Thursday, December 31, 2009

St. Andrews Anglican, Little Rock

Isn't this better than acres of asphalt?

church web site

Oh, Happy New Year

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Enola Baptist

Another giraffe rock church on the National Register.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Bethlehem Miss. Baptist, De Valls Bluff

Main church, auxiliary church, and a Thanksgiving message.

(It's never too late for gratitude, is it?)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Guy Church of Christ

This small giraffe-rock church was built in 1936 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. The congregation now meets in a new and larger building west of town. This one may soon be up for sale.

The barn-vaulted ceiling belies the church's outward appearance.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Smyrna Methodist, White County

The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program together with the White County Historical Society hosted a 'Walk Through History' tour at the Smyrna Church and Cemetery last Saturday.

The church, located 6 miles west of Searcy, is the oldest documented church building in Arkansas. Tree ring dating was used to determine 1857 as the date of construction, making it one of the state's handful of antebellum churches.

The church saw numerous changes over the years and efforts are underway to restore it to 1915 standards, the date of the building's earliest known photograph. A few modern conveniences such as a restroom, central heating & air, and a wheelchair ramp will be inconspicuously installed as well.

Gable ends, ridge cresting, and a bell-steeple are all newly added features that return the church to the way it looked after those Queen Anne-style elements were added in the 1890s.

An original scrolled gable end was on display.

The cemetery dates back to 1850s as well and features many names familiar to White County residents of today. There are a number of curious anonymous markers, too, such as this one.

Check out the AHPP website for the new 2010 Walk Through History schedule. The tours are well worth the drive. And folks in and around Little Rock will want to check out their Sandwiching in History tours.

Thanks to Rachel Silva of AHPP & Bill Leach of WCHS.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Monday, November 30, 2009

Witter-Smith Chapel School, Madison County

Another from my brother.

This is a school - or was a school - and not a church, but letters spell out 'Witter-Smith Chapel.' There's also a sizable cemetery out back.

Jim figures the building is a hundred to a hundred and twenty years old. A sign says the school, the cemetery and the roadside park are on five acres donated to the Witter School District in 1871 by George W.R. Smith and Simeon Peter Smith. I found reference to the men on a genealogical site. George was Simeon's son. I read that the senior Smith died in 1863 and his son went on to build the schoolhouse some time after 1888, as well as a store and a post office.

I found no reference to a church at the site previous to the construction of the school, but my guess is there was one. If not, I'm at a loss to explain the graves and the chapel designation.

I'll bet that old oak could explain a thing or two.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Oak Park Baptist, Little Rock

Built in 1976.
Destroyed by tornado in 1982.
Rebuilt shortly thereafter.

Happy Thanksgiving.

church web site

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

St. John's Episcopal, Fort Smith

Another photo from Brother Dub, although I suspect it was more for the foliage than the church.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Spring Creek Missionary Baptist, Madison

This humble little church is on the east side of Crowley's Ridge. There's only one stream nearby, so I guess Spring Creek is another name for Crow Creek.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Quinn Chapel A.M.E., Fort Smith

The multi-colored windows and the white outlining give this church a real eclectic look. It was built in 1917.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

1st Presbyterian, Fort Smith

My brother Jim had some business to attend to in Fort Smith last week, so I asked him to snap some pictures of churches if he happened upon any that were beautiful or unusual. Here's one he brought back that fits both descriptions.

If there's an actual architectural style here, I'm not sure what it would be. I'd classify it as Mission-Gothic, if such a style existed. Quite the belfry.

Here's the cornerstone showing 1898 as the year of dedication.

Turn of the century Fort Smith must have been home to a number of master masons. The rough-hewn stones of First Presbyterian are evidence.

Jim is known for photographing anything that strikes his fancy. He labeled this as "secret church code."

Monday, October 26, 2009

Pumpkin Bend sign, Woodruff County

What's great about searching for churches to photograph in the countryside is there are all these signs to point you in the right direction. Usually, they even include the distance you'll have to drive in order to find them. What they don't tell you is how rough the road is leading to the church and whether the picture is worth the detour.

This sign is just down the road from the previous church and, no, it has no distance marked, hence, no church picture. I was running late and didn't want to chance it. Nice sign, though. Very seasonal.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Faith Landmark Miss. Baptist, McCrory

This is my personal favorite of all the church windows I have designed and built. I wanted it to look like a quilt.

Can you tell the church is in farm country?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

First Presbyterian, Dardanelle

The sculpture is by John Mori of Clarksville. It's the centerpiece of a nice little meditation garden on the church grounds.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Assumption Catholic, Atkins

Classic church design.
Quite a pitch on that roof.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Old Austin Baptist, Lonoke County

Old Austin, just northeast of Cabot, is one of the oldest towns in central Arkansas. It could have been chosen as the state capitol; it could have attracted the railroad; it could have been the site of Ouachita Baptist University; but none of these things came to pass. Austin was the midway stop for the Butterfield Stage between Memphis and Fort Smith, and it was the home of one of the state's oldest Baptist associations.

