Thursday, March 28, 2013

A Walk Around the Town of Fordyce, Arkansas

 Dallas County Courthouse ~ Fordyce, Arkansas ~ built in 1907
I've started a photography project that will probably take me a long time to finish. I'm going to try and take a pictures of every county courthouse in Arkansas. I may never finish it, but I'm enjoying the journey. I've found courthouses rather tricky to photograph. They're tall, they're often on higher ground than where I'm standing, and I always seem to be there at mid day.  It's also difficult because so many people are around. I know people might add a real-life look to the picture, but I prefer not having them in my shots. At the last courthouse I photographed there was a crew from the local jail cleaning out the flower beds. It was very hard to avoid their bright orange jumpsuits. This time there was a sweet little lady in a bright red jacket sweeping the sidewalks. I walked around to another side of the courthouse to avoid her, looked up and there she was again. So, back to the first side I go!

There is a beautiful clock tower on top of the courthouse that  chimed on the hour. You can see if here if you'd like. After taking pictures of the courthouse, I took some time to stroll around town looking for historical homes,  other buildings, and just things that interest me. I didn't have any trouble spotting this pretty little house!
Mays House

I never know what the day will bring when I set out on one of my little adventures. It seems something unusual always happens and so far they've all been good experiences. I was standing on the side of the road taking a picture of the house above when a man in a pickup truck stopped and asked if I was interested in historic homes. Of course, I was. He handed me a small magazine with an article that he had written about this small town. He took the time to get out of his truck, look at my map, and tell me some of the other homes I needed to photography.
Amis House ~ built around 1900

Right across the street from the pink house was the Amis house. As I was taking pictures the owner of the house drove up. He is in the process of restoring this house and let me take a peak inside. As we were talking, he suddenly laughed and said "come on, I want to show you something that you'll want a picture of." I followed him around to an out building...a real out outhouse.  There in the outhouse still sits the first flushable toilet in Fordyce!
He also pointed out another building on his property. It is the oldest schoolhouse in Fordyce. I would never have dreamed this was a schoolhouse. It just looked like another out building. Do you remember the pretty white doorknob in my last post? It's on this building, the door on the right behind the bush. I'm so glad I spent a little time talking to these two, kind gentlemen!

Knowing that I like historic buildings, they recommended that I eat lunch at Rock's Place in the center of town. Rock's place is in the former Home Life and Accident Insurance Company main office building. The dome was brought in from Holland and is made of metal and copper. The building was just as beautiful inside with decorative tin ceiling tiles, stained glass windows, three bank vaults, 18 foot ceilings, and 14 foot front doors. I showed the elaborate woodwork of one of the vaults here. I wondered about those three huge walk-in vaults. What did they keep in them? Did they have that much money or were their papers stored in them in case of fire?  When you opened the front door, it squeaked, an old-fashioned squeak. I love the sounds of an old building; the squeaking doors, the creaking floors, and the slight echo of a room with such high ceilings.
A. B. Banks Building ~ built 1904 - 1906
If I had lived in the early 1900's, I'm sure I wouldn't have lived in one the mansions built by the local businessmen. Maybe, I would have lived in a house similar to the one below. I have always loved porches and this porch with the rounded corners would be just my style. I could see myself sitting in that glider enjoying a beauitful day.

This house was my favorite. I love the style, the location, and the creamy butter color. This is the Wynne Phillips House; the home of attorney and former mayor, Thomas Duncan Wynne, his wife, Agnes, and their seven children. It is now a bed and breakfast inn owned and operated by Colonel James H. Phillips and his wife, Agnes, the youngest of the seven children.
Wynne House ~ built 1904

I find the time period of the early 1900's fascinating. I especially like the architecture of the homes and businesses. I love all the details and wood work and the large front porches. Come back on Sunday when I post Scavenger Hunt Sunday pictures. There's more to see of Fordyce, I'll give you a little glimpse of downtown
The town of Fordyce was established in 1845. By 1890 Fordyce was the largest town in the county and in 1908 it became the Dallas County seat.
The buildings that were erected to serve as courthouses are a symbol of the strength and prosperity of the citizens who paid for it and for whom it was built. This often resulted in the courthouse exhibiting the most elaborate and impressive architecture to be found for miles around. The vast majority of the historic courthouses in Arkansas continue to serve as the centers of county government. There are 75 counties in Arkansas with 85 county courthouses. One reason the additional ten courthouses were established was because there was usually a river that divided the county and access to one courthouse was not always possible. So far, I have been to 19 of these counties.


  1. So nice to visit all these buildings through your photos. My favourite is the Wynne House. I also love that pale yellow painted on the outside walls, especially when it's combined with white. You are getting such lovely blue skies in your parts!

  2. What a great idea for a project! I will enjoy following along with you, seeing the buildings, hearing the history and hearing about the people you meet!
    Beautiful pictures! Even the outhouse! An outhouse! Who'd a thought!

  3. Some beautiful building - although I think the toilet is my favourite - I love the story as well as the old rusty bits. I also loved the close up architecture in your earlier post, like the doorknob.

  4. Cathy - I love this project - I am always so interested in the personal projects that other photographers take on and this is a great one. And I had to smile at your desire to avoid the people in your shots - me too! Such gorgeous architecture - so many beautiful details. I love the arches on the Banks Building entrance. And that buttery yellow house - so beautifully maintained and restored. I look forward to the 60+ remaining courthouses :)

  5. Girl you better get going with that many court houses to photograph. What a fun project. It's like a collection. How cool that your travels have led you onto side streets, and struck up conversations. When people say the are self-conscious about shooting pics in public, I think they may be missing so much.
    Keep on keeping on! Oh, and the buttery yellow is super gorgeous.

  6. Very cool! You know the red house with the covered porch and that deck on the second story? Here we call those decks "widow's walks" as the women would look out to sea to watch if the fishing fleet was returning and so many ships went down. Are they called that name there? I wish I could see all those places with you and how great that man showed you those things. Amazing! I love old homes, great to read and see all of this, Cathy.


Thanks so much for stopping by!!