This is the twenty-seventh in a series of columns by State Rep. Sheilla Lampkin about historic sites in Monticello. Lampkin is active in historic preservation in Arkansas and has received several awards from the Arkansas Historical Preservation Association. She writes a regular historical column for several area publications.
Moving along the street, we come to the home known as the J. L. Hobgood house. Earlier that piece of land along with the brick duplex south of it was owned by a Mrs. McKinstry. Mr. McKinstry was her second husband. Her first husband was the Mr. Haynes who once owned the abstract business in Monticello that is now located in the old St. Mary Episcopal Church building.
Mrs. McKinstry originally had a wood frame house there. When it burned in the 1930s, her sons built the “Hobgood” house for her. Later on Dr. & Mrs. Hobgood owned the home. The Hobgoods were respected teachers who went to Alaska to teach for several years before returning to Monticello.
The once yellow, and now remodeled and painted a soft milk chocolate color, brick duplex that follows and serves as a dentist’s office was built by Mr. and Mrs. Foster Wright. The Wrights lived in one side of the house and rented the other. The arched entry doors, trim and other accents give it a very distinctive and pleasing look.
Foster Wright owned the M. F. Wright Motor Company which was located on East Gaines Street. Eventually that business became Ryburn Motor Company, then Bone’s Big A, and now the Ridgeway’s east parking lot.
Mrs. Wright was the daughter of Dr. Mardell Yates Pope who practiced medicine in Monticello for fifty years before he retired.
The regal two-story red brick home we see next on South Main was built by Dr. Mardell Y. Pope and is still known locally as the Pope house. It is a grand example of a Federalist style home. This design may have been influenced by Dr. Pope’s wife, Mayme, who he had met and married while attending medical school in Philadelphia. The home is believed to have been built in or around 1900.
Distinguishable by its red brick, white trim, green roof, tall chimneys, dormers and unique oval porch, it also has many wonderful interior features. All in all, the house was built to be a “thing of beauty to last forever.” Many different people have owned the home since the Popes. It now serves as offices for the Pomeroy & McGowin forestry business.
The next yellow brick house was built by the Guy Stephensons while he served as postmaster in Monticello. It replaced a large white house that had been there earlier. Mr. & Mr. Stephenson’s daughter, Madge, was the wife of Dr. C. C. Curry, the beloved and late history professor at Arkansas A&M College. The Currys lived in the home for many years. Dr. Curry’s father, Jack Curry, originally built the Ridgeway Hotel.
Now we come to the beautifully appealing grey house with white trim and the welcoming porches. This home was built by Harry Wells around 1910. Mr. Wells was a businessman who also served in one of the county’s clerk positions for a time. It has had various other owners over the years and is now the residence of the Dr. and Mrs. Paul Becker. We’ll leave our journey here until next week because I have new information to add and want to give this charming home its due coverage.