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Old Main

by Terri Lynne McNaughton Team
The symbol of higher education in Arkansas, Old Main was the first permanent building to be erected on the ArkansasIndustrialUniversity campus. Its exterior was finished in 1875, just three years after the university opened for classes. It is the oldest building still standing on the campus and the only one built in the 19th century still standing.
Initially, it was simply referred to as “the University building,” but it was formally named University Hall in 1895. By the turn of the 20th century, the more sentimental name of Old Main had gained currency, and the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees officially changed the name to Old Main in 1991.
A firm at Helena, Arkansas, McKay and Helmle, was originally considered for designing a university hall, but trustees visited campuses in Illinois and Michigan, coming away set on having a main building like the one at IllinoisIndustrialUniversity, designed by John Mills Van Osdel, a Chicago architect. Although the two buildings were nearly identical, the towers were swapped, with the taller bell tower to the right side of the building and the smaller clock tower moved to the left. Although the reason for the switch is unknown, two myths for why this switch occurred have attained:
  • Moving the taller tower to the north would symbolize the Union’s victory in the Civil War, waged only a decade earlier.
  • The contractor while drunk got the plans backwards.
Whatever the reason, the switch made it easier for residents of downtown Fayetteville to see the clock tower, not that there was a clock to see. Because of expense, installation of a clock was put off.
The construction bid from Mayes and Oliver of Fayetteville was accepted, and Joseph Carter Corbin, the superintendent of public instruction for Arkansas and ex-officio president of the university board of trustees, signed the $123,885 contract for erection of University Hall. John McKay was made supervising architect, and two Fayetteville civic leaders, Lafayette Gregg and Stephen K. Stone, were added to the trustees’ building committee.
Materials for construction came mostly from local sources. Lumber was milled at Peter Van Winkle’s mill near the historic War Eagle Mill and hauled to Fayetteville by oxen. Bricks were made from clay deposits on the south side of Fayetteville and fired in the brickyard of John L. Kelton. Cut stone for the exterior trim came from northeast Washington and western Madison counties. And sandstone for the foundation and basement was quarried near the building.
Old Main’s architectural style is known as Second Empire, and its mansard roof is perhaps the most obvious expression of that style. The east portico, however, is a classical design and is immortalized in the official seal of the university.
Although the building has needed repairs almost as soon as it was finished and has been remodeled almost as often as new academic programs were initiated at the university. By the early 1980s, though, the building was closed because of safety concerns. A fund-raising campaign was launched to renovate the structure, and it was rededicated in 1991.
In 2005, a clock was finally installed as part of the culmination of the Campaign for the Twenty-First Century. Today, Old Main is home to the dean’s offices of the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences as well as several academic departments.

Graffiti Removal and Cleanup

by Terri Lynne McNaughton Team
Fayetteville Police Chief Greg Tabor announced in April 2007 the Fayetteville Police Department in partnership with Fayetteville in Bloom, Target, and the Fayetteville Fire Department will now provide graffiti cleanup kits to Fayetteville citizens that are victims of graffiti.

With instances of graffiti in Fayetteville on the rise, officers from the Fayetteville Police DepartmentTMs Community Policing Division began working with other community stakeholders and representatives from the City of Fayetteville to develop ways to assist citizens with the removal of graffiti on private property. By teaming up with Fayetteville in Bloom and Target, the Fayetteville Police Department was able to obtain the materials needed for graffiti clean up kits.

The kits are available to citizens at each Fayetteville Fire Station and available for pick up by citizens victimized by graffiti. Citizens must first file a police report and take the incident number to the Fire Station to sign out a clean up kit. Once the graffiti has been removed, the citizens are asked return the kit to the Fire Station.

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Contact Information

Photo of Don McNaughton Real Estate
Don McNaughton
McNaughton Real Estate
4299 W. Persimmon
Fayetteville AR 72704
Fax: 479-442-0948