April 14, 2010 Edition

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Downtown District to be listed

Gretchen Hunt

The Walnut Ridge Commercial Historic District was one of 10 Arkansas properties approved for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places on April 7.

The state review board of the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program officially nominated the district to the register, according to AHPP Director Frances McSwain.

The district includes buildings that date back as far as 1875. Local businesses and building owners decided to seek nomination to the register following meetings with AHPP officials.

The National Register nomination stressed the architectural significance of the buildings in the district.

"The importance of the railroad is evident in early construction of commercial buildings facing the rail line," the nomination stated. "One- and two-part commercial block buildings are modest examples of these common late-nineteenth and early-20th century forms. Many of these building represent a period of growth at the turn of the 20th century."

Lorra Whitmire, a member of the Downtown Walnut Ridge organization, said she is glad the property owners decided to pursue the designation and that is has been approved.

"We are excited that the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program recognizes the historical significance of our town," she said.

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