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Monticello Memories – Tour of Monticello’s Main Street – #30

March 26th, 2012 by

This week will be the last segment of our tour down Monticello’s historic Main Street. We’ll begin at the corner of East Bolling and South Main and proceed down the east side of the street to Midway Route. I must admit that I could not learn as much detail about this area as in earlier segments, yet I do have some interesting information.

The first house alongside the street is a pleasant-looking little blue 1 ½ story cottage with a later attached deck. The house probably dates from the 1940s. I have been told that Mr. and Mrs. Zach McClendon Sr. may have lived there for a time when they first moved to Drew County. Later, and for many years afterward, George and Helen Snarr lived there.

The next house is a charming little buff brick accented with beige awnings. An unusual rectangular cupola graces the roof of the house. Dr. and Mrs. R. L Stone built the house. Dr. Stone was a member of the Arkansas A&M faculty and Mrs. Stone taught at Monticello High School.

Now we come to an attractive red brick with white trim and an interesting side porch. This house was built by Albert Borchardt and later occupied by his son, Victor. Both Borchardts were regarded as local artists and musicians.

They owned the old St. Mary’s Episcopal Church building further north on South Main where Drew County Title and Abstract Company is now located. While they still owned it, the Borchardts supposedly had a “studio” in the back of the building where they painted and played various musical instruments. The family musical talents are now carried forth by Victor Borchardt’s son, Rex, whose family “band” plays in many venues, including our Rough ‘n Ready Festival in recent years.

One of my favorite houses comes next on the east side of South Main. It is a pleasant red-orange brick trimmed in dark green. The front entry is arched and the glass side panels are stunning. Plaster accents enhance the front and the home’s overall appearance is lovely. It is one of the few homes in Monticello said to have a basement. E. A. Lambert, the late grocer and businessman, is said to have built the home.

The next pleasing-looking white frame home is the former residence of one of my favorite fellow teachers, the late Velma Bulloch. Mrs. Bulloch nurtured elementary students at Monticello for years. She managed to do this and have a marvelous flair for fashion along with her warm Southern grace and charm. Son, Russell, has had a loyal following of Monticello mothers for many years at his pediatric clinic in Monroe, Louisiana.

I understand that Elmer Curry built the home and later sold it to the Foster Wrights when he built the expansive home on Hwy 425 that the Bennie Ryburn, Srs. later purchased.

The last home on the block is flanked by a large lot on each side. A large two-story home earlier sat in the middle of the property. This home was painted red and appeared to be Victorian in style. Often described as rather “quaint”, the walls and ceilings were beaded rather than painted or papered. The living room was large, filled with heavy overstuffed furniture and seldom used. Mr. Jim Cotham built the house for himself and his two sisters, Mattie and Esther. The Cothams are remembered as avid gardeners who enjoyed sharing their vegetable bounties with neighbors.

The Cotham house was replaced by a spacious orange brick home that sits in the middle of the lots. It is accented by triple front chimneys, white trim and a brick privacy fence. Originally built by Harold Scroggins, it was later purchased by the late Hulbert Crute, a business associate of Eric Hardy. Mr. Crute’s daughter, Norma Collins, resides there when she visits Drew County from the West Coast.

We’ll stop here at Willis Street, but I did want to conjure up memories of the last lot(s) a bit further south at the intersection of South Main and Midway Route. For all practical purposes the space is now empty having more recently been the site of a plant nursery.

However, it is best remembered as the site of the old Higgins Grocery. Many recall the late Mr. Marion Higgins who last operated it from behind a dimly-lit counter. It was perhaps one of the last places to purchase “coal oil”, and other “old-time” products on the south end of town. Marion Higgins was quite a character, and I also have fond memories of his nephew, Charles “Butch” Higgins, and his family, one of our first “neighbors” in Drew County.

This completes our tour of Monticello’s Main Street. The next time you drive down Main Street truly look at the houses. You will see a wide variety of distinctive features and special “touches” that make each home a unique reflection of their owners/builders. Perhaps this can be attributed to the rugged individualism of our forefathers.

I hope you have enjoyed these articles. As I have produced them, I am ever grateful for the wise counsel and wonderful memories of Henri Mason and the recently-departed Charles Jackson. I count the friendship of both among my greatest treasures.

Mr. Jackson was a humble giant among us. We have been saddened by his home going, yet the world has been a better place for his having been here. Thank you, Mr. Jackson.

 

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