Restoration Journey

The 1833 William Looney Tavern

The 1833 William Looney Tavern was the third of four log structures restored by Black River Technical College in rural Randolph County, Arkansas with funding from the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council.

The restoration presented a unique challenge for the multi-disciplinary research and restoration team of architects, archeologists, historians, and craftsmen. It was known from the beginning that this structure was not the dwelling house for William Looney and his family.  They had arrived in the Eleven Point River Valley from Tennessee in the first decade following the 1803 Louisiana Purchase. Their early arrival has been well documented but the site of their dwelling house remains undetermined.

Dendrochronology studies, or tree-ring dating, conducted by Dr. David Stahle of the University of Arkansas Tree-ring Laboratory had confirmed that the oak logs for this structure were cut in the early 1830s. As with many log structures, the basic architectural principal that form follows function was an essential consideration when investigating the earliest origins of this secondary structure.  Indeed, research regarding the multi-focused use of this structure continues at the present.

The 1828 Rice-Upshaw House

The 1828 Rice-Upshaw House was the first of four log structures restored by Black River Technical College in rural Randolph County, Arkansas with funding from the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council.

The restoration presented a real challenge for the multi-disciplinary research and restoration team of architects, archeologists, historians, and craftsmen. It was known from the beginning that this structure was not the dwelling house for Reuben Rice and his family.  They had arrived in the Eleven Point River Valley from Tennessee in 1812. Their early arrival has been well documented but the site of their dwelling house remains undetermined.

Dendrochronology studies, or tree-ring dating, conducted by Dr. David Stahle of the University of Arkansas Tree-ring Laboratory had confirmed the family tradition that this structure was built in 1828. As with many log structures, the basic architectural principal that form follows function was an essential consideration when investigating the earliest origins of the Rice-Upshaw House.

Further Reading