Methodist Church, built 1923, individually listed on the National Historic Register.
Arkansas Historical Preservation Program gave two grants to the Methodist church for roof repair and structural issues. The next issue is windows. The Methodist congregation moved to a new building on Hwy. 165 in 2000, and the old building is currently occupied by CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates). They provide special programs for children, as well as residential space for transitional or at-risk kids. Rachel Silva is preservation outreach coordinator at the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program.
200 Court Square—Built ca. 1910 to house the First National Bank of DeWitt, which officially opened here on the square in 1912. The bank remodeled the building two times—once in 1923 and again in 1940. A telephone exchange office was located upstairs, and for a time in the 1930s, the post office was located in the rear portion of this building. First National Bank survived the Great Depression, buying up other Arkansas County banks when they failed. At one time, it was said that DeWitt’s banks had more money in them than in the banks of any other city of its size in the state.
Gallery G is located in the building today. Ruth Garot leased the old First National building in 1964 and established Gallery G Antiques and Gifts. In 1997, her daughter Nancy, purchased the building from the bank and added estate jewelry to the inventory. In 1999, the upstairs (formerly George Pike's Law Office) was remodeled adding more floor space for antique furniture. The store remains in the family to this day.
Mr. Vick Gerard used to operate a popcorn stand out in front of the buildings at 202 and 200 Court Square.
202 Court Square—Built about 1910 and the only building on the square that features rusticated concrete block. The cast iron columns on the storefront are still visible and were manufactured by Chickasaw Iron Works, Memphis, TN. This was the Lester Winkler Grocery Store, then Jack Wells’s Hardware, the Cashway Grocery Co., and most recently, a beauty shop.
This alley going east-west was known as “Little Broadway,” because the New Theater was located here to the west of 212 along with a restaurant, pool hall/beer joint, and a barber shop. The New Theater was purchased by two men from Nashville, TN in 1972 and renamed the Cinema Theater. Then in 1974, Larry Hudson and John Walter of Monticello (or JO-LAR Enterprises, Inc.) bought the theater. The name was later changed to the Arkansas Theater, and it was destroyed by fire in June 1977.
212 Court Square—This building was probably built around 1915, but it has obviously been modified since that time, with glass block windows and some other things. It was a restaurant for many years; maybe Ms. Rothenhoffer’s or the Nowlins sisters’ Three Sisters Café?). It served as the DeWitt City Hall from sometime after 1945 until 1977 when it was damaged by fire from the New Theater next door. At that point, the City Hall moved over to its current location in the old DeWitt Bank & Trust Building.
214 Court Square—Built about 1940 and replaced a two-story building that housed a furniture store on this site for many years. Hef Wells’s Liquor Store was located in this building, but had an alley entrance. Mr. Patrick’s Shooting Gallery was temporarily located in the north-south part of the alley.
Rather than being formed by intersecting streets, DeWitt’s court square was designed as a continuous street around a public square with one access street in the middle of each block. The northwest, northeast, and southwest corners have unique lots containing buildings with chamfered corner entrances. The town was platted in such a way that people wouldn’t just pass through the downtown and keep going—the courthouse and square would be your final des- tination. This is an extremely rare layout for a court square—I’ve never seen another town like it.