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AAC F A M I L Y & F R I E N D S


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Left: Construction of this Hempstead County Courthouse, supervised by Tilman L. Patterson was completed in 1836. The two-story, wood- frame building, which cost less than $2,000, was located in Washington, Ark., the former Hempstead County seat. Right: The 1836 court- house featured a courtroom on the first floor and offices on the second floor. The courthouse became the Confederate State Capitol in 1863.


Whitson for building and installing shutters. Completed in 1836, the Hempstead County Courthouse held a court- room on the first floor, while county officials had offices on the second floor, which also featured meeting space for Mount Horeb Lodge No. 4, Free and Accepted Masons. A separate building was constructed for the county clerk, and records were kept there. Te courthouse became the Confederate State Capitol after Union forces took Little Rock on Sept. 10, 1863, and served in that capacity until the war ended in mid- 1865, after which the Twelfth Michigan Infantry Regi- ment used it as a jail during its post-war occupation of Washington. When a new courthouse was built in 1874, the county sold the 1836 building to the Washington Male and Female Academy for $1,375, and it was used as a school until a new brick school was erected in 1914. Te old courthouse slowly deteriorated until 1928 when the United Daughters of the Confederacy successfully lobbied the state General Assembly for $5,000 to rehabilitate the building — the first money ever appropriated for a his- toric preservation project. It was used as a museum, and in 1973 became part of Old Washington State Park (now Historic Washington State Park). In the mid-1990s, the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism restored the first Hempstead County Courthouse to its 1836 appear- ance, as it continues to welcome visitors more than 180 years after its construction. As mentioned earlier, Hempstead County leaders had decided by the 1870s that a new courthouse was needed. In June 1872, County Judge George H. Martin ordered


COUNTY LINES, SPRING 2017


$50,000 appropriated for construction of a new court- house and jail in Washington. The county hired Green & Son, a Little Rock architectural firm, to design the new building. Te result was a gorgeous example of Italianate- style architecture, with tall, narrow windows topped by heavy hood molding, brackets in the eaves, and a cupola with a mansard roof providing a Second Empire-style influence. Ezekiel Treadway was the low bidder for the courthouse project at $18,650. After completing the new jail in 1874, Treadway tackled the courthouse, which was completed by early 1875, though costs had risen to $21,454.34. Even as the new courthouse was completed and put into


service, a new town called Hope was developing along the Cairo and Fulton Railroad. In 1878, an election was held to decide whether the new railroad town should serve as the county seat. Hope lost that election, as it did other county seat elections in 1882, 1910 and 1914. In April 1838, the city of Hope accepted title to the old Garland School and offered the site as a location for a new court- house. A June 11, 1938, election resulted in Hope finally winning the county seat, and the Arkansas Supreme Court upheld the results on May 11, 1939. Te stately 1874 Hempstead County Courthouse was turned over to the Washington School District, which later sold it to the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism for $10,000. Te Italianate-style icon now serves as the visitor center for Historic Washington State Park.


See “COURTHOUSE” on Page 34 >>> 33


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