Local African American youth in the African American community of Twin Groves built the main school building and a “shop” under the direction of local stonemason Silas Owens, Sr. The project was funded by the National Youth Administration with assistance from the Hughes-Smith Act. The “shop” was used for vocational education (primary purpose of the Smith-Hughes Act), and also for classes when needed. Owens would continue to develop his “mixed masonry” methods that would ensure his place in stone buildings in Arkansas. Many of the men living in the Twin Groves area continue to practice as brick masons using the skills learned in the Solomon Grove school program (Rolf, 2013b). The main building burned in the 1960s, but the “shop” is still in use as the community library (Rolf, 2013a). A reunion honored Silas Owens and his work, including the “shop” in 2013.
Arkansas Historic Preservation Program. Solomon Grove Smith-Hughes Building. Retrieved from http://www.arkansaspreservation.com/historic-properties/_search_nomination_popup.aspx?id=1415. Hope, H. (2004). A Storm Couldn't Tear Them Down: The Mixed Masonry Buidlings of Silas Owens, Sr., 1938-1955. Nomination form for the National Register of Historic Places. Retrieved from http://pdfhost.focus.nps.gov/docs/NRHP/Text/64500912.pdf. Rolf, C. (2013a). Twin Groves community to celebrate Going Back Home. River Valley & Ozark. Retrieved from http://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2013/may/19/twin-groves-community-celebrate-going-back-home/?f=rivervalley. Rolf, C. (2013b). Twin Groves community gathers to reminisce, honor native son. Arkansas Online. Retrieved from http://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2013/jun/02/twin-groves-community-gathers-reminisce-honor-nati/?print.
Project originally submitted by Susan Allen on February 7, 2014.
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