The Dante House in Dumas is one of five properties in Arkansas that are now a part of the National Register of Historic Places. The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program (AHPP) review board approved the locations in December 2019 and received notification of their approval by the National Park Service in late January.
The Dante House was built between 1964 and 1965. It is a single-story, 5,728 square-foot, Mid-Century Modern house designed by Noland Blass, Jr. The mololithic brick walls around the house and its courtyard provide at very solid presence to the street, but the inside is light and airy due to the large amount of glass and three courtyards. It was continuously owned and occupied by the Dante Family until the current owner bought the house in 2018. It is located at the southeast corner of Court Street and Puryear Street in Dumas.
Other properties include:
• The Bennett House in Benton. Built in 1904, the Bennett House, along First Street, was constructed in the Folk Victorian style and features many of the characteristics of this style, including elaborate siding, a front-facing gable with a wing and an elaborate porch.
• The Lono Gymnasium in Lono (Hot Spring County), was built in 1938 by the Works Progress Administration (WPA). The building was the gymnasium for the Lono School. Basketball was played for the first time in the new gym in 1939. It is located at 11702 Highway 222 in the community of Lono, approximately 12 miles south of Malvern.
• The Maumelle River Bridge. The Maumelle River Bridge is approximately a half mile southwest of the town of Natural Steps (Pulaski County) and was originally built in 1920. It is located where Old Highway 300 crosses over the Maumelle River.
• The Patteson House in Jonesboro was built in 1961-1962 and designed in the Mid-Century Modern style by Arkansas architect F. Eugene Withrow. It is located on approximately five acres southeast of Jonesboro at 2801 Harrisburg Road.
In addition to the five properties, a historic district was created. The Downs Historic District in Little Rock consists of the main Downs House, 11 small cottages and a community swimming pool, built during the latter half of the 1960s and early 1970s in Little Rock’s Hillcrest neighborhood. Although built over a period of about six years, the houses were all designed by architect Lawrence Downs of Kansas City, Missouri, allowing the district to have a cohesive character and design.
To receive the honor of recognition on the National Register, properties must show that they contribute to the country’s history and heritage. An application must be made first to the state review board, then to the federal level through the National Park Service, which maintains the National Register of Historic Places. Nomination can include sites, buildings, structures, objects, or districts that have integrity of location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling, and association and fit one criteria as detailed at arkansaspreservation.com.
Arkansas Historic Preservation Program (AHPP) is the agency of Arkansas Heritage responsible for identifying, evaluating, registering and preserving the state’s cultural resources. Other divisions are the Arkansas Arts Council, the Delta Cultural Center in Helena, the Old State House Museum, the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, the Historic Arkansas Museum and the Arkansas State Archives. Arkansas Heritage is a division of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism.