Historic preservation

Z. Sitek / KUAF

A controversial ballot initiative petition to abolish the 40-year old Eureka Springs Historic District Commission, which had been invalidated, has garnered enough signatures to appear on this year's General Election ballot. 

J. Froelich / KUAF

Gypsy Camp, constructed on the banks of the Illinois River south of Siloam Springs in rural Benton County almost a century ago, is being preserved. The quaint girls' summer camp operated from 1921 to 1978 before turning into a private residence. Two years ago, a private partnership purchased the property to establish a a river outfitting business and restore the site, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Jerrid Gelinas provides a tour.

Z. Sitek / KUAF

After residents of Fayetteville's Washington-Willow Historic District expressed interest in an ordinance that would regulate what can be done to the homes in the neighborhood, city planners got to work. The department is now seeking public input on recently unveiled proposed design guidelines that could eventually become an ordinance, creating the city's first historic preservation district. 

Z. Sitek / KUAF

The Fitzgerald Station historic site in east Springdale will undergo a conservation assessment. The property, which once belonged to early Springdale settler John Fitzgerald, is a so-called witness site because of major historic events that took place along Old Wire Road. The Northwest Arkansas Trailblazers deeded the property to the City of Springdale after purchasing 130 acres of land on Fitzgerald Mountain for the construction of a mountain biking and hiking trail system.

courtesy: Google Maps

As Fayetteville's population grows every year, local history buffs want to ensure historic neighborhoods are recognized and protected from what they say is encroaching development. The Fayetteville Historic District Commission is working to add the Meadow-Spring and University Heights neighborhoods to the National Register of Historic Places, which already includes six other Fayetteville neighborhoods. The Meadow-Spring area includes homes that date back to the late 1800s including the Vest Home, which was built in 1870.


After two homes were torn down in Fayetteville's historic Washington-Willow neighborhood, some residents have expressed interest in developing a historic preservation ordinance. Such an ordinance would protect the other homes that are still there. The city's Planning Division recently sent out about 260 surveys to property owners in the neighborhood to gauge the amount of support for some sort of code.

J. Froelich / KUAF

The fate of a crumbling historic mansion in downtown Fayetteville is raising concerns and interest in establishing a municipal preservation code. Nearly two dozen Arkansas cities have enacted such ordinances—including Eureka Springs, which, today is a major architectural heritage tourist destination.


The University of Arkansas in Fort Smith recently received a $600,000 grant to begin restoring a home built in the late 1830s just down the hill from the Drennen-Scott House, which UAFS had also restored and turned into a historic site. This latest project is a home that was built by Leonard Wilhaf, who was a German immigrant, baker and soldier in the Mexican American War.

T. Dennis

For decades, Fayetteville residents have walked and driven across the Lafayette Street Overpass Bridge. But, in terms of cosmetics and structural integrity, the bridge has seen better days. City officials recently held a ceremony to commemorate the start of work to restore the bridge, and its sister bridge on Maple Street, to their former 1930s glory.

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Historic Cane Hill: An Update

Jun 17, 2014

Last fall, a nonprofit was launched to restore and revitalize the small yet significant town west of Fayetteville. We revisit to check the progress.