Saturday, April 18, 2009

formerly Cumberland Presbyterian, Clarendon

This fine old building was home to Cumberland Presbyterian Church from 1869 to 1920, at which time the congregation left the building to join with Clarendon's First Presbyterian, just up the road.

The belfry was added in 1887.

I went to the town's welcome center (located a block away from one of the state's finest county courthouses) and there I met a very nice lady, Mary Parker. She pointed me to a booklet entitled 'Pages from the Past Revisted - Historical Notes on Clarendon, Monroe County and Early Arkansas.,' by Jo Claire English. I read this about the church:

"The very best cypress timber was used for the building, having been brought by trams and wagons from the mill town of Aberdeen. This material was dressed by hand... In spite of floods and many years of weathering without proper care, the well built structure, with its wooden pegs intact, has defied going out of service."

exposed corner joinery

After it was a church, it was library. Until '27, that is, when the floods did in nearly 5000 books. For the most part, it served as a Masonic lodge after that, but had stints as a kindergarten, a teen club and a Scout hall.

Of late it seems it actually has 'gone out of service.' It is on the National Register of Historic Places and is probably the oldest unaltered structure in Monroe County. The building has stood for 140 years. I hope some new use and attention are in store for it.

No comments: