Faubus House put on National Register of Historic Places

The exterior of the Faubus House blends into its surroundings.

The Orval E. Faubus House in Huntsville has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Faubus House is located at 640 Governor Road on Governor’s Hill. It officially was accepted by the Register on Sept. 27.

District 82 State Rep. Sarah Capp sent out a twitter message Monday that the house had been accepted.

Arkansas Historic Preservation Program Director Scott Kaufman on Oct. 1 sent a letter to Jonathan P. Formanek, the current owner of the house. The letter confirmed that the Faubus House will be listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

“The National Register is the country’s official list of historically significant properties and Arkansas can feel proud to have a large and growing representation of these tangible links to our past,” the letter reads.

Faubus, a Madison County native, served as Arkansas governor from 1955 to 1967. He passed away in 1994 and is buried in the Combs Cemetery.

The house was designed for Orval and his wife, Alta, by noted architect E. Fay Jones, a native of El Dorado and former professor at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. The house was completed in 1967, according to nomination paperwork.

The Faubus House was one of the largest residential projects designed by Jones, who also designed the Thorncrown Chapel in Eureka Springs.

“This seven thousand three hundred fifty-six square foot residence, located in Huntsville, Arkansas, hovers along the edge of a bluff and exemplifies Fay’s penchant for designing buildings specifically for the land on which they are constructed,” the nomination says.

“The stone column, post and beam house is an excellent example of Modern Organic architecture. Exterior material choice colors and strong horizontal roof line allow the building to essentially melt into the building site,” the nomination reads.

Wood shingles and fieldstone came from Alta Faubus’ family farm in Madison County.

“This house retains its original integrity, as there have been no alterations of floor plan or materials and it has been well preserved and maintained. The building was originally built on a much larger tract of land, which has since been divided, leaving the nine point seven four bi-level acres upon which the house sits.”

The interior of the house features numerous characteristics of a Jones project. Inside are flat stone floors throughout, fieldstone used for columns and back-to-back fireplaces, Philippine mahogany for walls and soffits, large skylights, built-in china cabinets, built-in seating, and architect-designed furniture and lighting.

The application listed architecture as an area of significance. Because of the ties to Faubus and Jones, the site was listed as a statewide significance.

According to the paperwork filed, Faubus borrowed $40,000 while in his sixth term as governor to start construction on the house, which began in 1965. The land where Faubus had the house built once belonged to another Arkansas governor, Isaac Murphy.

“The design of the Faubus House also reflects the increased relationship between the indoors and outdoors and the ideas of integrating a building into its surroundings, which were key components of Organic design,” the nomination form says.

A series of indoor and outdoor photographs taken by Mason Toms were part of the application.

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