The oldest house and commercial building that are still sitting on their original foundations west of the Mississippi River are about to be open to the public once more, according to Black River Technical College.
BRTC’s Project REACH sites at Dalton will open Sept. 1. The REACH sites will be open on Tuesdays from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and every second Saturday of the month from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. through the month of October.
Project REACH is a restoration project undertaken by BRTC.
The two donated structures were brought to the attention of BRTC as a result of the Early Arkansas Settlement Study. This study was funded in part by a grant awarded to the Historic Preservation Alliance of Arkansas with funding provided by the Arkansas Humanities Council and the Department of Arkansas Heritage.
In the course of this 2003-2004 study, the Rice-Upshaw House, built in 1828, and the Looney-French House, which was built 1833 and functioned as a tavern, were both identified by dendrochronology to have been constructed during the Arkansas territorial period.
Each structure was identified as a unique Arkansas example of early log building traditions. Both houses, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, were donated, along with significant items of material culture, to BRTC by descendants of the families who built them.