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Five Arkansas properties were added to the National Register of Historic Places this month.

The sites are a former Chinese grocery store in Elaine, a cemetery in Mountain Home and three mid-century modern houses designed by Arkansas architects, according to the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, which nominated them for the National Register.

The Lee Grocery Store building in Elaine in Phillips County was probably constructed about 1915, according to the National Register nomination form. It appears in the background of photographs taken during the 1919 Elaine race massacre.

The one-story, brick building has a flat, tar roof, according to the form, which was prepared by Leslie Martin, an intern, and Ralph Wilcox, the National Register and survey coordinator for the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program.

"The building is wedge shaped, more narrow towards the front and widening towards the back, mirroring the angle of Quarles Road where it intersects Main," according to the nomination.

"Little is known about the Lee Grocery Store's early history," wrote Martin and Wilcox.

In 1918, when the first Sanborn Fire Insurance Map was made of Elaine, the building was labeled as a drugstore.

It was purchased in the 1950s by W.J. Lee, who had emigrated from China to San Francisco to work as a hotel manager. He moved to the South after hearing of opportunities there, according to the nomination.

Eventually, the Elaine store passed to two of Lee's sons, Seat N. Lee and Kam S. Lee, who continued to operate it as a grocery until 2010. The family sold the building about 2014.

"The current owner, Waves of Prayer, purchased the building in 2017 and hopes to restore the building and turn it into a visitor's center for the Elaine area," according to the nomination. "Today the Lee Grocery Store is an important remnant of the early commercial history of Elaine and the influence of the Chinese population on the area's commercial and ethnic history."

The other four Arkansas properties added to the National Register are:

• Mountain Home Cemetery, Historic Section, Mountain Home, Baxter County: The cemetery is located five blocks south of the Baxter County Courthouse at the intersection of Baker and 11th streets.

According to the nomination form, gravestones in the cemetery illustrate "a wide variety of 19th and 20th century iconography, including ivy, gates, open books, the kingdom, flowers, lambs, urns, draped clothes, clasped hands, crosses, crowns, weeping willows, doves and angels."

The first acre of land for the cemetery was donated to the city when Mountain Home was laid out in 1874, according to the nomination.

• Joe Marsh and Maxine Clark House in Fayetteville: The residence was designed and built by Fayetteville architect E. Fay Jones between 1959 and 1961 for Joe Marsh and Maxine Clark, according to the nomination prepared by Callie Williams.

"The house was originally designed as an open-floor-plan house with a central living space bracketed by bedrooms, one to the north and one to the south," wrote Williams.

It was designed to be a partially split-level structure, two stories on the east end and one story on the west side, according to the nomination. The design reflects Jones' use of natural materials to complement its setting in the Arkansas landscape.

"The design of the house reflects the philosophy and principles of organic design that characterized Fay Jones's architectural career," wrote Williams.

• John G. Williams House No. 2, Fayetteville: This house was constructed in 1969-70 and was designed by John G. Williams, founder of the Fay Jones School of Architecture at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, according to the nomination. The house was designed in the organic style of mid-century modern architecture, following ideas championed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

• Ellis and Charlotte Williamson House, Brinkley, Monroe County: This house was constructed in 1966-67 and was designed by architect Frank L. Doughty, who studied under John G. Williams at UA.

After he completed his coursework, Doughty moved to New York City to work for the architect Edward Durell Stone, a Fayetteville native, according to the nomination form prepared by J. Mason Toms.

After two years with Stone, Doughty returned to Arkansas and went to work for Fay Jones.

The Williamson house is a single-story, brick structure with a walk-out basement on the west side.

The house's architecture reflects a local interpretation of Wright's organic architecture in the mid-century period, according to the nomination.

Metro on 02/21/2020

Print Headline: 5 Arkansas sites claim spots on nation's historic places list

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