Barkman House featured as ornament
July 31, 2012
Henderson State University’s Barkman House joined the growing list of historical places in Clark County to be featured as a special Christmas ornament. The Clark County Historical Association held an unveiling reception Aug. 7 at the Barkman House at 356 North 10th Street.
Previous ornaments in the series include the Clark County Courthouse, Clark County Public Library, the Arkadelphia train depot which now houses the Clark County Historical Museum, the Captain Henderson House, and Ouachita Baptist University’s Cone-Bottoms Hall.
The Barkman House is a two-story transitional Greek-Gothic structure that was completed around 1860 and is listed in the National Register of Historical Places. Barkman House houses Henderson’s Office of Institutional Advancement.
Originally owned by J.E.M. Barkman, son of early Clark County settler Jacob Barkman, the house was constructed by Madison Griffin, who also built Magnolia Manor. It was completed in 1860. The house was not completely finished when the Civil War began, and it is said that piles of lumber were taken from the front yard to build Confederate fortifications.
The house is architecturally significant because of its unusual combination of Greek and Gothic Revival styles. A transitional design between antebellum and Victorian architecture, the Barkman House is a frame structure.
Painted white with green shutters, the Barkman House is very unusual in its proportions and detailing. The combination of Greek and Gothic Revival design has been interpreted in such a way as to make the house highly unusual -- if not unique -- in Arkansas. With just a few exceptions, the house is structurally the same as when it was built. The house remains in very good structural condition and has been well maintained both inside and out.
The idea for the ornaments was brought up several years ago by historical association member Ann Robinson, according to Dr. Ray Granade, a historical association board member. “The CCHA agreed that it was a great way to focus people’s attention on the county’s history in general, our historic structures in particular, and, of course, individual structures each year,” he said.
“Now that we’ve done this for five years, people are beginning to talk about ‘the collection,’” Granade said. “Since we’re doing this annually, some people want to make sure that they get the latest ornament to keep their collection complete. Others buy a set to give to friends or family.”
Granade said the project began with a “two-fold” purpose: to celebrate and raise awareness of the county’s history, and to raise money for the museum. “We’ve been careful to make pricing affordable, keeping in mind the limited resources of many of those to whom something like this would appeal,” said Granade. “We only make a few dollars on each ornament, but we’re more concerned about spreading awareness of the county’s architectural heritage than about making a big profit on each ornament.”
So far, the ornaments have featured structures that people can still visit. Granade said he hopes that, at some point, private structures such as Magnolia Manor can be featured. “We have some of those that have escaped time’s ravages, thanks to individuals’ careful stewardship,” Granade said.