NEW HOPE SCHOOL DEEDED TO HISTORICAL SOCIETY
July 25, 2007 – Wynne
At a meeting of the Cross County Historical Society on Tuesday, May 22, the membership voted to accept from Charlene and Leo Smith a generous gift of the New Hope School building and one acre of land on Highway 284 east of Wynne. Beginning as a one-room school and later gaining an additional room, it is one of the few remaining schools of its kind left in Arkansas.
A committee was formed to begin the legal work and the restoration of the building.
On Wednesday May 23, Brian Driscoll, Technical Assistance Coordinator with Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, joined a group of interested persons to inspect and assess the structure. The group has determined that the school was constructed as a one-room school with two front doors on the west elevation, three windows on each side, a high-gabled shake-roof building without electricity. The recorded deed showed the land to have been originally purchased by School District 25 on August 24, 1903. However, the deed was not recorded until April of 1904.
Investigation of the building shows that at some time a room was added to the north side of the building making it a two-room school. Verification of this addition has been noted by both Driscoll and Danny Ball, builder and foreman of the restoration plans; however, there have been no documents located telling when the north room was added.
An additional gift to the Historical Society’s restoration project was the surveying of the New Hope Property by Brad McDaniel. The deed to the land contributed by the Smiths was signed and recorded on July 16.
Much enthusiasm has been generated by former students, teachers, and others who are eager to see this building restored. Pledges totaling $2,075 have been made. In order for the project to receive a designated grant from the state, at least $5,000 will need to be raised. Bridget Hart is chairman of the committee. Carol McCrary will serve as vice-chair; Donna Horton as treasurer; Cathy Hagler and Barbara Burkhart, former students of the New Hope School, will serve as co-secretaries. Other members of the committee are Leigh Anne Chambers, Florence Halstead, Teresa McCrary and Tommy McCrary.
Anyone interested in providing help, joining the Historical Society New Hope Project Committee or donating toward restoration is encouraged to call Carol McCrary at 870-238-3684 or Bridget Hart at 870-238-8631. The committee especially invites former students, teachers at the school, and sons and daughters of those who taught or attended to join in the restoration. Old pictures of the building are needed as are lists of students and teachers, and any stories connected with the school.