111 N. Marr Street
Constructed in 1895 by the construction firm of Spinnenweber and Peters.
Pocahontas and Randolph County suffered tremendous hardships during the American Civil War due to its proximity to Union held Missouri. In the autumn of 1863, Union forces attacked the City and burned much of the downtown commercial area and some residential areas. Pocahontas recovered slowly from the war, gradually restoring its commercial activity through the steamboat trade and the cutting of timber in the hills and lowland forests as well.
Beginning in the 1880s, a wave of new immigrants began settling here. These were primarily Roman Catholics from central Europe fleeing the constant warfare in their homelands. Most numerous were Germans, Alsatians, Swiss and Austrians. These new settlers helped generate a boom in commercial activity and agriculture locally. They also led a building boom in the downtown area. Most of the burned out buildings and wood frame buildings of the antebellum era were replaced between 1880 and 1910 with the brick buildings that still grace the National Historic District of Pocahontas today—a 16 block area that’s one of the best preserved late Victorian districts in Arkansas.
Foremost among the builders was the firm owned by Ferdinand Spinnenweber and Hubert Peters—German Catholic immigrants. Many of the buildings still standing in the historic district, including most of the buildings on the old court square, were built by their firm. They also built many of the City’s older brick homes.
Many of the downtown buildings, including most of those located today on the west side of the square and others on the next block of N. Marr Street were designed by Henry Lesmeister, Peters’ brother-in-law and a trained architect and artist. Years later, Lesmeister designed many of the building in downtown Jonesboro to our southeast and several in downtown Memphis, Tennessee as well. The bricks for most of the buildings in the downtown were made from local sand and clay by another German Catholic immigrant, Joe Schmidt, whose brick kilns still exist just off Park Street in Pocahontas.
In addition to constructing the buildings, Spinnenweber and Peters also established commercial enterprises in many of their structures. This building at 111 N. Marr was the site of Mr. Spinnenweber’s Equine and Hardware Store. Here one could buy everything needed for the horse drawn transportation of the day from buggies and saddles to feed and medicine. Later in the first half of the 20th Century, after the coming of the automobile, Mr. Spinnenweber’s son-in-law, George Promberger, carried on the business as a hardware store.
In the 1960s and 70s, the building housed McDaniel’s (Jim) Hardware, and later was for many years Donna Baltz’s Antiques Only store. The building now is home to Marilyn’s (Hogan) Clogging Company where traditional dancing, Taekwondo, and music classes are taught.
On the north side of 111 N. Marr Street, at the corner of N. Marr and Everett streets, observe the brick wall there. A couple of feet off the ground one can see a depression running along the wall for several feet. This feature dates from the 1930s during the Great Depression when men needing work stood against the wall on the corner daily with one foot on the wall, waiting for people needing temporary labor to come by and offer them work. Their feet wore this groove in the brick.