restricted access 6. Mature Washington, 1842–1874: Simon T. Sanders and the Meredith Clan
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record room. The record room to have four windows in front and four windows in the rear of the same, with a door in the east end of the same. The windows to have eighteen lights, 14x18 inches sq., the doors to be of a suitable size and proportion for such a building. The Sash—Door shutters—and window blinds to be of iron. The casing and facings of doors and windows to be of iron. The windows of the record room to have iron rods, one inch in diameter extending from the bottom to the top to be let into the casing and to be 8 inches apart. The partitions between the rooms to be of brick and the same thickness of the outer walls which shall be 20 inches thick. The inside of the rooms to be plastered and finished with an outer coat of plaster of Paris or cement. The roof to be of slate or some other suitable material equally as good to be approved by the commissioner. A valley gutter to be constructed in the roof with gutter heads and pipes extending to the ground. The gutter to be lined with zinc, lead, or any other suitable material. . . . The doors to be furnished with good locks and knobs. The windows to have good bolts and fastenings. The sash to be hung with cords and weights. To have a well finished mantle piece over each fireplace. The floor to be laid of brick, granite, stone, or any suitable material. . . . The inside of the record room to be finished with pigeon holes to be 15 inches deep and to be 61 ⁄2 ft. high; the cases 30 inches deep; the cases to be 31 ⁄2 ft. high, the whole to be divided into sections with iron doors and locks. The ceiling to be 18 ft. from the floor and to be plastering, finished as the inner walls. The Courthouse and the jail also had been recommended for replacement at the same time as the Clerk’s Office, and it is surprising to find the recorded details of the proposed clerk’s office to be twice as long as that of the courthouse. Undoubtedly, the clerk must have had his say. This long passage about the proposed new clerk’s office is interesting from several standpoints. It tells us what the residents of Hempstead County considered to be an adequate—if not state-of-the-art—clerk’s office for 1861. Here was a building with three rooms that provided records storage, a working office, and sleeping quarters. It was intended to be built of fireproof materials—brick, stone, and slate—and would be fitted with good bolts and locks, iron door and window facings, and a vault to hold an iron safe, all of which were intended to protect the important records of the county. The passage also hints at what the 1839 Clerk’s Office was not. The new building, at 40 by 60 feet, was meant to be larger than the old one. The new building was also to be built of fireproof materials, meaning that the old building was probably built of frame construction, much like the Courthouse. In July 1861, John Trimble, who had been appointed commissioner overseeing construction of the new clerk’s office, presented the court with drawings of a ground plan and front elevation for the proposed building. The court adopted the plan, but the new office was never built. As the tribulations of secession and the Civil War took its toll on the fortunes and lives of the people of Hempstead County, their plans for growth and development had to be laid aside. The 1839 Clerk’s Office would serve for another 13 years, until the new courthouse was completed in 1874. In May of the following year, the 1839 Clerk’s Office, along with the 1836 Courthouse, was sold to the Washington Male and Female Academy. The Partnership of Archeology, Archival Research, and Architectural History In 1998, the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism developed plans to construct a public restroom on the Courthouse Square (Fig. 5.3). Since the 1839 Clerk’s Office no longer existed, parks planners wanted to make the restroom a reconstruction and interpretation of the Clerk’s Office. In order to do so, the planners needed to know what the building looked like and where specifically on the square it had been located. Attempts to solve that mystery combined the research fields of...


Subject Headings

  • Washington (Hempstead County, Ark.) -- Buildings, structures, etc.
  • Historic buildings -- Arkansas -- Washington (Hempstead County).
  • Washington (Hempstead County, Ark.) -- Antiquities.
  • Excavations (Archaeology) -- Arkansas -- Washington (Hempstead County).
  • Washington (Hempstead County, Ark.) -- Biography.
  • Historic sites -- Arkansas -- Washington (Hempstead County).
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