Earlier this month I received a call from a Skip Bernard who was working with a museum organization out of Shreveport, but he lived in Doddridge, Arkansas…to make a long story short, the organization was interested in a historic building in Garland City (in Miller County just east of Texarkana)…this historic home was already on the National Register of Historic Places (since 1992), but it was not in the Arkansas state archaeological site files…moreover, the nomination actually stated that the site could benefit from archaeological work…so they called me…That’s how I came to know about the Wynn-Price House.
Last week I met Skip over at the house, and let me say that it a hidden gem in Garland City…to steal words from the AHPP website, “this grand Greek Revival design, luxurious in both plan and elevation, was undoubtedly constructed largely from materials shipped up the Red River from New Orleans and elsewhere (we know that the marble for the two fireplaces was so ordered). The tall imposing two-story portico with its flanking single-story ‘temples’ must have been one of the most majestic edifices in the region”…it is certainly one of the most complex Greek Revival houses that I have seen in Arkansas…Ironically, I HAVE visited the African-American cemetery associated with the Wynn-Price plantation (known as Wynns Cemetery)….but when I visited it last year (with Anthony Clay Newton), we had no idea that a huge antebellum mansion lay just around the corner…go figure.
The description below is a brief excerpt from the AHPP website entry for the Wynn-Price House…below you also find links to my photographs of the structure and the AHPP entry…I look forward to investigating this house–and its associated plantation–in the near future.
As is frequently the case in Arkansas, attempts to study even significant characters in local or regional antebellum history are frustrated by a lack of primary sources. Reconstructing the life and activities of William Wynn is no different, though we do know through census records, slave ownership records and deed information that he was a successful farmer, and probably growing cotton, the staple crop of the Red River valley during this period. However, when considered within the broader context of American and regional history during the period of 1835 (the first documented date of William Wynn’s arrival in the Red River area) to 1861, the primary sources that do survive support certain additional conclusions about Wynn’s investment activities and his hopes for the “city” of Garland as a major commercial river and overland transportation crossroads…Though the site probably also retains potential to reveal further information about the occupation of the site by William Wynn, his two sons (the 1840 Lafayette County census indicates two males between the ages of 20 and 30 living with him, though not necessarily at this site) and his slaves, a professional archaeological investigation of the site remains to be done. Such investigation, upon completion, may justify additional areas of significance for the property.