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Ravenden Springs School

The former Ravenden Springs School is a Craftsman-style school building in Ravenden Springs (Randolph County). Built in 1941, the one-story rectangular building operated as a school until it was closed during consolidation in 1974. The school changed ownership many times but was acquired by the town of Ravenden Springs in 1990. The school was originally built with four classrooms and a library, but the building was later renovated to be used as the local town hall and community center. The school no longer retains its original interior design, but it still possesses significant historical integrity.

The first documented school in Ravenden Springs was known as the Cave School. Run by Caleb Lindsey, this school dates back to 1815, where classes were provided on Hall’s Creek in what has been described as the first free school in Arkansas. In 1906, a more permanent, ten-room, two-story school was constructed, which led to the establishment in 1907 of a high school for students from Ravenden Springs and surrounding communities, including Pocahontas (Randolph County). This two-story building burned in 1909 and was reconstructed as a larger frame building. This second school also burned sometime in the 1939 school year and was replaced by the current 1941 Craftsman-style structure.

There were two other buildings—the school gymnasium and the home economics building—associated with the Ravenden Springs School, but these are no longer standing; the gymnasium was demolished, and the home economics building burned.

A small jail building stands on the property on the southwestern edge of the school building. Originally located at the edge of a nearby canyon, the concrete-block structure was dismantled and moved to its present location on the school grounds sometime in the 1960s. It is used for storage.

The Ravenden Springs School was added to the National Register of Historic Places on January 14, 2004.

For additional information:
Baker, William D. Public Schools in the Ozarks, 1920–40. Little Rock: Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, 1991.

Harding, Thomas. One-Room Schoolhouses of Arkansas as Seen through a Pinhole. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 1993.

Harris, Peggy. “Cave Believed to Be First School in Arkansas.” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, November 23, 2008, p. 2B.

“Ravenden Springs School.” 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/RA0034.nr.pdf (accessed January 19, 2016).

Zachary Elledge
Jonesboro, Arkansas

Last Updated 1/23/2016

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