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The East Hamilton Avenue Historic District located in Wynne (Cross County) is listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its collection of late nineteenth and early twentieth-century architectural styles. With construction dates ranging from 1895 to the 1950s, the houses remain some of the best examples of Queen Anne, Craftsman, Period Revival, and early Ranch-style architecture in the city. The district has sixty-three properties on East Hamilton Avenue between North Falls Boulevard and North Killough Road, as well as residences along Eldridge Court.
Wynne grew up around the intersection of the Helena (Phillips County) and Memphis, Tennessee, branches of the St. Louis, Iron Mountain and Southern Railroad. Around the turn of the twentieth century, Wynne prospered due to commercial development near the railroad intersection. In 1903, the Cross County seat moved from Vanndale to Wynne, securing the town’s place as a regional shipping center.
Residential development was initially concentrated just beyond the city’s commercial district, close to the railroad crossing. Hamilton Avenue runs east-west one block north of the railroad tracks. Since the western half of Hamilton Avenue is closer to the downtown area, it was developed earlier than the eastern half. In the early twentieth century, only a few residences were constructed on the eastern end of Hamilton Avenue, which included the homes of well-to-do citizens such as Raphael Block, Edward Dale Robertson, and Oliver Newton Killough. The homes in the East Hamilton Avenue Historic District retain excellent integrity, and the neighborhood remains one of Wynne’s finest.
The Giboney-Robertson-Stewart House at 734 E. Hamilton is the best example of a two-story, Queen Anne–style residence in Wynne and the only good example of the style in the district. The house features an asymmetrical façade with a central turret and a wrap-around porch supported by Tuscan columns. It was built around 1895 for W. A. and Ann Giboney and is the oldest home in the district. It was purchased in 1902 by Edward and Ethel Robertson. Robertson became the first chancery judge in what is now the Fifth Chancery District of Eastern Arkansas. In 1917, the home was bought by T. J. Stewart, a well-known physician in Wynne.
The district includes several small- and large-scale examples of the Craftsman style. The Herman and Clara Block House at 813 East Hamilton Avenue is an excellent example of an American Foursquare with Craftsman-style detailing. Built in about 1912, the house features four rooms on the upper story and four rooms on the lower story. The brick house has a pyramidal roof with hipped-roof dormers on the northern, eastern, and western sides. A full-width, one-story front porch is supported by square brick columns and has decorative paired brackets under the porch eaves. Son of local businessman Raphael Block, Herman Block was an accountant in the Block Mercantile Company. Herman and Clara Block often hosted dances in the front rooms of the house. The Blocks sold the home in 1943 to James and Bess Robertson. In 1988, Bess sold the house, and it has had several owners since that time.
The Thompson and Kathleen Murray House at 1017 East Hamilton Avenue was constructed in 1938 and is the best example of the Colonial Revival style in the district. Thompson was a prominent landowner and owner of the local Chevrolet-Oldsmobile dealership. Kathleen Murray was left a quadriplegic after a car accident in 1956, inspiring members of the family to become strong advocates for those with spinal cord injuries, as well as supporters of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The two-story brick house has a side-gabled roof with a chimney at the end of each gable. A one-story wing is located on the eastern side of the house and is crowned by a decorative balustrade. The second story is fenestrated by three eight-over-eight windows with cast-concrete sills and shutters. The front door has sidelights and is slightly recessed in Georgian-style entrance with a triangular pediment and fluted pilasters. Two large Palladian windows flank the front entrance on the first floor.
The Cecil and Veda Gibbs House at 1104 East Hamilton Avenue was designed in 1936 by Marianna (Lee County) architect Estes Mann. The English Revival–style home is buff brick and features a side gabled roof and a front-facing gabled entrance. The chimney is in the center of the front façade and has the letter “G” inlaid in the brick. Cecil Gibbs was one of the first large-scale rice farmers in Cross County. He was also part-owner of Gibbs-Harris Rice Dryer, Inc.
The East Avenue Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on June 8, 2011.
For additional information:“East Hamilton Avenue.” National Register of Historic Places Nomination form. On file at Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, Little Rock, Arkansas. Online at http://www.arkansaspreservation.com/National-Register-Listings/PDF/CS0174.nr.pdf (accessed May 20, 2015).
Silva, Rachel. “Arkansas Listings in the National Register of Historic Places: The East Hamilton Avenue Historic District in Wynne.” Arkansas Historical Quarterly 72 (Spring 2013): 62–71.
Courtney BradfordLittle Rock, Arkansas
Last Updated 5/20/2015
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