Beaver Spring nominated to national historic register

Friday, August 8, 2014

LITTLE ROCK--The State Review Board of the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program nominated eight Arkansas properties -- including Beaver Spring -- to the National Register of Historic Places when it met Wednesday, AHPP Director Frances McSwain announced Thursday.

Beaver Spring, built in 1912, is located northwest of the Beaver Bridge.

The spring and spring house are located right beside the Beaver Walking Trail, which is the old historic railroad bed of the Missouri & North Arkansas Railway. The spring flows out of the spring house and under the walking trail, emptying into the White River, near the Beaver Bridge.

"The springhouse at the Beaver Spring is an excellent example of a 20th-century springhouse," the National Register nomination says. "The Beaver Spring was an important source of water for the town's residents and visitors, and having a properly designed springhouse was essential to protecting the spring. The construction of the stone springhouse, replacing the less-permanent log springhouse, meant better protection of the valuable resource."

Other properties nominated to the National Register are Heagler House and Duffy House at North Little Rock in Pulaski County, Redfield School Historic District at Redfield in Jefferson County, Carnahan House at Pine Bluff in Jefferson County, U.S. 64 Horsehead Creek Bridge at Hartman in Johnson County, Sid Hutcheson Building at Norfork in Baxter County and Harold Adams Office Building at Fort Smith in Sebastian County.

The board also listed the Palace Theater at Benton in Saline County, Redbug Field at Fordyce in Dallas County and Langley Gymnasium at Langley in Pike County on the Arkansas Register of Historic Places. The Arkansas Register recognizes historically noteworthy places that are not eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.

For more information on the National Register of Historic Places program, write the AHPP at 1500 Tower Building, 323 Center St., Little Rock, AR 72201, call the agency at (501) 324-9880 [TDD 501-324-9811], send e-mail to info@arkansaspreservation.org or visit www.arkansaspreservation.org.

Beaver Spring to be considered for placement on the National Register of Historic Places

By Kathryn Lucariello

CCNhi@cox-internet.com

BEAVER -- Recently Beaver Mayor Ann Shoffit received a surprise in the mail -- a copy of a June 20 letter stating that the Beaver Spring is being considered for placement on the National Register of Historic Places.

The letter was addressed to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers District Archeologist Rodney Parker from Frances McSwain, director of the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program.

AHPP spokesman Mark Christ said the nomination was initiated by Ralph Wilcox at the AHPP office, as opposed to an area resident requesting it.

"Part of what we do is, in our survey activities we look for significant historic properties so it would have been during a survey trip," Christ said.

The spring and spring house are located right beside the Beaver Walking Trail, which is the old historic railroad bed of the Missouri & North Arkansas Railway. The spring flows out of the spring house and under the walking trail, emptying into the White River, near the Beaver Bridge.

Although the spring house was built in 1912, native resident Norman "Bert" Camp of nearby Elk Ranch said the spring has been there "forever" and was used by Native Americans living in the area.

"When the first house was built in 1836, it was close to that spring, and it was the main spring for the people of Beaver," he said. "Wilson A. Beaver had the first rock quarry in the county, and I would say he built that spring house."

He said the house was later moved three times and then eventually torn down by the Corps of Engineers.

The letter to Parker notes that the COE owns the spring, which Christ said was the information they had. Shoffit said she doesn't doubt that fact.

"It's within the Corps take-line," she said.

She said the town maintains the spring house and the walking trail, however.

Floods in 2008 and 2011 brought mud that damaged the entire back wall of the spring house and removed some grout from between limestone blocks on the sides of the building. The town hired Al Larson of Eureka Springs to oversee repairs and to put a new roof on the building, using FEMA funds, which also covered repairs to the information kiosk and bathhouse in the RV park.

Christ said the AHPP nomination of the spring to the National Register is likely an assurance it will be placed.

"Where there's federal ownership, we notify the federal agency and present it to our review board, but it will be the federal preservation officer for the Corps who will sign off on it, and then it will go to the National Park Service," he said.

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