As for what is in Old Austin anymore, there's this nice little Baptist church. That and a historical marker are about it.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Augusta Presbyterian

If you want history, start with river towns. In Arkansas, that means (primarily) the Arkansas and the White Rivers.

Augusta, the county seat of Woodruff County, was established just before the Civil War, and its Presbyterian church had its foundation laid in 1861. Riverboat traffic on the White made Augusta a target for the Union army, so the church wasn't finished until 1871. It served the county as a church for exactly one hundred years and today is home to the Augusta Heritage Center.

A photo of the church in the Encyclopedia of Arkansas shows a steeple. The date on the photo is 2005, so it must have been removed since then.

Here's one of two plaques. The other one calls it Woodruff County Presbyterian.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Cotton Plant Presbyterian

Established 1859

Erected 1920

Sadly, no more.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Newton Springs Full Gospel, Pope County

This church is just down the road from the one in the last post, and it has a right-angle addition as well, only this one is two stories and is in the rear of the church rather than the side. You see this type of church a lot out in the countryside, but not so much in cities and towns.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Hector Cumberland Presbyterian, Pope County

This right-angle layout for a church is very common in the south. The non-assembly portion is often a later add-on.

Monday, September 21, 2009

First Methodist, Beebe


You'll need binoculars to read the memorial inscription.
church web site

Saturday, September 12, 2009

unknown, Searcy

a vibrant little church

Update: Thanks to Anonymous for identifying this as
Williams Temple Church of God in Christ.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

St. Bartholomew's Catholic, Little Rock


The members of this Little Rock church will celebrate their church's centennial this Friday and Saturday.

The first chapel was a converted store and doctor's office at 8th and Gaines, and in the beginning the congregation was but one man, Pleasant Smith. Word spread among African-American Catholics and the parish grew quickly. St. Batholomew Elementary / High School was built at 16th and Marshall streets, and in 1931 the present church and its neighboring rectory was dedicated. (Today the old parochial school houses the Helping Hand food pantry.)

Read more about the history of St. Bartholomew's as well as their plans for the centennial celebration in this article in the current Arkansas Catholic.

Friday, August 21, 2009

former St. Elizabeth’s Catholic, DeValls Bluff

Back in April I was driving Highway 70 through DeValls Bluff when I spotted a church I wanted to photograph. So I hung a right in order to circle around, and came upon this little bit of history instead.

I didn't have time that day to ask around about it, so I figured I'd do some digging later on. Well, I never did.

Fast forward to last week when I read in the e-mailed newsletter from the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program that their State Review Board had nominated one St. Elizabeth's Catholic Church in DeValls Bluff to the National Register of Historic Places. I shot this picture off to Arkansas Heritage and asked if this was the church, and they quickly verified that it was.

I still don't know much about it other than it's in the Carpenter Gothic style and was built in 1912. It's official listing is still pending. Hopefully, once it makes the list, it will receive some badly needed attention.

Update Oct. 6 - Arkansas Historic Preservation just announced the listing with this description:

St. Elizabeth’s Catholic Church at DeValls Bluff in Prairie County, built in 1912 in a vernacular interpretation of the Carpenter Gothic style of architecture. “The simple one-room structure with simple Gothic Revival elements on Sycamore Street speaks of a part of DeValls Bluff history now twenty-three years gone,” the National Register nomination says. “The Catholic church served a community, albeit small, of farmers and businessmen who played integral parts of the history of DeValls Bluff and Prairie County, Arkansas. With the history of this small building is the history of European immigrants who helped build railroads, clear forests, and farm the fields that were and are firmly part of the state’s landscape.”

More info: here

Update May 23, 2011 -
The state's Historic Preservation Alliance has added St. Elizabeth's to its list of Arkansas’s Most Endangered Historic Places. The sites on the list reflect threats such as deterioration, neglect, insufficient funds, insensitive public policy and inappropriate development. The following additional information was presented regarding this church:

Following the death of the last remaining parishioner, St. Elizabeth’s Catholic Church was abandoned by the Church in 1986 and was unused by the community. In 1992, Mary Sharp purchased the structure and has actively sought to preserve it as an important piece of DeValls Bluff history. The building is in need of structural work and maintenance and is in danger due to lack of funds and lack of knowledge of its existence by many. In addition, St. Elizabeth’s Church sustained wind and water damage during the storms that swept across the South in late April 2011.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

St. Andrew's Catholic, Little Rock

I've been asked to post a picture of the oldest church in Little Rock. I believe that would be St. Andrews, at 7th and Louisiana. It's the oldest existing church structure, anyway, having been built in 1881.

The problem is, in order to get the bulk of the church in a photograph, you have to shoot it from half a block away. It's that big. The steeple starts a mile up and goes on for another mile after that.

So, I thought I'd take several shots and hope for the best.


St. Andrew's seems always to be in some phase of restoration. Lately, the stained glass windows have been getting a lot of attention. I'll try to get some interior pictures sometime in the near future.







The front doors show a carved relief sculpture of the twelve Apostles. When the afternoon sun hits them, they're a sight to behold.








Click on the picture for a close view of the fine slate roof on the east side.