones said Dallas County has received grants for its GPS mapping and 911 addressing. “We have had a large undertaking in combining parcels,” Jones said.

“We’ve combined about 3,000 parcels because we have a lot of rural property and ACD [Assessment Coordination Department] wanted us to combine those parcels and we’re down to half of that and I expect that to be finished by the end of 2013.” Jones helped to place Prosperity Baptist Church in Ramsey on the

Arkansas Historical Registry of Historic Places and then the national registry. She has also obtained grants for new windows, structural im- provements and a new roof for the building. “It’s just beautiful,” Jones said about the church she has attended for

41 years. Jones is also a member of the State Review Board for Arkansas His-

toric Preservation Program. Donna and Jimmy’s offices in the courthouse are joined by a door that stays open most of the time. “I always reminded him that I was here first,” Jones laughingly said.

“At first, I worried that people would think we were trying to run things. Te only thing I’ve tried to run is my office the way the people would like it run and I know he does the same thing. Everything that is here is the peoples’. It isn’t ours. We’re here to serve them.”


Donna Jones shows off her attire for Dallas County’s centennial cel- ebration in 2011.

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In her spare time, Jones said she spends time with her grandchildren every chance she gets and she also enjoys fishing and sewing. “Live each day to the fullest and treat others like you want to be treated,” Jones said in regard to her personal philosophy. “Te older you get the more you real-

ize how blessed you are to have parents who want you to strive and to do well. Jimmy is an overachiever and he has taught me a lot of that over the years as well. We don’t stop at what you are sup- posed to do, we’re supposed to do more

than what is expected of us.” Jones is the daughter of William Lyle and Armon Williams Atchley.

She and Jimmy have two children — Tommy and Lavonne. Tommy graduated from Arkansas State University and Lavonne is a graduate from the University of Arkansas at Monticello. Tey have four grand- children and are happy to report they recently found out they have the fifth one on the way — Braden and Kathryn Claire Jones and Nathan and Lauren Juhl.


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