Citizens Bank & Trust Co. has pledged $2,500 toward an effort to restore one of the oldest structures in Arkansas, the Albert Pike schoolhouse located on the Crawford County Courthouse lawn.
The one-room log cabin was reportedly build in 1820 by David Boyd, the first white man to settle in Van Buren.
River Valley Museum is raising $30,000 to rehabilitate cabin, originally located about one mile east of Van Buren, just off Kibler Road near Flat Rock Creek. It was originally built as a residence, but in the spring of 1833, the cabin was used by Albert Pike to teach a three-month subscription school.
After many months of searching Arkansas and surrounding states, fund-raising coordinator Sheila Bell said a contractor was located in Conway with the expertise and crew that is willing to take on the rehabilitation.
David Bankston of Ironwood Restoration Inc. inspected the structure and submitted a bid of $26,000.
“His bid states, however, the expenses could go higher when the roof is taken off and a better inspection is made,” Bell said.
With this in mind, Bell said a goal of $30,000 has been set for the schoolhouse restoration project.
Tax-deductible donations may be made to the River Valley Museum, c/o Albert Pike Schoolhouse, P.O. Box 1518, Van Buren, AR 72957-1518, or Citizens Bank & Trust Co. account 500136606.
For more information, contact Bell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The schoolhouse sat at its original location until 1936 when it was purchased by Mr. and Mrs. Allen Henderson and moved to U.S. 71 North where it was restored and became the centerpiece of the Albert Pike Museum. The museum closed its doors in 1954 after the death of Allen Henderson.
The schoolhouse then was loaned to the University of Arkansas, which placed it on a hillside on campus overlooking Razorback Stadium.
In 1974, Doris West of the Crawford County Historical Society, Van Buren Chamber of Commerce, Van Buren Masonic Lodge and County Judge Milton Willis worked with Mrs. Henderson and the University of Arkansas to return the schoolhouse to Crawford County.