The William Looney Tavern

William Looney Tavern

The William Looney Tavern is one of the finest surviving examples of early log building traditions in Arkansas. The 1 ½ story ‘dog-trot’ constructed of hewn oak logs can be attributed to a team of master folk builders.  Initially constructed in the early 1830s, it is considered to have been used as a rural tavern / inn by William Looney.  Discoveries revealed during restoration indicate that the structure was also used, in part, for Looney’s distilling industry. Prior to his death in 1846 he was producing up to 1500 gallons of apple brandy a year.  The Looney family arrived in the Eleven Point River Valley prior to 1815 and their original dwelling site has yet to be located. William descended from a legendary family of frontiersmen, beginning with his great-grandfather Robert Looney who established a ferry in 1742 on the James River in Virginia where the Great Valley Road crossed.  His kinsmen participated in opening every new frontier as American settlement pushed westward with William being the first of the family to settle west of the Mississippi.  The William Looney Tavern was donated to BRTC by Jack and Christina French in 2006.

For more information about Restoration see Rice-Upshaw House.

Further Reading